In these Covid-19 times, we have been hearing about agility and resilience when discussing supply chains, government and businesses. I feel like the term “resilience” is one that has not been used frequently with AFC in the last decade or even 15 years…
We used to have Lehmann – Lauren, Toure, Campbell, Cole – Ljunberg, Vieira, Silva, Pires – Bergkamp, Henry…All of them were considered talented, robust and strong players…They didn’t suffer too many injuries overall and were able to regularly play full seasons usually except for the odd season…
Yesterday, I thought our team was “resilient” and was ready to put in the shift and work rate required to outmuscle and muffle Tottenham. Then, I thought to myself – when is the last time that I felt like this about our team and I came back to the Wenger teams from 1998 to 2006…
So is yesterday’s squad our most resilient one? Isn’t there a case to include Holding, Mari or El Neny?
Leno – Cedric, Luiz, Gabs, Tierney – Partey, Xhaka – Saka, Odegaard, ESR – Laca
The work rate from Odegaard, ESR and Laca was particularly impressive and so was Tierney’s. Saka had a bit more issues but clearly that was an exception for him. Partey, Xhaka and Gabs also showed great resilience and fighting spirit and Cedric and Luiz are not to be overlooked either in this department.
Now and given the question marks around Luiz and Xhaka’s ability to be consistent, is there a case to replace them by Holding or Mari for Luiz and by El Neny for Xhaka?
This brings another set of questions for us: What do we do with Bellerin? How do keep Auba (our best scorer) in the squad and whose place does he take (Laca’s or ESR’s?)? Where do Pepe, Willian and Martinelli feature?…
Anyways – make your most resilient XI and share your thoughts 🙂
Nice idea for a post RC.
Resilience comes in two guises in football mental and physical.
Mental resilience is as important as physical, and they both go hand in hand towards the end of games.
I think mental resilience has been our undoing over many years, that could be inability to ignore the crowd, inability to ignore wind up’s from opponents or ability to keep playing the right pass and showing for the ball.
Physical resilience is self explanatory whether that be fitness to play 90 minutes at full pelt and to be robust enough for the sides that like to rotationally foul or play on the fringes of the law, also not be frightened of getting hurt which may be a bit mental and physical.
I think physically yesterday we were brilliant for the most part yesterday, also mentally we looked prepared, we didn’t get put off by the fouling or physicality we seemed to let the red know it had happened and shrugged it off. There are days when we know the likes of Xhaka could have reacted to some of the wind up techniques of Lamela or Gabriel could have squared up to Kane after the shoulder charge through the back, Saka could have reacted badly to the few lunges that came his way. None of them did and for that they deserve credit.
Odergaard and ESR particularly kept at it in the attacking third making the runs and passes necessary to unlock, they didn’t shirk or hide. Real mental resilience will be to do that after a miss placed pass earns a groan from the home crowd or howls of derision when away from home.
All that said my side would be something like this:
Cedric …… Holding ……Gabriel…..KT
Odergaard has impressed me more each game and I am starting to see what could be possible with him ESR and Saka playing together. Both ESR and Saka have impressed me with decision making and effort, and they don’t get kicked out of games too often.
Laca has more mental and physical toughness than PEA full stop. Ideally Martinelli will take this role but his physical resilience is definitely in question.
Partey and Elneny have the temperament for central midfield battles more so than Xhaka, we all know he is liable to react, although he was very good yesterday.
At the back I have chosen the two least combustible centre halves although I think Mari could also have a place, we all know Luiz is capable of a brain freeze mentally.
At full back they are both resilient and unfussy I like them a lot.
Keeper, I’ve defended Leno on occasion when others have criticised but yesterday I think he showed some big weaknesses mentally, the Spuds goal came from a phase of play started by a bad decision by him, in the latter stages he nearly got undone by Kane’s free kick and a cross he chose to punch when he could have caught.
All three were caused by pre-emotive decision making rather than reading the situation in the moment, trying to guess where Kane’s free kick was going, trying to play ball short when no one was on, and assuming he was going to be attacked by a number of players on the corner.
Hopefully it’s a confidence issue and he will only regain that through games.
