3 points with style – what happened?

A strange feeling during and after the game…We managed the game well, we controlled the game and we scored some nice goals. Ceballos had a good game – it has been a long time coming! Xhaka didn’t disappoint. Partey bossed the midfield. Pepe was running back. Martinelli scored. Holding and Mari were solid and Leno didn’t do anything wrong…What happened?

We won the midfield battle and Ceba was key to this together with Saka and…Laca. Once you control the midfield, the game is easier and the passing flows. Martinelli and Pepe made themselves available through their runs and Laca by dropping back. It was quite a good display and the first goal was very nice to watch but I also liked the last one with that beautiful Partey turn and assist and Laca’s cool finish. The second one was not bad as Pepe got the ball back, drove it forward, forced a good save from the GK but not good enough to keep Martinelli off the score sheet.

Only issue with yesterday’s game is Saka’s injury. Other issue that nobody wants to dwell on is that the team does relatively well without Auba starting. I also agree with Arteta that Laca seems to be in a good place at the moment. I am hoping that he will score 2 goals vs Slavia this week with Pepe assisting at least one of them…

Leno – 6

Chambers – 6

Holding – 6

Mari – 6

Xhaka – 6

Partey – 7

Ceba – 8

Pepe – 7

Saka – 7

Martinelli – 7

Laca – 8

To AFC: More assured displays like this please!

45 Responses to 3 points with style – what happened?

  1. LBG says:

    RC
    -We played Sheffield Utd!
    -The desire, intensity, belief was 300% improved on Liverpool game. That said, first 20 mins of second half looked like “that’s it lads, this lot are a shambles, let’s have a stroll”.
    -The defence kept their concentration for most of the game.
    -Laca converted chances.
    – Saka was back.
    – Yoof is best, backed up by motivated players with more experience.

  2. Apangu iddi Amin says:

    But this should be consistently not one week on one week off which takes us no where but balancing in the middle of the table.

  3. LBG says:

    Barcelona thinking of offering Philip Coutinho for Guendouzi 😯. No thanks we’ll have the money, please.

  4. Gööner In Exile says:

    That probably means Odergaard isn’t staying if they think we will take Coutinho.

    I’m more enamoured by the news that Kane is looking for a Spud exit 🙂

    Trust RC to post new post just after a long winded reply by me about Klopp at Liverpool and how it took five seasons to get the title.

    Like LBG I would expect to beat Sheff United, that we revelled in the win tells even an alien how bad our season has been.

    I agree with you RC that we generally look better without Auba, he doesn’t suit the system, and we need to build a squad for a system not for a player it is the modern way at big clubs everyone will be rested and therefore when they are you can’t change the system for it.

    I tried to imagine Aubua in Lacas role yesterday, undoubtedly he would have scored both goals with equal aplomb. But what he wouldn’t have done and why he is a luxury we can’t afford is dropped as deep as Laca did yesterday to receive ball and give to wide players, or work the defence the way Laca did. If only Laca was 6” taller.

  5. fred1266 says:

    AMN having a good game for WBA

  6. RC78 says:

    Hi GiE – nothing against your long tirade about Klopp and Liverpool 😛

    It was nice to see Martinelli from the on-set. If we have Martinelli on the left and Saka on the right and we get a good right back, our wings will look solid 🙂

    Tierney – Martinelli
    Emerson? Lamptey? – Saka

    In terms of priority, I think that a RB is still the priority and wouldn’t mind a better GK either…

  7. RA says:

    Morning,

    This is a copy/paste of GIE’s late comment yesterday, before RC cut him off!! 😁

    GIE said;

    I have to look at Artetas time in charge with several caveats.

    He took over a struggling team that had forgotten how to go forward and no defensive cohesion.

    He has played 12 months under the spectre of Covid, and a very strange transfer window plus a second where funds of every club are severely limited.

