In our last game, the Arsenal came back to something of a recognizable approach and execution! Standard Liege may not be the standard bearers of top-quality football, but they came to play. They pressed us too as I had a feeling they might. What I didn’t expect is how well we’d cope with it. This was such a big departure from previous games that I actually looked forward to rewatching it. That has almost never happened since Emeryball started taking shape.
We passed it out from the back well. Bellerin made further strides in his quest for fitness. Tierney looks like a good defender, who can cross well. He’s also not one to shy away from a battle. Arsenal defended well, and even pressed the opposition with Martinelli – Boy Wonder leading the way. His brace showed his versatility and finishing ability. I’ve previously said he’s one to keep an eye on, and boy was that ever true. He looks like he could be a real star. Four (4) goals in two games and he, like Saka before him, may just be pushing for a PL start. Will that be in this next game against Bournemouth?
Two evenly matched teams
The Cherries have taken to the PL well under manager Eddie Howe, once touted as a future Arsenal manager. They play some pretty football, and as Emery pointed out, are an attacking team who are just 1 point behind us in the table. Is that high praise for Howe, or damning for Emery? Probably somewhere in the middle.
Strangely enough Bournemouth aren’t really a passing team. They lay in the Premier League bottom 3 for number of passes this season. Arsenal lie comfortable in 12th. They’re also 18th in shots, only 75, but have scored 13 goals. One more than Arsenal! I don’t think I’ve seen a Bournemouth team look passive, but the stats suggest a dull encounter. Which probably means an exciting end-to-end game, particularly if some of the ‘B team’ make it into the first XI. Will they? Probably not, with only 2 rest days, but you never know.
My guess at the team is:
Leno, Chambers, Sokratis, Luiz, Kolasinac, Xhaka, Guendouzi, Ozil, Pepe, Saka, Auba.
Subs: Martinez, Holding, Tierney, Torreira, Willock, Nelson, Martinelli
Yes. Would you believe it? I’ve put Ozil in the starting lineup. I figure it’s how Emery operates. After all, we played with Mustafi after Emery publicly told him to leave. Some weird power dynamic thing with him. Plus there’s not many options now, unless maybe ESR is fit and ready. Could also have players play Thursday and then Sunday, so Ceballos or Willock might start. We’ll see. For the rest, maybe Holding plays instead of Sokratis, but I’ve gone with a full rotation.
Thursday was a great game for us, and for that credit must be given. But to whom? I like to think I’m fair, and so I wouldn’t mind giving it to Emery. I just find it hard to reconcile what we’ve seen in the Europa with what we see in the league. Maybe we are Cham(EL)eons. If so, I hope we pick the EL formula and apply it to the league too. Until I see it, I’m going to assume it was Freddieball and not Emeryball.
Let’s hope Emery proves me wrong tonight and we have another great, fun game of football.