Well that was better, wasn’t it, sort of, a bit? The problem that some are going to have trouble coming to terms with, is today, this game, this team and the quality of football that they played is as good as it is going to get. Yes folks, that’s it, that is as high a standard of football as we are going to get to watch this season. Not sure?
Emery had use of his full squad, all fit, and for the first time this season was able to field his strongest side and were you impressed? It intrigues me as to what people envisage, for those who expected this side to evolve into vintage Arsenal circa 2004 I think they going to be very disappointed.
Selection wise it was probably better than anyone dared punt for: the defence is what it is; Bellerin is not clearly better than Chambers at the moment and anyone who thinks that Holding is better than Luiz right now needs to go a lie down in a dark room and reconsider. The midfield was a diamond with Guendouzi at the foot rather than Torreira as most expected but they both did perfectly well. Ozil was expected to play but the addition of another creative in Ceballos impressed me. The attack with Aubamayang, Lacazette and then Martinelli was, of course, right.
Wolves are good, they are really good in a non Liverpool, Man City kind of way and their organisation in defence and flair in attack is impressive and yet we found a way to get past that and put ourselves ahead. We were holding this lead reasonably well, not comfortably but well enough.
Now for as much as I have just praised Emery for his team selection I am going to do a one eighty and say that the man should be stood against a wall and shot for his substitutions. Not for the first: Martinelli for Lacazette, no problem there, in fact, it is debatable which of these two is better (at the moment anyway), although, I don’t think this will be the case by the end of the season.
No, the issue is the next substitution: Torreira is tiring so Wolves are finding their way through the middle, creating attacking opportunities easier than they should, something has to be done. Emery has a choice of the straight swap, Willock for Torreira, or Kolasinac ahead of Tierney and bring Ceballos back, or Chambers in the middle with Bellerin going out on the right but no, Emery swaps a key defensive player in Torreira for the most non defensive player available in the form of Saka; this young man offers nothing, rien, nada by way of defence and as soon as that change happened Wolves exploited the weakness on our left and scored exactly, exactly, exactly as Liverpool were able to do in the dying minutes in the week when defensively Saka was equally non-existent.
Emery must be playing a long game here; he must know that he will not survive this season if he fails to get us into the top four and so I can only guess that he wants to get Saka up to the level that he has in his mind’s eye which must be scoring match winning goals that, in turn, get us into the top four – very dangerous if that is the strategy.
On a positive note it did make a refreshing change not having to listen to people around me moaning about one player or another, we were scape goat free today, at least on the field, Emery caught a bit on the way out the ground and I obviously add to that a bit above. No VAR incidents as well, which was welcome, but aaaaaahhhh, we could have won this.
Leno: I haven’t seen the replay so I don’t know if he was at fault for the Wolves goal, made a fantastic save in the first half. 7
Chambers: with Bellerin breathing down his neck he seems to be upping his game every week. 8
Sokratis: regained his confidence after scoring last week, a bit flat-footed for their goal. 6
Luiz: I would say that his game was nigh on faultless. 10 and MOTM
Tierney: still finding his feet but has clearly increasing the over all collective pool of talent. 7
Guendouzi: filling in for Xhaka, seemingly in more ways than one, gave the ball away twice in quick succession in the beginning that almost gifted Wolves goals, made up for it as he settled, surely he has made that position his own now. 7
Ceballos: plateaued a bit; seems to have lost the goal scoring part of his game. 7
Ozil: in the same way that a cat chooses to live where he wants, Ozil seems to choose as to whether he fancy’s playing for Arsenal, glad he is in the mood right now because he has upped the over all quality by some distance. 8
Lacazette: keeping this position warm for Martinelli, the Brazilian’s close control is so much better. 7
Aubamayang: Auba did what Auba was supposed to do and score. 8
Martinelli: shame he didn’t start.
Saka: can someone tell me why this young man is playing in the EPL right now?
Kolasinac: happy earning his sqillions and coming on for a cameo here and a cameo there.