A win in midweek may have taken away some of the gloom, but the debacle at Watford still casts a shadow of doubt over this Arsenal team and coach. Will we get the shape right? Can we defend properly and not concede 20+ shots? Can we create chances of our own?
As we return to the bread and butter, meat and drink, blood and thunder of the League of good ol’ honest lads, here’s to hoping we won’t make Aston Villa look like Aston Martin.
“Hope?” I hear you say. “From the person who asked everyone to abandon all of it?” I suppose like any fan, I am not completely immune to the effects of a 3-0 win, no matter how it was achieved. We were somewhat lucky with Frankfurt wasteful in taking their many chances. They were undone by a deflected shot, a red card, and Bukayo Saka, one of many players who had a good game, even if the team did not. That is an all too common phenomenon at Emery’s Arsenal.
I don’t know much about Villa. I don’t have access to Emery’s USBs. All I know is they have a celebrated honest lad who’s most memorable moment is being punched by a fan and John Terry. That is enough to make me dislike the Villans. Looking at their shots total, they’ve taken 55 shots and scored 4 goals in the league. They did however batter the minnows of Crewe Alexandra 6-1 in the league cup. Hopefully we can put these bullies in their place and Diaby-kick them in their oversized heads.
Efficiency or Poverty
Arsenal have scored double the number of league goals at 8, on just 10 shots more than them. Some see efficiency, others see offensive poverty as even Burnley have outshot us by 3.
Still, if Emery is to be believed Ozil will play in this game. That should help us create more chances and hopefully the team will carry the confidence from the Europa League into this game. It would also be nice to see some of the youngsters get their chance to show their skills in the league too, but that might be a step too far for Emery, especially an Emery under pressure (bass line plays in background). Of course we hope he can stay as cool as ice, baby, and make the right decisions.
Failure is not an option
If Arsenal fail to beat Villa, calls for Emery’s dismissal will come back, and louder. The speed at which fan opinion has turned against Emery surprised me even. Up to recently I felt lonely swimming against the pro-Emery tide, a position I came to late last season. I’m sure it surprised Emery too and it must be at the back of his mind. Late last week, Vinai Vekatesham gave him the dreaded executive vote of confidence. For Emery the stakes in today’s game couldn’t be higher.
Villa will have had a few days extra preparation and will look to capitalize on any weakness. Including that of the referee, who as we know, are reluctant to punish honest English lads. We’ve got to be prepared.
Bellerin and Tierney played for the U23s. It’ll likely be too early to pick them, especially seeing how carefully we’ve managed Holding, who made the travelling squad to Germany but didn’t play. Maybe this will be his comeback game. Ceballos started on the bench, as did Pepe and AMN, while Sokratis and Ozil were rested. I expect all of them to start.
Starters: Leno, AMN, Sokratis, Holding, Kolasinac, Xhaka, Ceballos, Ozil, Pepe, Nelson, Aubameyang.
Subs: Martinez, Luiz, Chambers, Torreira, Willock, Saka, Martinelli
Final score: I leave it to you dear reader. Share your predictions in the Comments section.