The Premier League season kicked off over the weekend with Arsenal taking on last season’s champions, Manchester City. With Arsene Wenger gone and Unai Emery taking over, this season was always going to be a new experience for the Gooner faithful.
Unai was announced a few weeks after the close of last season giving him a full pre-season to work with the squad left for him and make a few additions. Arsenal didn’t hold back with regards to the latter and brought in players to try and bolster weaknesses in the squad.
The likes of Torreira, Leno and Sokratis might not be major signings in most eyes but they were brought in to help with obvious weakness in goal, at the back and in midfield.
The Manchester City game
It was always going to be tough facing a very good Manchester City side especially after their recent win against Chelsea in the Community Shield . I bring this up to highlight the fact that this is a team full of confidence in themselves and the quality of each player under Guardiola.
Emery went with the experienced ones in the squad to try and give the City side a challenge but majority of them did not turn up as the gunners fell to two goals from the visitors. Both goals coming after good work on the left where Mendy and Sterling were causing the Arsenal defense lots of problems.
Same old Arsenal?
Most of the analysis I watched after the game was quick to point out that the management might have changed but the side showed similar shortcomings. In my opinion, I feel that this side is still a work in progress and it might take a while for us to get to the best performance level possible.
While the pundits preach their message of doom and gloom, I choose to see the little positives from Arsenal’s performance and areas the side can improve.
In terms of personel, Leno has to start in goal if we’re going to play from the back and try to beat the opposition press. Cech made a few good saves to keep us in the game but he didn’t inspire much confidence while the team built up play from the back.
The defense didn’t do much wrong in the City game but it seems the midfield didn’t get the memo. Despite his errors, Guendouzi did put in a shift in midfield and the biggest disappointment was with Xhaka’s performance. I hope to see Torreira come in to help protect the midfield as he did a great job on his short cameo off the bench. Guendouzi’s inexperience would have him miss out and it would probably mean Ramsey dropping deep into the midfield.
Ozil and Mikhitaryan didn’t offer much going forward but I won’t slate them much considering the amount of control City had on the game. They could have done better during the times we had the ball which proved to be one of Arsenal’s undoings.
One person who has to start though is Lacazette. Getting him and Aubameyang in the same side has to be up there on Unai’s to do list.
Optimism for the rest of the season
It will take some time for us to see Arsenal play as Unai wants them to do. Quick build up play from the back and a strategic press when the team loses the ball. All this will come in time but as fans we’ll need to be patient with the side.
Maybe we won’t challenge the likes of City and Liverpool for the title but I believe we’re good enough to challenge for a top four spot and hopefully get some silverware in the cup games.