    He has had to remove players from the club, some probably had friends in the squad who have either been rejuvenated or continue to be destructive (big time charlies).

    He also has a delicate mix he can’t go out and say that the squad is not as he wants because that would demoralise anyone he needs from time to time so he needs to pick teams based on squad harmony, he also cannot say that he is prepared to take multiple steps backwards as that doesn’t look great from a fans point of view although I know many of us expect and accept that it needs to happen.

    So he is stuck in this in between stage where he and the club feel they need to continue being “big” and signing big names whilst trying to rebuild. Hence keeping players like Aubameyang as the negative press of not keeping him may have been more damning (especially with the club worried about potentially being able to put backsides on seats).

    I try and compare his arrival to Klopp’s at Liverpool they also took a few backward steps initially while he made changes to Brendan Rodgers squad.

    2015-16 6th
    2016-17 4th
    2017-18 4th
    2018-19 2nd, Champions League Winners
    2019-20 1st

    That’s 4/5 years to build to where they are and let’s not forget the squad he took over had some strong names in it:
    Enrique, Toure, Lovren, Skrtel, Milner, Coutinho, Henderson, Emre Can, Benteke, Sturridge, Firmino, Origi

    They had also recently capitalised on selling Suarez £65m in 2014 and in 2015 Sterling £44m.

    We have had the opportunity to capitalise on selling big names which we have chose not to take, and now I’m sure like anyone else I fear losing Saka, ESR, KT etc for money we cannot refuse.

    What is really intriguing is looking at signings made by Klopp in the summer following his arrival, in – Matip, Mane, Wijnaldum, out is a longer list but it included Benteke, Balotelli. Similarly the following season out went Coutinho, but in came Salah, Van Dijk and Robertson.

    What am I getting at? Whilst Liverpool had a decent squad that could be moulded into decent performances and results they didn’t fit his style, and he couldn’t go in and clear out in one fail swoop it took time to get it how he wanted.

    Arteta is on more of a sticky wicket as whilst on paper our squad looks good on the pitch it doesn’t, at least Coutinho delivered for Klopp while there, even if he wasn’t quite the player he wanted, whereas we have players in a similar vein who are not delivering for the manager, perhaps because they are older they’ve had their best contract chance.

    Wengers policy of not giving more than one year extensions to players over 30 does look wise in hindsight. To think we may be about to be lumbered with him for 3 years (until he is 34!) when we have Laca about to enter last year of his contract aged 29 and arguably a better fit for Arteta’s desired system and more energetic on the pitch.

    End

    That is fascinating, GIE, well said!

  8. RA says:

    GIE,

    There is always that mysterious element that can affect all our lives, namely Lady Luck.

    A key element for Klopp which had a dramatic effect on his teams and their success was the acquisition of Van Dyke. (Ironically he had been offered to Arsenal for about £10m by Celtic, and we turned it down, as allegedly he was too slow — “slow”?? were our scouts/Wenger kidding???)
    Lucky, lucky, Klopp.

    And then among other acquisitions he signed Salah, a Chelsea reject — and what a player? I wish we had signed him — frankly he makes Auba and Laca look like buses instead of his Ferrari.
    Lucky, lucky, Klopp.

    In fairness I am not sure it was really lucky, per se, but it was identifying what he needed in Van Dyke, after he had been rejected by Arsenal and other clubs, and going all in for him.

    The same re Salah — a player with great talent that was not really consistent – and Klopp made him consistent.

    Luck? Well, maybe, but there was a lot more to it !!

  9. RA says:

    Well, there you go, GIE, your excellent comment has got this blogger, at least, thinking about what could have been, and envious of ‘Pool — it could have been us!! 😜

  10. Gööner In Exile says:

    Haha it could have indeed.

    So Liverpool allegedly follow the moneyball principles of their owners other franchise the Red Sox, anyone who has seen the movie of the same name knows that it wasn’t actually their idea but one stolen from Oakland A’s and championed by Billy Beane. The A’s never won a World Series with their method because for that you still needed some star quality, but it got them to the play offs regularly until everyone else followed suit.

