After a frustrating, if not unexpected loss to Liverpool, Arsenal avenged themselves by inflicting a penalty shootout defeat in the League Cup. The reward; a game against Manchester City. It’s a trophy I’ve never seen us win so it would be nice if we could this time.
But cup competitions are not the top focus. An away loss to Liverpool isn’t the end of the world, but we need to get back to winning ways in the league as quickly as possible. Sheffield United’s visit gives us opportunity to do that. This is not quite the same team as it was last season. Either they’ve been figured out, or possibly, the lack of crowds is really affecting them.
They have however tried to fix an issue they had last season as well. For some time there were reports linking them with Arsenal U23 forward Folarin Balogun. They have instead paid big money to sign Liverpool’s Rhian Brewster. I have no idea if he is a good signing for them, but I would advice caution against letting him score against us. It just feels like a very Arsenal thing to do.
Fans losing their minds
Not signing players and fans losing their minds is also a very Arsenal thing to do. I’ve come to expect that, but what blows my mind is people now clamoring to bring Raul back. Maybe if he hadn’t paid £72m for Pepe we wouldn’t have as limited a budget right now. But winning the transfer market matters more to some. Anyway, there’s still a couple of days till the end of the transfer window. Maybe there will drama.
Hopefully we can avoid it on the field. Sheffield are a bit of a Schrodinger’s team. Were very impressive last season, especially in defense. But on a poor run of form since the restart. 3 losses from 3 this season, with no goals scored, won’t have given them much cause for cheer. It does mean we should expect a scrap. They do have an unbeaten record in London in their last 9 games which they’ll be hoping to build on.
Arsenal however have a great home record against sides in the relegation zone, unbeaten in last 40. None of that matters much once the game kicks off of course. Dani Ceballos is available and ESR is back in training. Maybe that will add some much needed creativity to our side. I also wonder if Ozil could find his way back. The club has started showing him in their training pictures, and frankly, we need to do something.
Attack will find itself
I’m of the view that the attack will find itself in a few months. But that doesn’t mean just letting it be. It means figuring things out, and taking some risks. A home game against Sheffield. A team low in the table but fairly well organised could be just the sort of game for Mesut to make an impact in. Especially if there are to be no new signings this window. Ozil or not, I’d prefer us to play 433, but probably too much to hope for. We’ll likely go 3 at the back and with Xhaka and Ceballos in midfield again. Pepe/Willian can maybe pull off a piece of skill, and there’s always Auba.
I have a feeling this will be a tight, tough game. Even possibly a draw if we fail to score an early goal. Let’s hope we start the game at a quick tempo. Then we need to defend better than we did against Liverpool. Watch out for set pieces. And Beware the Brewster. So many players seem to score on their club debuts these days. We do have the hero of Anfield, Bernd Leno in goal, so a clean sheet feels possible.
3 points before the international break are crucial, especially with a tough run of games coming up after that. They are bringing knives to a gunfight. Let’s go out and show them how badly they are outgunned.
Written by: Shard aka @shardgooner on Twitter