Arsenal 21-22: Brexit FC

mikeford

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I honestly can't believe they brought no one in. No one on all of the globe could be had on loan and was better than Eddie Nketiah? No one? Not one person in the entire soccer playing world?
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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I honestly can't believe they brought no one in. No one on all of the globe could be had on loan and was better than Eddie Nketiah? No one? Not one person in the entire soccer playing world?
Feels negligent for the reasons you state but at the same time we are probably talking about a move that increases our chances of getting top four from like 25% to 26%. Negligent but not actually that impactful in the end.

One thing I've found about football fans in general, especially in England, is that they have terrible understandings of probability compared to serious American sports fans. People out there are talking like loaning Luka Jovic would have made us prohibitive favorites for top four and now we have no chance.
 

mikeford

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In a vacuum you might be right but with this specific roster of people, where Lacazette can barely make it 60 minutes before he's sucking wind, any tangible betterment over Eddie Nketiah would've been helpful. That #2 striker is going to see a lot of the pitch in the last 17 matches I would think. More minutes than a 1% difference in the trajectory of this season anyway.
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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In a vacuum you might be right but with this specific roster of people, where Lacazette can barely make it 60 minutes before he's sucking wind, any tangible betterment over Eddie Nketiah would've been helpful. That #2 striker is going to see a lot of the pitch in the last 17 matches I would think. More minutes than a 1% difference in the trajectory of this season anyway.
I agree on the minutes but it just doesn't make that much difference. You've got four teams scrapping for one spot in a relatively low number of games so all sorts of randoms factors involved - luck, refereeing decisions, injuries - are just massive, in addition to the actual players on all four squads. The marginal difference between Eddie Nketiah and Luka Jovic for 300 league minutes or something just isn't going to move the needle very much, especially once you account for the reality that most loanees from other leagues take time to settle and integrate into the team and don't do very much. If we were getting a starting striker, its a different story.
 

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Dumping Auba's salary is probably a more valuable long-term move than anyone Arsenal could have realistically singed in this window. For that alone, they should consider it a success.
 

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Dumping Auba's salary is probably a more valuable long-term move than anyone Arsenal could have realistically singed in this window. For that alone, they should consider it a success.
Yes. His contract on his current form was an albatross even before becoming a massive head case. It's amazing how fast he fell off a cliff, but that's the lifecycle of >30 year old strikers.
 

mikeford

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Feels like it's way too early to say they haven't been punished for it. If they don't make Europe this year, that is being punished for it.
 

mikeford

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Aubameyang has done an interview where, while he doesn't go into details, he basically says his issue was only with Arteta. For whatever that's worth.
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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The Martinelli sequence was simultaneously really dumb from the player and kind of appalling from the referee.

Its one of those situations where by the letter of the law its perfectly reasonable from the referee (both offenses were arguably bookable) but the referee needs to use some common sense and err on the side of not changing the match and making himself the story when its a decision that can go either way. The same logic that makes a referee have a higher standard for a second yellow than a first yellow, or that led Oliver not to give a yellow five minutes into the match to the Wolves player who bodychecked Martinelli to stop a break, needs to operate there. When you have discretion, err on the side of letting the players decide the match.
 

mikeford

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I just look at it like... yeah, Oliver should have whistled play stopped if shoving the guy doing the throw-in is going to be a yellow card (and it should be) and then shoulder checking a guy in the back who you're chasing down is an obvious yellow card so like... I'm sorry, Martinelli just can't be that brazen and not expect backlash from the official. Arteta is right in that Oliver has to WANT to send a player off in that instance but it's not like Martinelli's conduct with those 2 fouls wouldn't be 2 yellow cards normally.
 

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Still buzzing from the win yesterday. Too bad we don't play for another nine days again.