    Liverpool in Klopps early time definitely focussed on those kinds of players, good stats and undervalued. It eventually allowed them to pay big money for the two/three players that whilst fitting the system would get them over the line.

    Where do we fit in, well some would argue that whilst we were paying heavily for Emirates and financial crisis we implemented a very similar policy. Unfortunately it is much harder in football than baseball to keep players who are doing well, as salary caps do not exist, and when we tried to sign the big players and they didn’t work out we chased them up with more acquisitions, I feel like our whole acquisitions strategy went to pot at about the same time Klopp was taking over at Liverpool.

    The other major factor in football is it is much harder to apply statistics in a far more team based game. In baseball players are isolated in action even though they play with a team, they will get x chances to hit and get on base regardless of how the rest of the team plays, or x amount of pitches or x chances to catch etc. In football it can be much harder to identify those giving good numbers because others are not helping them.

  11. RA says:

    That was exactly what I was going to say about MoneyBall, which was supposedly the reason we bought the ‘stats’ company who were going to revolution acquisitions etc.

    You put it much better. 😳

    I agree with you about the differences in other sports and the way they are run which can negate MoneyBall as the stats can be difficult to analyse.

    An example of that is the stats relating to Xhaka (and this is not a criticism, it is to show how stats can mislead).

    Xhaka came out as the best at Arsenal in completed passes etc. It is the case as I mentioned yesterday that Xhaka (now known as X) has a very good and accurate cross ball pas, but where he did very well was his short passes (and I don’t want to get back into the ‘pass from the back’ stuff either).

    X with his one left footed passes often gets into difficulties when he is pressed by the opposition, and passes to the only available team mate who is often being pressed too.
    X gets a ‘tick’ for a completed pass, but the recipient often loses immediately, so the stats say X is a ‘good’ passer, and the recipient is classed as poor because any attempted pass he tries to make is inevitably intercepted because of the circumstances.

    I think you and I had a series of discussions on AA many years ago, with input from many other AAers, without any real ‘communal’ agreement between the AA cognoscente. 😜

  12. RC78 says:

    I am sure that with a better RB and DM/CM, we will definitely be better at passing out from the back and generally anyways, if we do get better players…lol

    I also think that Leno is generally more of a liability than an asset so I would not be against selling him and getting a better GK…

    ? – ?, Holding, Gabriel, Tierney – Partey, ? – Saka, ESR, Marti – Laca

    As you are saying, LFC went into another dimension with the acquisitions of Salah, Van Dijk and Alisson. Now we have to see who Arteta brings in but having a vetter GK, RB and CM would not hurt us at all…

    Chambers and Cedric can stay as our back up FBs.

    Do you feel that AMN is showing enough to play as a CM? Yesterday he was really good in that position and nullified Ward-Prowse, which is not easy to do. I still rate WP more than AMN but shouldn’t we just stick with AMN and maybe let El Neny go then? So many questions, so little answers…

    I am just excited that Saka, ESR and Martinelli are young players and that we could maybe keep them for a few years and build the squad around them Tierney, Gabriel and Partey.

  13. LBG says:

    Cant believe how much discussion about the Dippers on our site! So I will add to it…
    I think to suggest Allison, Van Dyke, and Salah are the main reasons for Liverpool’s considerable ( but brief) success is massively to underrate three other players Firmino has been the creative on touch genius that has been responsible for many of Salah and Mane’s goals. And when it isn’t him, the two full backs have created the rest.
    The buying up of potential and making that potential happen is the reason for Liverpool’s success, IMO.

  14. LBG says:

    “one touch”..