I agree that Leno has lost his composure since that first mistake…meanwhile Martinez is having a blast keeping clean sheets…Still feels like we kept the wrong GK…
Agree about Luiz and Xhaka but ideally, we could also get an upgrade on El Neny to play next to Partey
Leno – RECRUIT, Holding, Gabs, Tierney – Partey, RECRUIT – Saka, Odegaard, ESR – Laca
In terms of resilient RB and CM, there are a few out there…
Now, there is a case to let Odegaard go and go after a player like Grealish who could transform our team and add a player like Depay to our squad for free…
Leno – RECRUIT, Holding, Gabs, Tierney – Partey, RECRUIT – Saka, ESR, GREALISH – Laca
Now the dream would also see us get Haaland up front 😛
Leno – RECRUIT, Holding, Gabs, Tierney – Partey, RECRUIT – Saka, ESR, GREALISH – HAALAND
Ok, I am waking up now…lol
@RC78 you make a good point about Bellerin. I can’t have been the only one to wonder why he was on the bench? He wasn’t injured.
I can see Hector going in the summer for a decent transfer value with a younger player moving in to take his place and Cedric as back up.
Luiz & Xhaka really worry me in general, but Mik has shown faith in them. It may be misguided, but I feel he wants upgrades for their positions.
Mari & Holding could step in alongside Gabriel, who is turning into a very good player. He has power and pace.
I would prefer Elneny to Xhaka, but he is a cautious player. I think this is a position Mik will look to upgrade.
Will be interesting to see if Aubang shows any “resilience” to being dropped and fined.
Reported to have left Emirates without warm down with other unused subs 23 mins after final whistle in his ridiculous Ferrari.
Thomas Tuchel dropped and fined him and he left Dortmund two weeks later.
Smith-Rowe in England U21 squad for first time next week for Euros.
RC you asked about current squad, so I kept it there.
I think there are two reasons to keep Luiz and Xhaka in squad, one is more than likely harmony, it appears both are fairly well liked around dressing room I also think that we can’t have a team of total youngsters.
What I really liked about Partey yesterday were the balls over the top to our wingers running in behind, difficult given Spuds were not exactly playing a high line, but time and again he found runners in behind. I also liked that he dictated where others ran sometimes, there was a couple of times where players were showing for a backward pass but he dictated they go forward to receive a ball and passed between opponents to keep momentum.
I think upgrades to certain positions are expected but whether we will achieve or not is a different matter as budget may not be there.
Great work RC
I think GiE sums up the resilience issue really well (mental and physical, and it’s mental where we’ve had problems for several years).
Until the last 10 minutes yesterday you could see how mentally strong we were (again, as GiE says – not rising to the bait with all the nasty fouls from the Spudders).
In the end it was the Spuds whose heads went – Lamela getting two yellows and Kane assaulting Gabriel in a challenge that, had it not been the England captain, would surely have seen a yellow card or even a red one.
Long term, we know that Xhaka and Luiz in particular are always liable to drop a clanger (even though both were good yesterday).
So that probably means we should look to upgrade in both positions in the summer.
I’m afraid I don’t think Elneny is as good as Xhaka, so I would stick with Partey/Xhaka at the base of midfield for now.
Guendouzi claiming he will change Arteta’s mind about him, when he “returns to Arsenal” after his loan.
Guendouzi is over and out and so is Torreira and pbbly Willock
As for Mavropanos and Saliba – maybe another loan is on the card?
I think the toughest decision is related to AMN…
Sending thoughts to Rui Patricio for a quick and full recovery but that collision was nasty 😦
We were very good in the NLD except the final 15 when they were down to 10, but ironically was the only time they made us look 2nd best.
I dont think we got the balance right in how to protect the lead and control the game without sitting deep and inviting them onto us and this is a skill we will need to refine.
As to our resilient team. Not much to say beyond what others have said but I would like us to be able to play the 4-1-4-1 system sometime. With that system we can play both ESR and Odegaard centrally.
City sometimes play 2 holding midfield players but more often than not just 1 and have Fernandinho and Rodri who can play as a singular DM. Do we have the right players and right quality to play a singular DM?
I think as Partey gets up to fitness he can do it but also think Chambera is worth a look there. Could save us some serious dosh that we can spend elsewhere as a back up. Xhaka stays but probably a no for Elneny and Ceba. Azeez promoted through.
Keep Soares for both FB roles but bring in Lamptey for Belli. Macro could come in and challenge for a CB role as could Saliba but I wouldn’t rule out keeping Luiz. His experience in title winning campaigns is invaluable.
I think Grealish is a pipe dream but Odegaard isn’t and should be brought in permanently if we can. I think there’s a lot more to come from him.
Also I think we could genuinely have a shout at Haaland if we have his international team mate at Arsenal. If not this summer then next when his buy out clause kicks in.