Table since Auba got the boot. It's been a relatively favorable run of fixtures for us (although does include City, West Ham, Wolves x2) and obviously a small sample. But the team has been playing really well both by conventional and advanced metrics for a while now. We've strung together results before under Arteta but I don't think we've ever had a run anywhere close to 2.25 xPTS per match over an extended sample. Just eyeballing things, the last time we had a run like that by XG was a 10 match stretch in the fall of 2017, basically the last time we played well under Wenger.

49680
 

mikeford

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Extremely concerned about the squad depth, especially in midfield. We basically need Partey and Xhaka on the field for every remaining game or you basically have to write off at least 2 points.

On the plus side, Sp*rs manager sounds like he's ready to quit already. So we got that going for us.
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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Extremely concerned about the squad depth, especially in midfield. We basically need Partey and Xhaka on the field for every remaining game or you basically have to write off at least 2 points.

On the plus side, Sp*rs manager sounds like he's ready to quit already. So we got that going for us.
Agree about the squad depth, especially in the spine of the team. I don't think we really have anybody on the roster who can really do the same things as Partey, Odegaard, White, or Gabriel are currently doing, so lose any of those four guys to a significant injury and its big trouble.
 

mikeford

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For sure any significant injury to virtually anyone on the roster would be a disaster. We could survive a match where White or Gabriel has to sit for Holding, IMO. Obviously it depends on the opponent but it isn't NECESSARILY dropped points. I honestly feel like no matter who we played, if Xhaka or Partey are out, the chances Arsenal could win drop to virtually zero. The midfield has looked so so bad with anyone else in there.
 

lars10

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Martin Odegaard ooooo lawdy what a steal
As a second generation Norwegian it’s very nice to see my mother’s country finally producing some top tier talent.. between him and Haaland they have the beginnings of a pretty good team. When I was there last I was surprised that soccer wasn’t particularly popular.. it was hard to find any kind of EPL gear for instance.

Ødegaard and Saka together with the chemistry they’re starting to create.. and the overall talent difference on the field between this year and last., night and day.

edit: big test coming up with Liverpool.. Villa and Leicester are in good form as well. Arsenal have three games in hand on 5th and 6th.. would be nice to win two of the next three to make a little cushion.
 
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Time to Mo Vaughn

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With only 1/3 of the Premier League season remaining, Arsenal is certainly in the drivers seat for a Champions League qualifying spot on top of being in excellent form overall. They're in 4th place overall, with 3 games in hand on ManU and West Ham and even in games Spurs, but a 6 point lead on them.

538 has them as far away favorites to lock up 4th with a 9% shot of catching Chelsea and taking 3rd.



Arsenal has one of the easiest strength of schedules for the remaining fixtures with the most difficult ones being:

At Chelsea
Liverpool
Manchester United
At West Ham
 

Zososoxfan

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With only 1/3 of the Premier League season remaining, Arsenal is certainly in the drivers seat for a Champions League qualifying spot on top of being in excellent form overall. They're in 4th place overall, with 3 games in hand on ManU and West Ham and even in games Spurs, but a 6 point lead on them.

538 has them as far away favorites to lock up 4th with a 9% shot of catching Chelsea and taking 3rd.



Arsenal has one of the easiest strength of schedules for the remaining fixtures with the most difficult ones being:

At Chelsea
Liverpool
Manchester United
At West Ham
Just FYI, the NLD return fixture still needs to be rescheduled.
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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I'm cautiously optimistic but not taking anything for granted. United and Spurs both have the talent to rip off a string of wins at any point, even if both have been plagued by inconsistency of late. And I think our own performances remain highly dependent on being able to keep a number of key players healthy.

Continuing to win matches against the mid-to-lower table sides is really the most important thing IMO.

Leicester have been playing much better of late but we're at home and they will have just played in the Conference League the prior Thursday so we should have a bit more energy. I think that's a huge match because Liverpool and then Villa away a few days later are both going to be very difficult. Villa will have a whole week of rest whereas we'll be coming off a very high intensity match only a few days beforehand.
 

mikeford

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Feels like that rescheduled NLD is going to basically be a cup final at this point. Both teams seasons will probably hang in the balance in terms of where/if they end up in Europe or not.
 

lars10

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That win over Leicester was...so comfortable. Felt very Wengerian.
It's time for me to buy an Odegaard jersey.