  15. RC78 says:

    LBG – Fully agree with you. I think the point made was that the purchase of Alisson, Van Dijk and Salah were astute acquisitions that facilitated Liverpool’s access to improved performances and trophies, notwithstanding or undermining the contributions of the players you have mentioned or Henderson, Milner amongst others. My favourite of the lot is Sadio Mane to be honest. What a player he is!

  16. JM says:

    Ownership, management and backroom:

    Fenway Sports Group (John W. Henry & Tom Werner) vs Kroenke Sports & Entertainment (Stan, Ann & Josh Kroenke)

    Liverpool’s CEO Peter Moore & Technical Director Michael Edwards are more experienced and astute in the business, finance (inc. contracts) and players’ recruitment than ours, as of current (Vinai Venkatesham & Edu)

    Liverpool is Klopp’s 3rd team managed (after Mainz & Dortmund in Germany). He has won everything in Germany with Dortmund, and also gathered personal accolades. Arsenal is Arteta’s 1st team as head coach/manager. He is still a rookie head coach/manager. Arteta’s current tenure with us ought to be judged against Klopp’s starting years with Mainz & Dortmund. I personally gauge a realistic time frame for our team (while playing with a better knowledge in positional play) to be seriously challenging for the league title only after 5 to 10 years (if we are still managed by Arteta). The EPL is more competitive than the Bundesliga.

    Team:

    Henderson & Milner are better captains than Aubameyang & Bellerin.

    Liverpool has also blooded in from their youth teams (Trent AA, C.Jones, Kelleher, N.WIlliams, N.Phillips, R.Williams) who are either in their 1st team, squad rotation and backups (where some of them could become future regulars in their 1st team). Arsenal, with Saka, ESR, Martinelli, Nketiah. Nelson representing, could do with more involvement from e.g. Balogun, Azeez, Cottrell, KJ.Hein, T. Coyle, Z.Swanson etc)

  17. LBG says:

    JM
    Pretty good!
    So leave MA alone! Back him with some money, and when he needs to get rid of shite and bring in more quality, support, believe he can “cultivate” and “mature” very yoof and yoof, and be patient!
    But five to ten years, please JM! I’ll be dead! Give me a break.

  18. GoonerB says:

    Great comment from GIE about what Arteta walked into at Arsenal, and great comment from RA…..all worthy of a post.

    I agree with the Liverpool and Klopp comparison in terms if a time frame that Arteta might need to get us back challenging. If anything Klopp walked into a better situation as Rodgers had by no means been a disaster and he had layed a lot of groundwork with modern coaching principles in place.

    Jjgsol stated the other day that he didn’t believe in this transition phase with Arteta. I would counter that and say not only is this transition phase a reality but also the scale of what Arteta needs to do means it is a long transition, not just a season.

    I know it’s a bit taboo to refer back to the great man in any negative sense but I actually feel we started to either regress or at best stand still and not progress in the AW era just after securing Sanchez.

    For me AW had somehow lost the ability to put a balanced side together and his teams from that moment were a collection of individually good players that didn’t compliment each other in many senses.

    The players were good enough to be an effective cup team in certain seasons but were too disjointed to be effective across an EPL season.

    Key positions needing certain styles of players were left perpetually unaddressed while we also seemed to lack a lot of modern technical coaching and attention to detail that other teams were applying.

    Those teams were behind us then but you could see them catching us in the rearview mirror and knew it wouldn’t be long before they shot ahead if us.

    Arteta has a job to correct both many psychological and technical faults inbred in the club for many years. He has had to correct the mess that he found when he walked in and reinstall both confidence and make us a team harder to beat.

    He then has to redress the balance in the squad so that his team can play the way he wants. This will not happen overnight but many if the signs are good. He has certainly taken us back to the drawing board and put in place foundations that had not been present for many years.

    This is why I feel a need to stick with him even with some blips and questionable tactics relative to the current quality of player. I trust him with our youth development and I dont feel we are too far away from a kind of quantum leap in how we perform across an EPL season.

