Arsenal defeated a very good Leicester team 2-nil on Saturday. Ramsdale deserves high praise for making 8 saves including at least two worldies. Arteta gets credit for putting out a team that was high energy, high press for the first 18 minutes. But the record shows for the next 70 plus minutes Arsenal were outplayed in almost all categories; out-passed, outshot and out-hustled. In a word, battered.
But hardly anyone in both mainstream and social media seem concerned about the underlying statistic. To the contrary the dominant narrative is either about Arteta’s Arsenal going nine games unbeaten, as if Emery didn’t go 22 games unbeaten just under 2 years ago or to gush uncritically about how brilliant Ramsdale was, without questioning why our keeper had to be so busy despite having new and improved defenders in front of him.
Seemingly me and Blackburn George are the only podcasters-YouTubers willing to challenge the prevailing narrative and to express our concern that performances like those at Leicester are unsustainable. Two years ago we were among a lonely few to go on record and proclaim that Emery’s 22-game unbeaten run would end in tears. By December 2019 we were proven right after Emery had taken us down to 14th and was summarily run out of town. We may be wrong this time but I, for one, doubt it. As George said, unlike Emery, Arteta has a much younger team with a much higher ceiling. But if his team continues to perform in the current manner, sooner or later our luck will run out.
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Am I the first to comment? I saw three things about the match v Leicester. Thing 1; We will have very tough tests to come and some teams will be all over us. The key for me is the midfield and being able to stem opposition attacks from source. We are still prone to individual mistakes like the two against Crystal Palace after Partey and Sambi both lost the ball that led to the Palace goals. However, as a young team, the more we play together regularly, the more the players will continue to build their confidence.
Thing 2; It is critical that when we’re on top, we have to be absolutely ruthless in front of goal. We can’t just depend on the back 4 and ramsdale to keep the ball out of our net. If coming out cannons blaizng is our M.O for now, then we have to fire the hell out of the opponent and hopefully wear them down and kill their spirits.
Thing 3; As much as the relentless attacks by Leicester were worrying, I was encouraged that we were able to withstand the pressure. In seasons past, this was a game we would have caved in. Same for the Palace one. The more we withstand this sort of relentless pressure, the more we’ll get better at game management when we don’t have the ball. Expect the same level of relentless attack from West Ham. I’ll tell you what though, that sort of pressure is not good for the heart LOL.
As much as I started this season thinking lets just go a game at a time and see where we are after 26-28 games 2/3rd through the season; I’m now thinking we should have the expectation to beat the teams below us; turn what would have been losses in seasons past to draws, and draws to wins. Consistency is going to be the key and not having mid-week European games should help. My regret will be if we can’t use the fact that we’re not in Europe to push ourselves as far as we can go up the table. United, West Ham and Leicester are our competition for the last available 4th place. Being in Europe for the other 3 will tire their squads and we have to take advantage of that between now and Feb-March.
But I’m still counting a game at a time. Bring on Watford.
Very valid points Odumbe. No Gooner can easily forget that 2 years ago we went on a 22-game unbeaten run under Emery despite being frequently outplayed by the opposition. Bit of a recency bias I will admit. But only time will tell.
I’m not even going to think as far as 22 games. The next game is enough drama for me. Thing is, young players are confidence players. We just have to keep at it and constantly make improvements. I@m more pragmatic in accepting we are who we are at the moment.
One thing that the team can do to boost confidence though, is to totally go for the League Cup. The dra has been kind to us so far and I can see a semi-final group of Arsenal, West Ham, Liverpool and Chelsea. Given our recent FA Cup history, the League Cup is very winnable if we put our minds to it. I think winning it will give this group of players a justified sense of belief and confidence to see the rest of the season through to getting a European place
Great podcast Shotts and George. Arsenal beat Leicester unexpectedly away with 34% procession. . Tks to Ramsdale. It was pure luck imo. Will this rub of the green continue? . It never does.
Well, Emery got away with it for 22 games and then was found out.
I believe that Arteta has already been found out and is living on borrowed time.
When Arteta took us to 14th last year, I thought he was toast. Now it is clear the Kroenkes are very committed to him. They even gave him £150 million to spend in the last transfer window. Seems they will stick by him for the medium to long term unless he takes us into a relegation fight which doesn’t seem likely.