Not sure who the future is at forward.. Lacazette has worked well with the kids and he's been working his butt off.. but another player that would pair well with Saka and Odegaard would make this team even more lethal.
What's nice against these lesser teams is that Arsenal is just on the attack all game (although they were also attacking City before the red card). They're pressing the other teams D all game like teams used to do to Arsenal...they've finally got the hustle and work rate that it seems Arteta wants. As the announcers were saying today..this team has become very fun to watch.
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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That win over Leicester was...so comfortable. Felt very Wengerian.
Except it never felt like we could concede a shit goal on the counter at any moment. Very unWengerian in that regard.

But I agree it was a very comfortable, controlled performance. Arteta has the team playing really well and there is a great atmosphere in the stadium.

I think the next two are going to be very difficult. Liverpool is a top three team in the world and Villa has been playing very well and will be much more rested whereas we’ll be playing our third match in six days. I would take three points out of six if you offered it to me.
 

lars10

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Except it never felt like we could concede a shit goal on the counter at any moment. Very unWengerian in that regard.

But I agree it was a very comfortable, controlled performance. Arteta has the team playing really well and there is a great atmosphere in the stadium.

I think the next two are going to be very difficult. Liverpool is a top three team in the world and Villa has been playing very well and will be much more rested whereas we’ll be playing our third match in six days. I would take three points out of six if you offered it to me.
Leicester was in really good form too..no?
Definitely will be tested with so many games in so few days.. but what has been nice about Arsenal's form as of late is that they've been shutting down threats from opponents in the beginning of matches and throughout.

I'm trying to recall a time when conceding a shit goal was still comfortable during Wenger's era... and how that wouldn't compare to today's game where Leicester has so few chances with any type of threat.
 

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Very good weekend overall for Arsenal. I think technically the ManU win over Spurs was the ideal statistical outcome for Arsenal, though I wouldn't have been upset with a draw. Arsenal's odds of top 4 jumped from 61% to 70% after the weekend after a slight dip due to Spurs win over City last week.

Huge match with a short turnaround on Wednesday vs. Liverpool. Both teams in excellent form right now and with a lot to play for.
 

mikeford

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Biggest thing from the game yesterday - Arsenal have faced 119 corners and conceded ZERO goals off them.

For anyone who was paying attention during the end of the Wenger era, that is quite frankly unbelievable. Whatever they pay the set pieces coach, it's not enough.

Not expecting any points from the Liverpool match but Arsenal should win every other match they have until we face United. Not saying they WILL but they SHOULD.
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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Biggest thing from the game yesterday - Arsenal have faced 119 corners and conceded ZERO goals off them.

For anyone who was paying attention during the end of the Wenger era, that is quite frankly unbelievable. Whatever they pay the set pieces coach, it's not enough.

Not expecting any points from the Liverpool match but Arsenal should win every other match they have until we face United. Not saying they WILL but they SHOULD.
Leicester was in really good form too..no?
Definitely will be tested with so many games in so few days.. but what has been nice about Arsenal's form as of late is that they've been shutting down threats from opponents in the beginning of matches and throughout.

I'm trying to recall a time when conceding a shit goal was still comfortable during Wenger's era... and how that wouldn't compare to today's game where Leicester has so few chances with any type of threat.
After the late Wenger years, its an odd feeling to support a team that is well coached and organized - not conceding shit goals all the time, nobody perpetually playing out of position so that we can cram five attacking midfielders onto the pitch simultaneously, a team that looks like it has a real plan in possession with repeatable patterns of play rather than just a talented bunch playing free jazz.