  19. LBG says:

    GoonerB
    Absolutely excellent………bolleaux, sir! Find myself agreeing with you completely. Jigsol will soon be shooting you down, but well done.

  20. RA says:

    LBG,

    RC @ 11 a.m. explains beautifully the time frame I was referring to when Van Dyke and Salah were bought and set the ‘Pool ball a-rollin’ rollin rollin — so I have nuffin else to say.

  21. RA says:

    Long John GB,

    Really liked your 12:03, and if we are light on Posts it might behove RC or Rocky to pinch it and put it out as a Post. 🤪

  22. LBG says:

    RA
    Not a contradiction of your timeline comment, more a point of emphasis of the role of
    collective purchases and development of youth.
    As its Liverpool day, I thought I’d look up the finances. From Oct 2015 until now, April 2021, Klopp’s reign, Liverpool have bought 39 players at a total cost of £476,950,000. Sold 37 players for £373,800,000, and let 21 players go for free.
    Pretty good budgeting, I’d say, given what they have achieved.

  23. RC78 says:

    In case Arsenal wants to look at decent and promising deals:

    1. Depay (Lyon), free this summer who may be tempted again by the EPL
    2. Kostic (Frankfurt), who will be allowed to leave
    3. Saul Niguez (A. Madrid), who will also be allowed to leave

    Depay can play as a 9, 9.5, 10 and on the left wing – Free
    Kostic is a left wing back – Less than 30 Mln
    Saul Niguez a central midfielder – 40 to 50 Mln

    I am not saying we will buy them but just to throw their names in the ring as potential good deals

  24. LBG says:

    Martinelli says he was tired after Sunday’s game but “fine” and ready for Thursday. Pick him, Mikel and rest him at the weekend.

  25. RA says:

    LBG @ 4:17,

    Now those stats are really interesting.

    Altho I started my comment earlier as a reference to ‘Pool’s ‘Luck’ for buying the two mentioned, when they did, and fuelling their eventual charge for the title, I rather backtracked and opined that luck was not really the only major key to their overall purchases.

    They got over £100m for Coutinho which wasn’t too bad for their coffers?? But I suspect you know that already. 🤪

  26. RA says:

    RC,

    Thanks for the info.

    Those players are pretty good, but they do not light my fire, and I cannot believe Arsenal can afford those sort of prices.

  27. Sue says:

    RC.. It’s match day!! Come onnnnn!! 🤞

  28. RC78 says:

    We re through…beating Bayern…unbelievable. Neymar should have had a hat trick but his 220 Mln shooting boots stayed in Barcelona apparently…

    Now waiting for City…Already it is a good run: beat Barcelona, beat Bayern Munich…now let s beat City and then Real for a first CL Trophy, it would not be bad 😛

  29. Sue says:

    Brilliant game, RC. Mbappe, Neymar and Di Maria – all aboard the show boat 👌
    How it ended 0-1 I’ll never know, but really pleased they’re through!!

    One other thing that amazes me is how Choupo-Moting went from Stoke City>PSG>Bayern 😳

    Now for Real to finish Pool off tomorrow…

  30. LBG says:

    Bissouma looks like the real deal to me (provided we can keep him on the pitch), but please keep away from Linguard, Edu.

  31. Gööner In Exile says:

    To compare LBGs Liverpool stats on transfers since 2015 to ours is quite shocking.

    Since 2015 to now we have a net spend of £360m (added up in my head from Transfrmarkt), in the 5 seasons previous it was a net spend of £40m.

    We really have spent well since Gazidis wrestled control of player acquisitions to a director of football style setup which was a bit too committed based. As the old saying goes “a camel is a horse designed by a committee”.

    That’s the kind of spending that I used to laugh at Liverpool for spending getting star names without a team consideration. Whilst they have a director of football setup too it seems far more orchestrated and their is a definitive line of responsibility on the non football side and it would appear they consult the manager too. We seemed to go for more of a Southampton/Watford set up in that someone buys the players and the coach coaches them. Then you are never have to worry about losing players or managers as the system is setup above both and you recruit the best manager and players for that style.

