Build it around Mesut, Unai, or I storm the bridge

June 4, 2018
Brace yourselves as I’m in new territory here as far as post writing is concerned. Two reasons: yesterday I finished a book which is relevant, and unbelievably, I’ve just done seven minutes of research.
The book: Art of Learning. This is about an American fella called Josh Waitzkin. From being a chess prodigy, he quit the game at twenty three, took up a form of Tai Chi, and went on to become world champion. It is a highly illuminating and in depth analysis of the competitive psyche, and I recommend it.
While reading, it made me think about Mesut Ozil. 
Waitzkin talks about the fine margins that define the difference between competitors at the very highest levels of any discipline/sport. Part of that difference is the recognition that you cannot operate at peak performance at all times, and true champions know how to operate at a higher level for most of the time and elevate to peak level for short but decisive moments. This is Mesut Ozil.
Now the research bit. This morning I googled the Low German World Cup team formations and then did ditto for the Unai PSG sides, as I wanted to understand how and where Mesut was likely to fit in.
For Germany Mesut plays central of a three behind a lone striker.  These three operate in front of the rock steady pair of Khedira and Kroos.
Next up, Unai’s PSG. Here we see a temptation to play a deeper anchor midfielder with two in front. Can’t do this as you end up with the awful box to box headless chicken runners stuff. Happily, many google images of the Emery PSG line ups show the more Germanic set up with the two, which of course, is what any sensible manager would do to optimise The Mesut Ozil.
Arsene understood that creative genius is an essential component to the art of football, and even the more pragmatic Germans realise that a Mozart needs someone to build the concert hall.
Written by MickyDidIt89
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When will we see The Emery Effect?

June 2, 2018

Just won our first trophy of the new season as Beth Mead was voted England’s Women’s Young Player of the Year. Well played Beth.

It is early days in the transfer market. It will be a very busy few weeks as the transfer period has been shortened to conclude on Aug 9th instead of Aug 31st, plus few players will be willing to discuss moving clubs during the World Cup.

We have discussed at length the needs of the team though Emery may well disagree. Do you think it was the new manager who decided the shirt numbers? If so, Cech is our Number One and my hopes of us signing a top quality young GK will be dashed. Perhaps the young GK’s at Arsenal are considered to be good enough to step up the the first team.

How will Emery assess the strength of the squad without actually working with them? He will not get the chance until after the WC and the player’s holiday time. I doubt we will see the Emery effect until after Xmas.

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Anyone who watched the France vs Italy game last night will have seen why Lacazette is not in their final 23. Two teenage front men whose combined transfer fees are €400m (yes – €400m) were frighteningly good. Lemar got a short kickabout and our former target looks top quality, though whether he is worth €100m is doubtful. I can see France winning the WC playing some wonderful attacking football, if they don’t it will be due to crap management.

Not much going on, hence the randomness (is that a word) of the post!

written by Big Raddy


The Emery job at Arsenal: Easy or hard?

May 29, 2018

Here on AA yesterday there was a discussing between FGG (who knows an awful lot about football), and Erik.

Naturally they disagreed, but I thought the topic was interesting. Does Emery have a difficult task ahead to improve The Arsenal.

FGG felt we had a fallen quite a way behind the top four, and using this as a barometer, amazingly I’d side with Erik. We all remember how Arsene transformed Arsenal into double winners in his first full season, and despite the fact I know how seismically the footballing landscape has changed, I do believe that we are looking at tweaks rather than having to deploy the surgical scalpel.

The baseline for evaluating improvement is the point at which you begin, and in our case, that’s winning nothing and finishing above The Burnley.

Next point is that one of the major obstacles in previous season’s was the fact that Arsene appeared from the outside to have too many roles to be hugely effective at any one of them. The Club have clearly recognised, and addressed, this weakness. Bearing in mind I believe the effects of that division of responsibilities has already become fruitful by way of our January transfer activities, leaving Emery to be more focused on the footballing side.

Finally, few would disagree that we have an exceedingly talented squad, together with two or three very promising younger players, which should provide the continuity so vital to progress. Also very unusually, most can agree about the obvious areas to strengthen, so I doubt the Arsenal recruitment team will be far away from seeing the same needs.

His biggest challenges? Team structure and understanding of responsibilities within the Emery system, defensive organisation, and our away form.

Great, just the 2-3 players short, then 🙂

Written by MickyDidIt89


Who Do You Believe?

May 28, 2018

Mr Gazidis stated last week that the BoD had rigourously interviewed 8 candidates prior to employing Mr Emery. He said that all 8 wanted the job right up until the final decision was made and all had been through a full interview process.

Do we really believe this?

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Who were the 8? The media say PV4 was approached at the last minute as a token gesture but that at no time was he interviewed for the post. Arteta we know about but the other 6/7?

Dyche? Howe? Seri? Could it have been Allerdyce or Moyes? The chap from Østerlund?

I cannot believe Guardiola or Zidane or Tuschel or any of the top managers who are currently employed by successful Big Clubs would want to take on AFC – despite it being a very attractive and well-paid job.

Conte? Perhaps. Poccettino? It would have been very funny but surely, if Ivan is telling the truth, we would have employed him as Poch would be an excellent choice for us.

Any other candidates?

Or was Ivan’s statement just a fop to the fans  as we took a last minute punt on Emery instead of Arteta?

We will never know

written by Big Raddy


The new Arsenal manager…let’s try and be rational

May 24, 2018

You, me, him, her, and probably everyone who reads this knows that Arsenal are by far the greatest team the world has ever seen. We’re right, they are wrong and facts are facts.

