A subject that has often fascinated or perhaps irritated this writer, especially as regards Arsenal players, is the brilliant skills often shown by our top players.
Skills are different in many ways, dependent on the role individual players are associated with. For example, a goal keeper is the only player on the pitch, for each team, who can, within the rules, handle the ball. So the best GKs are able to pick out a team mate in a beneficial space and either bowl the ball out to him, over-arm or under arm, and give the defence a chance to re-set, or enable the team mate to counter-attack at pace while the opposition is caught out of position.
A handy skill, and when used with accurate drop kicks to the wing, as an alternative, it can make the whole team more confident in the guy at the back who is able to put them on the attacking front foot, and this confidence is a way of relaxing players who may be struggling, and they can then bring their own skill set into play, which is clearly beneficial to the whole team.
That is all well and good if the GK has those skills and can apply them to his work. But, if he throws the ball to an opposition player, or worse still, either kicks a long ball into touch, or heaven forbid taps a short pass to a defender who has opposition players surrounding him, that could cause the team to lose a game.
We have an ex-Arsenal youth team footballer with us on the blog, and it would be great if he could tell us how GK coaches could help to accentuate the skill set and decrease the heart wrenching cock ups – Go for it GIE.
We could go through each position in a similar way, but I would like to concentrate next on the forwards, and particularly the specialist goal scorers, like… Auba, although he is not alone, because we have other goal scoring specialists too.
Recently, we have seen him scoring well when the option has presented itself, and then suddenly… he couldn’t!
The ball, even when within three metres of an empty net, seemed to wing towards Row Z whenever he tried to score, or finished up rebounding off the corner flag. Shots fired in from the edge of the penalty area were also doomed to fly high, wide and not so handsome, in the same parabolic as a penalty taker in Rugby shooting the ball 50 feet over the bar in that game — but that’s no good in soccer.
Then go look at Mo Salah for ‘Pool. I do not care that they are nowhere near as good as last year, but every shot Salah takes for them is like it is on a laser beam, with unerring accuracy, and little if any shots rising over the bar.
How can our top goal scorer waste so many opportunities, while Salah does not? Are their training routines so dissimilar? Can our coaches help Auba? If not – why not?
If Auba can reset his target shots, we could really be knocking on the door of the top four, where we belong.
As far as I know – unlike the goal keeping knowledge of GIE – we do not have a blogger who is proficient in the art of scoring great Premier League goals (apart from my friend, Cedric the Camel) so the door is open – we need the combined knowledge and intellect of the great AA bloggers to crack this problem – then we can tell Mikel and all will be well: “Oi, Mikel we can mend Auba, for you!”