By Bulldog Drummond
Here’s another stat about Unai Emery and his style of tackling football matches that we haven’t seen before: he has made 14 substitutions before the start of the second half this season, which is more than has happened at any other club.
And it is working not only in terms of the 22 match unbeaten run but also in terms of goal scoring. The subs in the first half or at half time have eight goals – again more than any other club.
Of course that reminds us that we are yet to be in front in any of the League games. 12 times it has been a draw at half time, but four times we have gone into the break behind. And from those occasions we have picked up 12 points.
But there is a negative in this approach – we have only kept one clean sheet in the away games in the League.
Laurrent Koscielny who has returned in recent games said of Emery, “I think it is fresh air for the club. He came here with his ideas and he knows the football he wants to play. He tries to give all the ingredients for the players to learn about his tactics and how he wants to play.”
As for his long period out of the game he said, “During rehab, you have you and yourself. For me it was very important to stay in my bubble and to be focused with one target: to come back stronger and quicker. You have not just good moments, you have some bad ones, some days you can’t progress as you wish.”
As for his return to the first team he said, “It was a special day for me after seven months. Just before you come onto the pitch, you think about what you did. I had some flashes in my head of the seven months of rehab I did. Now it’s the end.
“I have been running since the end of August and I was near the team during the training sessions. I watched all the training so I know all the tactics, all the runs, when we have the ball, when we need to defend, when we need to press.”
So does he play again today, having played in the Europa game? Quite probably yes. Here’s one line up…
Lichsteiner Koscielny Monreal
Given the way Mr Unai plays, the beach of course is now more important than ever. We know it will be Cech particularly as Martínez got a game in the Europa, and the others I suspect (if this is the line up) will be Maitland-Niles, Guendouzi, Elneny, Nketiah, Özil and Lacazette.
Smith Rowe dropped out of the Europa game with an injury revealed on the day, and I personally did not think Jenkinson looked at all on form in that match. Elneny can play defensive midfield or centre back and so covers both, and I still maintain he should not get any of the negatives that have been thrown at him by the twatters.
If on the other hand we go for four at the back it could be
Aubameyang Özil Mkhitaryan
Kolasinac Monreal Koscielny Bellerin
Or given the way things are going we could play the first line up in the first half and the second line up in the second half.
The point about these changes is that whereas in the first half the opposition know one hour before the game what the Arsenal line up will be and so can have immediate tactical talks to change how they are going to play, they don’t have time for that in the second half.
If Arsenal change two players and their entire shape Southampton will have only a moment to consider what they are up against – which means you might see the manager frantically pointing from the touch line as the second half is about to start and the subs are made. It also explains why the opposition occasionally come out a few moments after Arsenal to resume the second half having just been told the subs that are being made.
We shall, of course, see.
Here are the other articles on the game.
- Southampton v Arsenal: “Do it quickly with patience”
- Southampton v Arsenal: the analysis and the prediction
- Southampton v Arsenal. Shock horror entire league in massive injury crisis
- Matchweek 17 – All the Games and Officials plus score predictions
- The Premier League action against Man City brings Super League ever closer
- What Europe knows about Man C but the English press haven’t told you
- Arsenal v Manchester City Women’s Continental League Cup semi-final – match preview
- How Man City’s problems began to arise…. nine years ago
- The media pile into Manchester City, but where have they been all this time?