By Tony Attwood
If you have been reading Untold for a while you might have picked up on the fact that home games involve a 170 mile round trip for me, sometimes by car sometimes by train. Last night it was the train, and wouldn’t you know it, on the way back it appears someone pulled the emergency handle, and so we ground to a halt and stopped for a while, just as we were approaching the darkened landscape of Northamptonshire.
There was no emergency, hopefully the culprit was found bound in chains and thrown into a pond, and we got in even later than the normal time back from an evening match.
Which didn’t take the shine off the evening of an easy game taking into the quarter-finals of the league cup and Calum Chambers scoring with his first touch of the ball in a couple of months in anything other than a training game.
Good to see Eddie get the other goal too, because who knows what problems our players might face in the future with the virus and PGMO both still raging.
All of which means that since the defeat to Manchester City when a lot of people were writing about the need for another managerial change, we have won six and drawn two. And yes I know that two of those games were in the League Cup, but even so, the games have to be played and if possible won.
|11 Sep 2021||Arsenal v Norwich City||W||1-0||Premier League|
|18 Sep 2021||Burnley v Arsenal||W||0-1||Premier League|
|22 Sep 2021||Arsenal v AFC Wimbledon||W||3-0||League Cup|
|26 Sep 2021||Arsenal v Tottenham Hotspur||W||3-1||Premier League|
|02 Oct 2021||Brighton and Hove Albion v Arsenal||D||0-0||Premier League|
|18 Oct 2021||Arsenal v Crystal Palace||D||2-2||Premier League|
|22 Oct 2021||Arsenal v Aston Villa||W||3-1||Premier League|
|26 Oct 2021||Arsenal v Leeds United||W||2-0||League Cup|
There was not much comment about the manager’s tactics in the media this morning, but clearly one of those tactics is playing players whom the opposition do not expect to see, in order to invalidate the preparations of those opposition players. It was there again last night and it worked wonderfully.
What I saw, from my change of seat (season tickets don’t apply for League Cup games) in the north upper, was Emile Smith Rowe running the show as a number 10, playing for all the world like a young Dennis Bergkamp both in terms of height (virtually identical) and ability to control the game.
Bergkamp of course changed his style and approach considerably as he developed using his strength more and more, and I am not sure if Smith Rowe will be able to do that, but what they do on the pitch is orchestrate the show.
Plus of course, we had a chance to see Eddie again, of whom the manager said, “I have no doubt over what he can offer. Whatever you throw at him, he wants more. I’m delighted to see the performance he had. I have full belief he will be a top player, and hopefully at Arsenal.”
We are told there are now a few minor injuries cropping up: Pablo Mari was ill (let’s hope not the big bug), and Martin Ødegaard had a minor injury.
Interestingly Arsenal let Leeds dominate possession (55% for them), but we dominated the play with more shots on target and more corners. They, as expected fouled us off the park, committing two and a half times as many fouls as we did. But it was ever thus.
So now we look forward to Leicester away at the weekend. Leicester have a mini-run of their own going with three straight wins, against Manchester United, Spartak Moscow and Brentford, during which three games they have scored ten goals. We’ve scored seven in our last three, so it should be quite entertaining.
One other thing to note: the energy Mr Arteta continues to put into each game on the touch line. While Leeds have a coach who sits in a crouch in the technical area watching the game at calf level, Arteta is there moving, gesticulating, shouting, pointing, waving from the kick off to the final whistle. Sometimes I wonder if he is not more exhausted than some of his players.
As for the next round, Chelsea and Sunderland are already through with us. The remaining ties are
- Stoke City v Brentford
- West Ham United v Manchester City
- Leicester City v Brighton and Hove
- Burnley v Tottenham Hots
- Preston North End v Liverpool
If we are at home in the next round tickets will once again be £20 upstairs (£10 concessions) and £10 downstairs (£5 concessions). Not a bad deal really.
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