Good morning folks!
Just moved to Berlin last Friday and already suffering due to my appalling standards when it comes to speaking German…. LOL!
I had to watch the game on Sunday in German commentary. In some ways, it was nice not having to hear Peter Drury scream “RASHFORDDD” as Man United made it 3-1. But whenever I shift places, Arsenal always tend to lose the first game and go on a winning run. Let’s hope that’s the case now.
Still reflecting on the game – it was a terrific performance for the most part. These pundits who claim Ten Hag did some masterclass is typical results-based analysis. Yes, results matter. Congrats to Man United for the 3 points. But let’s not kid ourselves. We were all over them! We had chances, we came close on numerous occasions. Everything but the goals!
On another day, Arsenal take their chances, the momentum is with us and the game is won, or drawn at the very least. If that were the case, media narratives would be quite different. I’m sure of that.
There’s a famous quote by Guardiola that I think perfectly encapsulates the performance….
We set up shop outside United’s penalty box. Everything but the “BOOM” in the final action. The way we recycled the ball was phenomenal. We were winning everything. The control, structure and composure in build-up between minutes 10-70 were simply outstanding. This is the Arsenal I want to see.
Whilst I’m still quite disappointed we didn’t manage to bolster the squad further in this window, Martinelli-Jesus-Saka is easily a top 4 level front three. The dynamic and rotations between Jesus and Martinelli are a joy to behold. I’m also very pleased for Saka to get his goal. I believe he’s been quietly impactful this season despite not getting on the scoresheet but finally got a deserved goal after having Malacia on toast for 90 minutes.
One thing that has to improve, however, is game management. I speak about this quite a lot, that we’re too one-paced as a team. There’s a need to sometimes slow the game down and just keep the ball, take the sting out of games. We’re still a bit naive in this aspect. But that’s understandable considering this side is young and all it needs is time for the plan to come to fruition. That’s the next step for this team.
We can go to another level the moment we improve on a psychological level. You want to play with emotion, but also be calm at the same time.
In football, you’ll win some and you’ll lose some. Sometimes, there’s no need to overanalyze individual performances and actions. There were multiple mistakes for the goals we conceded, both as a unit and from individuals. More than anything, it’s about concentration and being switched on. Usually we are. But we totally dominated proceedings from minute 10-70. The team was so determined to get that second, we didn’t take care of what was behind us. This can happen to a young side, we learn from this and move forward.
I don’t enjoy losing. But losing with over 60% ball possession at a difficult ground like Old Trafford, coupled with the several chances we created is significantly better than parking the bus and conceding over 30 shots away to Watford as we did in the Emery era.
Our style is now clear. Our principles are clear. We know exactly what went wrong and what we have to do better. In time, we will get there. If we continue to play like this, we make Champions league football. Easy. Don’t read too much into the odd defeat. The trajectory is good and we’re a time on the rise.