5 Reasons Our Attack, 5 Reasons Our Midfield, 5 Reasons Our Defence Will Be MUCH Better This Season
Well, I was planning on having 5 reasons for each area but the reasons just kept coming. So…
30+ Reasons This Season Will Be Better than Last Season?
- Dani Ceballos is a baller
- Joe Willock is ready, according to no less a world class midfielder and manager than Zinedine Zidane. “The player who impressed me the most was the midfielder Willock. He handled the tempo of the game and showed important physical traits. A top talent for sure” Gives us something no player had last season – the threat of rampaging up the middle, bite, and true box to box chops.
- Guendouzi will be a year stronger and better. That’s a lot when you’re 20 years old. The boy will be a star. But he’ll have a lot more competition this season, and that’s good.
- Torreira’s 2nd season in the PL. He ran out of steam after the “you don’t get a winter break, sonny” period.
- Dani Ceballos is a baller
- Mesut Ozil’s rapprochement with Unai Emery. He did not get stabbed in the back by the GER NT this summer nor singled out for their World Cup failure. He looks like he’s up for it.
- Granit Xhaka won’t be any better. But he still has a wand of a left foot to which will be added 4 midfielders who are better than last year’s options. So Xhaka+Partner will be better any time he starts.
- Elneny wasted 380 mins last season. (Harsh but true.) That’s the equivalent of a more productive midfielder playing 4 more full 90s for us, or better options coming on for 30 mins when we’re flagging eg Willock.
- Much better options available to form compatible combos across the midfield. More viable variations to pick from.
- More press-resistant – Guendouzi got better at this as the season progressed, Torreira will be fitter, Willock will Willock, and Ceballos is a baller.
- Dani Ceballos is a baller.
- The manager will know his players (much) better and so will make better decisions. We’ll hear a lot less of “It has given us more data” from Unai when we get battered.
- We will switch to a back 4 as the primary base of the formation. We leak goals either way. Might as well add an attacker upfield and get more shots off and more runners into the box.
- Laca & Auba have learned a lot about playing together. Looks much more convincing now than when we first tried it.
- We will (maybe) add a Wide Forward – Zaha or …, to increase variety, unpredictability and end product. Welbeck had 1 start last PL season. Sadly, a waste of a squad spot.
- Overlapping Wingbacks/Fullbacks available all season long. We lost our right side overlap for a couple of months when Bellerin fucked his ACL and as we waited for AMN to kick on. AMN grew into the role eventually. Kolasinac + Tierney (?) on one side. Bellerin + AMN on the other side. (Lichtsteiner started 10 matches in the PL for us. Jenks started 2.)
- The yutes – we’ll surely keep a couple from Eddie, Saka, Nelson and Martinelli this season that we didn’t have or trust last season – someone may go on loan.
- The supply from midfield will be better – supply lines win wars. Plenty of reinforcements will pay dividends over an exhausting season.
- Mkhitaryan isn’t crap. And he will thrive if provided with more overlapping FBs/WBs. Auba, Laca and him are mates. They’ll find a way to find each other.
- We will survive and thrive without Ramsey. He only started 14 PL games for us. He got 4 goals and 6 assists. Mkhi got 6 goals and 4 assists, albeit with an extra 300 minutes. It’s an opportunity to improve. Between Ozil, Mkhi, Iwobi and Ceballos, and at times Willock getting forward from midfield, a few of our players can step up to fill the void, get in the box, add extra end product. Or a Zaha will hoover up his minutes and more to give us runs in the box and G+A.
- Set-pieces. We could practice our attacking set-pieces, and get more goals. We are at basement level here and the elevator can only go up.
- Ceballos and Ozil are both excellent at springing a counter, and Auba through the center or off the wing is magic on the counter if you can just feed him.
- We have 2 or 3 youths who thrive on counters too. Could we see a continuation of preseason where 2 or 3 kids come on with 15 mins to go to run at dying legs. We didn’t leverage counters enough last season. NFL Special Teams style
- Willock and Ceballos will add extra bite in midfield with tackles and interceptions to force turnovers to start a counter.
- Sokratis will have a better partner.
- We won’t be carrying Koz. For at least 50% of his time on the pitch in his 13 starts, Koscielny basically had 1 leg.
- Rob Holding will go from 9 starts to 30+ starts?
- We will add a CB (probably a loan.) We may keep Chambers. Dinos may revive his career.
- The Defence will have a better midfield ahead of it, with more legs, and more bite.
- We will have a new left FB option (hopefully.)
- Mustafi will play less: cos Rob Holding & also switching to a back 2 again.
OK. The defence section of this is pretty thin. We desperately need to add a quality CB or 2. And that left FB. But, hey, what’s that over there!!!! Attack and midfield!
Unai Emery is wiser and smarter than last year having been through his 1st PL season. He will pace us better to avoid the April/May flop. He will know the combos that work. He will know what each player can and CAN’T do for him. He will have more confidence to rotate in the PL/EL and keep us fresh. And Freddie will push the youth options which will help with this too.
This is a glass half full view. There will be injuries. And if I’d written the piece last summer I wouldn’t know Hector, Holding and Danny (again) would get crocked, or that the manager would so miscalculate the rotation of the squad, or that Ozil and Ramsey – for different reasons – would impact our season so little. Or that Mustafi would plumb new depths as the season progressed, and find novel ways to Mustafi.
Add to that, the competition in the top 6 and throughout the rest of the league will strengthen too, especially The Spuds.
Still and all, it wouldn’t take too many of these 30+ factors to break our way for us to have a significantly better season.