By Bulldog Drummond
We might feel we’ve got a fair idea of what will happen in terms of Arsenal team selection in the Premier League but it seems that what has been assumed (at Untold, I can’t read minds, unlike many of our correspondents so I don’t know what people have thought) about the continuation of wholesale changes for Europa games against smaller clubs, might not be the case.
Indeed the Telegraph claims it will NOT be the case at all – suggesting that Arsenal are aiming to qualify for the Champs League by winning the Europa and therefore will put out a significant array of players from the first team squad at all stages of the Europa.
I am not sure if the manager’s comments have been taken out of context (perish the thought) but the newspaper is insistent that “Emery wants to maintain continuity between matches and says that his decisions are still being heavily shaped by each game.”
Ah, so maybe it will not be such a radical change and continuity will not be the key word, but rather the team being shaped by each game. He is also quoted as saying, “I have proven with my experience to know the best way to manage the players. My idea first isn’t to change 11 players for one competition and the next competition. Each match is giving us information for how we can play.”
So we can expect the continuing adjustment game by game of the team to suit the occasion, which certainly makes a lot of sense with competitions to be played for by the first team squad. Nothing really new to see. But we shall know more on Thursday with the first Europa League game at home game against the mightly FC Vorskla of Ukraine.
However the media always need a story so onto part two of today’s news – it is the battle of the Spaniards, Unai Emery against Rafael Benitez.
It is easy to forget just how many major trophies Benitez has won… La Liga twice, Uefa Cup, FA Cup, Champions League, Europa League… and all done while keeping on moving on. Although since the Europa with Chelsea in 2013, there haven’t been any major trophies, although he won the second division with Newcastle last year.
Speaking of his managerial opponent today Mr Emery said, “I know Benítez, he is a very competitive coach and his teams are usually also competitive,”
“Usually also competitive.” I wonder if our manager is not just learning English but also the technique of the mild English putdown.
Anyway, in the coming weeks we shall see if the curse of the away game is being set aside, for as Untold said repeatedly through the summer, if we could just hold our home form, but get our away form back to the average of the last few seasons, we’d have a place in the top four for sure.
What Mr Emery certainly has is the ability now, in English, to use words and say not much at all. Essential when being asked silly questions by the media. As with, “We need to improve on the pitch with our personality and our ideas. We want to do better than the last match in Cardiff. We want the same result but we can be better on the pitch.”
And there’s one little extra spot of interest in this game – we might see our old chum Isaac Hayden play in this game. He’s played 60 times for Newcastle since moving there in 2016.
Meanwhile there is a bigger amount of negativity around that I actually expected for this. A Mr M Lawrenson has said to anyone who cares to listen that Newcastle will win, while the Evening Standard claims that Seaman has said the Emery tactical plan isn’t working. Although when Pain in the Arsenal ask “Who’s next to get the boot?” I think they are wondering how the team will be further rotated for this game rather than Mr E getting the sack.
But one final thought. I am told that Newcastle played a flat back five against Chelsea – and of course lost. It was an approach which had a few commentators up in arms. I wonder if it will be radically changed and the Newcastle manager will now go for a greater amount of attack, having heard the story of the awful Arsenal defence.
This could be very helpful for Arsenal. It is never reported that Arsenal had the third most potent attack last season with 74 goals – the same number as the almighty incredible amazing front line of the stupendous they will win everything tiny totts. By having seen that with a flat back five (if that is what Newcastle had, I didn’t see the game) they were beaten, and Newc go for the all out attack option (I am tempted to say the Newc-lear option, but I won’t because that would be too crass) we could have just the chance for the breakaway that is needed.
I do hope that Laca and Auba both play.
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