However, let’s consider some other poor souls for a few short moments, and by poor souls, I’m referring to the Allegris, Tuchels and the Zidanes of this world.  By my calculations there are six sides who you would back to lift the Champions League trophy in any one season, although I appreciate other runners and riders can emerge to upset the betting, and this season it is Liverpool who have emerged as a surprise contender. The souls to whom I just referred will always look to manage an elite club with a realistic chance (and budget) of lifting ‘Ol Big Ears.

Arsenal are not one of those sides. So. What are we, who should we be, and why is Emery a very good fit for us now?

Before the start of last season, I suggested that Arsenal were a Cup side. My comment referred as much to what I thought was an element of the glory seeking, big time Charlie attitude of one or two of our superstars. In other words they didn’t have the appetite for a seasons’ long slog in the rain to sustain a League challenge, and anyhow, barring the freak event we are outside the main pretenders as defined by budget.

What are we? We are a top six English side, and yes, we are a good cup side. What should we be? We should be a club that strives to grow through better results/performance within the boundaries of our budget. In other words, without oiling up, out target models are the likes of Bayern (and Juve?). This is a longer long term objective than the media driven immediacy demanded by today’s society permits, but the club just have to deal with that crap, as do we all.

The aim for the next 1-3 years is to establish ourselves as the best of the rest. This brings me back to two things I have mentioned, one was Liverpool and the other was cups.

When I spoke almost a year ago about our cup sidedness, I did mention also how I liked this. It’s a personal thing, but I way prefer knockout football to league football.

This, at last,  brings me to Emery. RC79 has very kindly enlightened us as to the detail of the man, his tactical philosophies and his footballing ethos. I especially liked his insight on Emery’s ability to get the most out of a second tier budget by developing youth and pushing the superstars.

I believe he is the right man to lead us through the next three years or so as we consolidate amongst our domestic top four, and, as he has done at both PSG and more impressively at Sevilla, become a Cup specialist.

Who knows what lies beyond that, but step one looks good to me.

Written by MickyDidIt89


The Invisible Man

May 21, 2018

Amongst all the glam and glitter of the departure of Mr Wenger, there has been hardly a word about the loss of another gentleman who has worked faithfully  for over 20 years to bring glory to our fine club – Boro Primorac.

He is the chap who does all the unattractive groundwork, the man who puts out the cones, wanders around with a stopwatch, reads the pre-contracts, takes Arsene out for a few glasses of red wine after a defeat and has been the constant factor in Arsene’s reign.

Such was his media presence that know very little about Boro yet he was a fine player and an excellent coach.

As a player Boro was a centre half who played in Yugoslavia and France (where he met AW) , representing and captaining his country 14 times. He became a manager with Cannes where he and AW furthered their friendship, Cannes being the neighbour club to Monaco.

When Arsene went to Grampas in Japan Boro joined him as an assistant and followed him to Arsenal in 1997.

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A point in Boro’s favour is his fluency in 8 – yes, 8  –  languages! He can speak to every member of the squad in their own language which given the inability of some players to learn English is of vital importance (looking at you Mr Sanchez). He is apparently the analyst of opposition (apparently we do have one), has encyclopedic knowledge of players.

I am having trouble fleshing out this post because despite Boro being at Arsenal for as long as Arsene there is little information about him. We know he is a big bloke – 6´3″.  We know he is clever but he doesn’t give interviews … ever. He doesn’t sit on the bench, preferring to be in the stands leaving just before half-time to give his analysis to the manager before he talks to the players.

What of the future for such a loyal servant? Can’t see him finding a role in the new manifestation of AFC. Perhaps he will follow Arsene to his new job. Whatever it is, thank you Mr Primorac for such loyal service.

A statue? No-one would have a clue who he was.


The Case for the Defence – New Manager Conundrum

May 17, 2018

So, the dust has settled on the 2017/8 season and all final league positions have been decided. What pointers will it have given our new boss as to how the team needs to be reinforced?

Let’s take a look at the teams at the top of table.

Man City

Well Pep has forged an exciting new team by lashing out close to half a billion on top of an already decent squad. 106 goals and 27 against. Hmmm, maybe we ought to look elsewhere for clues.

Man U

Mourinho bored the pants off everyone yet again, his team scoring six goals less than us but almost emulating City’s meanness in defence. No thanks.

Totts

Surprisingly with the best England striker in decades and a vibrant young attack, they managed to score precisely no goals more than us. Their 15 goals better goal difference came from another source!

Pool

Fun to watch during the season with a rampaging front three operating along similar lines to City. Second only to City in goals scored and with goals conceded similar to the spuds and chavs.

Chelsea

8 goals less than AFC but 7 points more. Last season’s runaway winners were not in evidence at all. It is so hard to win back to back titles, though. (Will City sustain their dominance next time around?)

AFC

74 goals for, 51 against (12 more than 7th placed Burnley, though they only scored an appalling 36 goals).

One conclusion might be that the new chap in the hot seat needs to spend any moolah available to him on bolstering our porous defence.

Or is it more a case of better game management all round?

With a front 4 of Auba, Mkhi, Laca and Mesut, recruits up top seem less of a consideration unless a top line left sided forward becomes available, maybe. (I’ve no idea if this is true but always see it written everywhere!)

A new defence or defensive plan is much needed – that does appear a logical conclusion. Or is that just too simplistic an analysis for the tactical geniuses out there. 🙂

What do you think?

chas