A win is a win is a win but boy that first half was hard to watch. From being a team that delighted us against Man U to a team that was cringe-worthy all over the pitch. No wonder Arteta shouted at them at half time, they’d gone back into their collective shell and decided that showing up was all that was required.
Luckily for us, Leeds didn’t manage to score in the first half when they were all over us. We couldn’t string any passes together or manage to win the ball back. Leeds were working like demons but that wasn’t a surprise. They play like that ………… as Arteta mentioned in his post match interview ‘they kill teams every three days’.
It’s well reported that Arteta was furious at half time. He’d told them what to expect and they hadn’t listened. Hopefully they’ll listen in the future. It’s one thing being up for a game against Premier League rivals but quite another being up for a game in general. Maybe Arteta knows a bit more now about where their heads are at.
Still, we are rewarded with an away tie against Bournemouth in the next round …… should be fun.
Here are some views of last night’s game from some of our bloggers.
Well, however this game ends up I think it bodes well for the future that we have a manager capable of changing the tactics and dynamic even before making subs and using the same players.
Martinelli is so exciting and portrays danger every time he gets on the ball.
Think we have been a bit lucky with Xhaka and Lacazette with the kick out.
A moment of brilliance from Pepe leading to a fluke goal by Nelson. A good second half after a horrible second half. A tale of two halves. Lucky we didn’t concede in the first half but in the end, we created chances in the second half and we put one in the back of the net – a small yet a big difference when the referee blows the end of the game.
Martinez – 7
Sok – 6
Holding – 3
Luiz – 5
Kola – 5
Douzi – 5
Xhaka – 5
Pepe – 6
Ozil – 4
Nelson – 6
LACA – 7, captain that led by example
Martinelli – 6
Willock, Saka – N/A
Interesting that Laca said Arteta shouted a lot at half time. And Arteta didn’t look that happy in interview post match.
“I saw how they reacted after Chelsea, and then I saw how they reacted after a United and one win, I have to be on them”.
Got to love that comment. He told them, they didn’t listen, he told them a little more forcefully.
The biggest difference was how much further up the pitch we were at the start of the second half. Big difference.
Regardless of any shouting or Mikel Miracles at half time, the fact is GiE is exactly right in that the shift of the back line 20 yards further up the field was all that was really needed for us to change the game in our favour. It congested the midfield area, put them under pressure, and allowed our talent to shine through in the tighter spaces (which is exactly what Pepe did for the goal). These last few games have shown that we are a far better side when we are compact and the defence, midfield and attack are close to each other. When we get strung out and there are gaps on the field we don’t seem to have the energy or intelligence to cover the ground both in attack and defence. Leeds made us look daft in the first half and it was like looking at an Emery team again. How refreshing it is though to have a manager who is capable of getting his message across to the players and who may finally make them understand that a compact team who work hard for each other is a difficult team to beat.
Mikel shouted because only one thing was required in this situation – more effort and determination than the opposition who had absolutely nothing to lose. If professional footballers don’t understand that about Cup games against lower league opponents they don’t have the brains to play at this level.
Enjoy your day ……… we go again on Saturday.