I still worry about injuries. If we get the recruitment right over the summer, we'll improve both quality in a few positions and depth of guys who can play this style at a high level. But right now I'm still just crossing my fingers that somehow we get through the season without Laca, Partey, Odegaard, Xhaka, White, or Gabriel being injured. That's a lot of players to worry about.
 

teddykgb

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Biggest thing from the game yesterday - Arsenal have faced 119 corners and conceded ZERO goals off them.

For anyone who was paying attention during the end of the Wenger era, that is quite frankly unbelievable. Whatever they pay the set pieces coach, it's not enough.

Not expecting any points from the Liverpool match but Arsenal should win every other match they have until we face United. Not saying they WILL but they SHOULD.

Go take 3 from Liverpool. You’re in form time to take a step up
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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Disappointing result but also kind of expected. Not really into the moral victories at this point but also realistic about where we stand relative to the best sides in the world.

For me Villa has always been the more important match in a way, as that results against Liverpool has always seemed likely. Villa has been playing really well since they adapted to Coutinho in the side, I think they're right up there with West Ham and Wolves in the conversation for the 6th/7th/8th best team in the league at this point. And they'll be fully rested at home whereas we'll be playing our third match in seven days. Win and we'll be in great shape going into the break, draw isn't great but we'll still be in OK shape especially if Spurs doesn't win on Sunday against West Ham, lose and its going to be a deflating way to enter the break.

IMO, Liverpool was the hardest game remaining on our schedule and Villa away given the circumstances (short rest against full rest, right after Liverpool) is probably around the fourth or fifth most difficult, after Chelsea and Spurs away but easier than playing West Ham away on full rest. So its good to get these matches off our plate at least.

They bring some useful leadership qualities but Xhaka and Lacazette are really holding this team back. The way we set up now Saka and Martinelli are danger men coming from out wide but in central areas its Laca, Xhaka, and Odegaard potentially in the central spaces of the attack. Laca just isn't a dynamic enough runner to truly bother CBs and pull them out of position and he doesn't get into the box rapidly enough after dropping deep. Xhaka has done well in this new role on balance and brings us some important qualities but he's just not a threat in the final third. He isn't comfortable enough playing between the lines or in small spaces, he doesn't have the instincts about when to sneak into the box and become available for cutbacks, and he doesn't have any finishing skills. Compare him to the two players City has frequently played in that left eight role, Bernardo Silva and Gundogan, and the difference is pretty stark, not just in class but in skill set.

The good thing is that you can see a pretty straightforward path for improvement if we get the recruitment right in those positions - play the same system, just with some better players in those two roles and with another year of experience for all the kids in attack and the still very young back five. Easier said than done but its not some inscrutable mystery how this team could possibly get better.
 
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coremiller

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Disappointing result but also kind of expected. Not really into the moral victories at this point but also realistic about where we stand relative to the best sides in the world.

For me Villa has always been the more important match in a way, as that results against Liverpool has always seemed likely. Villa has been playing really well since they adapted to Coutinho in the side, I think they're right up there with West Ham and Wolves in the conversation for the 6th/7th/8th best team in the league at this point. And they'll be fully rested at home whereas we'll be playing our third match in seven days. Win and we'll be in great shape going into the break, draw isn't great but we'll still be in OK shape especially if Spurs doesn't win on Sunday against West Ham, lose and its going to be a deflating way to enter the break.

IMO, Liverpool was the hardest game remaining on our schedule and Villa away given the circumstances (short rest against full rest, right after Liverpool) is probably around the fourth or fifth most difficult, after Chelsea and Spurs away but easier than playing West Ham away on full rest. So its good to get these matches off our plate at least.

