As we move on to the ‘next one’ – Bournemouth FC – let’s look at the five (5) valuable lessons we learned in our game against Southampton.
Arsenal’s tactics: The team is bedding in
One thing I noticed was the team defending as one unit. Though not perfect, no one shirked his defensive responsibilities. One player who really impressed with his track-backs was Henrikh Mkhitaryan; at some point, I thought he was playing as a right-back. He chased every ball and got more tackles in than any player.
One issue though is our attack. We created a lot of chances but failed to convert most of them. It’s something we need to work on and I hope Unai will bring this up in training.
Players whose games were noteworthy were – Leno, Kolasinac, Iwobi, Henrikh and Laca. Some notable mentions – Özil, Sokratis, Koscielny and Torreira.
Arsenal Injuries: Niggles, niggles everywhere
When Lichsteiner requested that Unai take him off, I sat on the edge of my seat, begging the ghosts of unbeaten runs past to have mercy on our defence.
But when Iwobi hobbled off…
Oh dear! I broke into a cold sweat.
I hope both guys get back up soon. We have another game in 3 days and a back-line as thin as wafers.
On a lighter note, it could have been worse. The Manchester United v Liverpool match saw 4 players hobble off and saw for the first time in a long while, 4 substitutions (instead of 3) for a Premier League team. Three United players hobbled off and Liverpool’s target man did as well.
Özil’s still got a part to play in this team
Did anyone see that flick to Aubameyang in the second-half?
Yup. That’s the kind of obscenity Mesut Özil‘s got in his passes.
Unai Emery brought him on for Ramsey and though for a while it didn’t look like he was on the pitch, we started to see glimpses of his passing abilities. Özil went on to create two of the best chances in the second half, exactly what we need him for. Now, it’s for us to learn how to convert those chances.
- Arsenal defender set to sign a new bumper contract – 90min.com
- Watch the highlights: Arsenal v Southampton
Bernd Leno’s saved us blushes
Bernd Leno was my MOTM (Man of the Match).
He kick-started the counter-attack which led to our first goal and, he spared us blushes in both halves. He seemed in control of the back four and didn’t put a foot wrong throughout the entire match.
The question now is: Do we have proper back-up for Leno? Rumours are rife that Napoli intends to make Ospina’s stay permanent and I’m not sure Emiliano Martinez is a solid number 2.
There’s hope for Champions League qualification
We’re currently fourth on the table. One point above United and seven (7) points below Tottenham (Sp*rs). This might be the second consecutive season Sp*rs finish above us if a miracle of some sort doesn’t happen – like all their players having boils between their toes.
Anyway, if our team keep plugging away, Champions League football could still be a possibility.