    We appear to have done the player bit but not the style of play bit.

  32. Gööner In Exile says:

    *We really have not spent well since Gazidis

  33. Sue says:

    Folarin Balogun has signed his new contract with Arsenal until June 2025, done and completed. He received more than 15 proposals to sign as a free agent – Bayer Leverkusen made the biggest one. Edu Gaspar and Arteta convinced Balogun to stay and sign a new contract.
    #AFC (Fabrizio Romano)

    Fantastic news!

  34. allezkev says:

    Yeah LBG, the thought of Lindgard in an Arsenal shirt is quite sickening, surely we can do better than him?

  35. RA says:

    Sue,

    You are wonderful Gooner!
    You are always ahead of the pack with the news we are all wanting to get!! 😁

    Well done, you.

  36. Gööner In Exile says:

    Well that is good news, perhaps with just Edu in charge of making those kind of decisions we can start to progress.

    Obviously financial benefits will encourage someone to sign but also playing time, so that hopefully tells us he is in the managers plans for future.

    Interested in Maitland-Niles performances for WBA playing centrally and earning MotM performances, if he keeps it up to end of season do we build a midfield with him and Partey? He is a player that was convinced to sign a contract a couple of years back too good to be a utility player at Arsenal maybe not good enough to be a regular in his own position (with caveat of only being 23 and that role having more responsibility than others), but surely as good as Ceballos or Elneny? Would reserve starter he enough for him to stay given his taste of game time at WBA?

    I think he loves the club enough to stay but at 24 and with a couple of sniffs at being in the England camp I think he will strive to make his own start if we can’t give it to him.

  37. GoonerB says:

    Great news about Balogun. Really looking forward to how we shape up over the next little while and seeing more of our youngsters come through.

    I really think we could be heading for a golden generation with a team full of home grown players but it is important that we retain enough experienced voices in the squad to help these players.

    That’s why we should still give serious consideration to retaining the services of Luiz and Lacazette. In the formers case it might only be 1 more season but I still feel the presence of these types of players is important in our next generations development.

  38. LBG says:

    GoonerB
    Keep Lacazette; why do Gabriel, Mari and Holding, let alone Tierney not have enough experience in defence to step up and lead?

  39. RA says:

    Hi, GIE,

    The adage “absence makes the heart grow fonder” seems to be paying off for AMN, as you, and others, seem to think that playing for a bottom club has improved him.

    It does not matter what I think, as all these things will work themselves out in good time, especially as we have been linked to a very good player in Bissouma, and what I care about is improving the squad, and for me, that would be the latter.

  40. RA says:

    It’s great to learn from Sue that Big ‘Un has allegedly signed a new deal, rather than waltzing off for nothing.

    I was really hoping we might purchase the Celtic CF Edouard in the summer transfer window, not that it would affect Balo, as it might be better to hire a 23 y.o. CF as first choice, while Balo got more experience, and then, perhaps, we could let Auba a 31 y.o. go?

  41. RA says:

    I would give the captaincy to Patrick Partey.

    If a choice about captaincy had to be made from the defence, I would plump for Tierney, altho his injury record is not good.

    Speaking of which, I hear we are thinking of bringing Kolasinac back from loan to understudy Tierney.

  42. RC78 says:

    I think we will get a new LB or we will trust Chambers as back up RB and Cedric as LB.

  43. RC78 says:

    New post

  44. Gööner In Exile says:

    I’ve been wondering about this all season with regard to home records being a bit unexpected. Not all stadiums are fortresses and yes on match days (especially in summer) lots of fans wear their colours, but picking out a red shirt from a blank red back ground compared to picking about a red shirt against a backdrop of mixed colours probably helps with depth perception too if only looking out of the corner of your eye.

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/56748752

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