They bring some useful leadership qualities but Xhaka and Lacazette are really holding this team back. The way we set up now Saka and Martinelli are danger men coming from out wide but in central areas its Laca, Xhaka, and Odegaard potentially in the central spaces of the attack. Laca just isn't a dynamic enough runner to truly bother CBs and pull them out of position and he doesn't get into the box rapidly enough after dropping deep. Xhaka has done well in this new role on balance and brings us some important qualities but he's just not a threat in the final third. He isn't comfortable enough playing between the lines or in small spaces, he doesn't have the instincts about when to sneak into the box and become available for cutbacks, and he doesn't have any finishing skills. Compare him to the two players City has frequently played in that left eight role, Bernardo Silva and Gundogan, and the difference is pretty stark, not just in class but in skill set.

The good thing is that you can see a pretty straightforward path for improvement if we get the recruitment right in those positions - play the same system, just with some better players in those two roles and with another year of experience for all the kids in attack and the still very young back five. Easier said than done but its not some inscrutable mystery how this team could possibly get better.
I don't think it's that straightforward. City allow the Left 8 mid to get forward more in part because their FBs tend to play more conservative and/or more central roles. Even Cancelo, who contributes to the buildup a lot, tends to do it from more central positions and is not really bombing forward on the overlap, as he's a right footer usually playing on the left. More defensive/central fullbacks give the 8s less defensive responsibility, especially in transition, which allows them to attack the box more. If Arsenal wanted a player in Xhaka's role to attack more, they'd have to rejigger their transition defensive structure or risk being exposed, and that might prevent them from getting the most out of Tierney, who really is a bomb-forward on the wing type of FB.

Not that it can't be done, but I don't think it's necessarily so simple as just "plug in a more skilled midfielder."
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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I don't think it's that straightforward. City allow the Left 8 mid to get forward more in part because their FBs tend to play more conservative and/or more central roles. Even Cancelo, who contributes to the buildup a lot, tends to do it from more central positions and is not really bombing forward on the overlap, as he's a right footer usually playing on the left. More defensive/central fullbacks give the 8s less defensive responsibility, especially in transition, which allows them to attack the box more. If Arsenal wanted a player in Xhaka's role to attack more, they'd have to rejigger their transition defensive structure or risk being exposed, and that might prevent them from getting the most out of Tierney, who really is a bomb-forward on the wing type of FB.

Not that it can't be done, but I don't think it's necessarily so simple as just "plug in a more skilled midfielder."
I think that's right. But Tierney has actually been playing much more conservatively since we moved to this kind of 4-3-3 formation, so Arteta's idea is clearly to have him play a bit more like you describe the City FBs. In most matches recently, Martinelli has generally been the wide player on that side, Tierney has been much more conservative playing in line with Partey and then picking his spots to go forward rather than being a de facto left winger, and Xhaka has often been pushing up very high and playing between the lines. Arteta seemed to dial that back a bit today, with Xhaka less aggressively positioned. But that seems to be the future and its just not a role Xhaka is well suited to playing.

Whether Tierney's skill set really plays up in that kind of FB role is another question - as you say, he's probably best bombing up and down the wing and putting in crosses.
 

mikeford

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Last season, Arsenal only took 3/18 points against Wolves, Villa and Leicester. This season they have gotten 18/18 points from these fixtures.

Stuff like this is the difference between making Europe and not making Europe. Big time improvement beating the teams Arsenal "should" beat.
 

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Last season, Arsenal only took 3/18 points against Wolves, Villa and Leicester. This season they have gotten 18/18 points from these fixtures.

Stuff like this is the difference between making Europe and not making Europe. Big time improvement beating the teams Arsenal "should" beat.
Wait a second...Are you officially on team #ArtetaIn?
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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KT apparently has some kind of knee injury, Tomiyasu is still nowhere to be seen.

Zero first choice fullbacks available is not great. I'm not even sure who would play if either Cedric or Nuno gets hurt.
 

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The US may have a huge advantage at the goalkeeper position against England again at the World Cup this year.
 

mikeford

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Love to come out after 2 weeks off and get blown off the pitch by a team that is worse than you AND get your only good midfielder injured.

Good stuff!