We could line up like this sometime within the next 18 months :
Lamptey — Holding — Gabriel — Tierney
Saka —- Odegaard —- ESR —- Martinelli
Cheers lads!! Your resident bandwagon fan here. Not been inclined to say too much for the last few “football” months but after yesterday I have a few takes:
1) As an avid Xhaka critic (and I believe for almost the entire time, a justified one) who said I never wanted to see him wear our colours again, I have to give him the credit he’s due. He’s been solid and consistent over the last few months (notwithstanding the error against Burnley which was just that – an error, albeit a bad one). I can’t see how he doesn’t make our starting 11 right now.
2) Great result yesterday- much needed and much deserved. Added bonuses A) Harry Kane shown to be the sneaky mofo that he really is, B) Moaninho crying about a penalty awarded for a foul in the penalty area. Anywhere else on the field, its a foul. If you’re in the process of a pass and you shank the pass out of play, that contact after the pass is illegal and reckless. Laca being “reckless for having a shot and following through into Sanchez could only be claimed by the likes of Cry Baby Jenas. Kinda disappointed Keown agreed with him. To make an analogy, next week someone should blindside Lloris when he’s kicking one out of his area and we’ll see if Baby J crys foul then. Same thing. C) IF and I specify IF, VAR gave us the benefit of “Spud doubt”, there’s no shadow of a doubt we were denied a stonewall penalty at Burnley. In the event we were destined to take 4 point from those 2 games, this is the way I’d prefer it – by a mile.
3) Luiz keeps his place on merit. I love Holding but right now, DL is playing better and is a better option for long balls out of defence. I also loved seeing him screaming at Partey and Pepe when they misplaced crap passes at the end. We need leaders, he’s one.
4) Willian – how is he even in our squad. Hard to understand.
5) Partey – is the real deal. can’t wait to see him grow into the team.
6) ESR and Saka – awesome. Waould love to have seen Willock given equal chances (or maybe he was but didn’t take them!!). These two look awesome.
7) Where is Martinelli?
8) Leno – needs to do a bit more in his 6 yard box but to say we should have kemt Emi is a little “grass is greener” in my opinion. Neither opinion is “wrong” because it can’t be proven one way or the other, but Leno is having a great season.
9) Kudos to Mikel. Auba is awesome but we can win without him.
10) Oedegaard is Ozil with defensive ability – he’s no passenger (anyone think of Bale when you read that !!!)
Great video Fred.
A surprising number of goals from Xhaka!
As always we think alike, although Rocky will tell you, you are a little late with your 4141.
And if you believe Grealish is a pipe dream, I’d say Haarland is a different Universe. Anyway, we have one of own to try to keep, and he would cost nothing….Balogun.
What a great video. Thoughts. Which would you choose between Wilshere against Norwich, Ramsey full length of field, or Ozil on a plate against Everton?
Did we sell Manure Sanchez’s brother?
Ozil gave us so much joy.
LBG, when it comes to a player that is in demand everywhere, i.e it will be the player himself who chooses where to go from many suitors, we tend to think we stand no chance.
The likes of Munich, Madrid, Barca, Utd, City will trump is in various ways. However I have it on good authority that this young lad has a different mindset and will look at where he will be most suited and what excites him the most as oppose to just the biggest club offering the biggest wages.
His release clause next year is for €75m, a little under £65m. To get him this year would cost a bit more but not necessarily out of our range if we make some smart sales to boost funds.
He gets on really well with Odegaard by all accounts so I think there is a chance that he could buy into our project if we manage to secure Odegaard. Utd with the Solskjaer Norwegian connection may be the greatest challenge but they are well stocked with quality young forwards and it might not be the priority area.
Agree about trying to keep Balo as well. Remember from this point both Auba and Laca only represent shorter term solutions so having 2 quality young strikers isn’t too much, especially as Balo can play through the middle or to the left.
Oh and just to note LBG, I have mentioned the 4-1-4-1 three or four times recently going back a fee weeks. If we look at our development as a process, and use City as a blueprint, then to transcend to the next level with even greater attacking intent we need to have the option of playing with 1 DM to gain an extra attacking midfield player in.
Partey and possibly Chambers could allow this to happen but Xhaka should be kept because some games will demand 2 DM’s. I think our strongest line up right now is this:
Soares —— Luiz —— Gabriel ——Tierney
Saka —- Odegaard —- ESR —- Aubamayeng
Plenty of options with that line up on the bench as well with Xhaka, Pepe, Ceballos, Elneny, Willian, Bellerin, Holding, Martinelli e.t.c