LEICESTER PREVIEW – Le Grove – The Arsenal Opinion Blog

I always had this notion that who you are as a person stays loosely the same for the entirety of your life – with a few tweaks.

I have recently determined this idea to be FALSE.

Two years ago I pitched a gaming company, I bought the console we were marketing because I didn’t game and wanted to get a feel for it… today, I can sadly announce that I am a gamer and my preference is… fantasy games. I spent 6 hours playing a game last night. I was so captivated by it I forgot to go to the bathroom. I didn’t have an accident, but still… it was a painful walk.

How did this happen?

What am I going to tell my family?

Is Elden Ring cosplay going to vibe with my fiancé?

How about my workplace, will the be cool if I roll in on a horse with a sword? It’s legal. I’ve checked.

It’s bad man. I didn’t have this on my life bingo card, yet here I am, watching teenage gamer twitch streams begging for tips.

The pandemic really hit me hard…

ONTO FOOTBALL

We have a HUGE game tomorrow in the late Sunday kickoff against Leicester City. They have had a dreadful run in the Premier League this season. The Brendan Rodgers fanboys spent last year telling us how incredible their transfer strategy was, currently, they languish 12th in the league with a relegation level of goals conceded.

That’s why they are dangerous. They are in good form. They’ve won 4 on the bounce. Brendan has done Arteta before, can he do it again as he fights for his job?

Jamie Vardy is out of the game. They rested James Maddison on Thursday in their win over Rennes. We have some things going for us.

No team is worse in the league from set pieces than Leicester, so that should work for Arsenal who have been pretty good in that regard this season. They have conceded 43 goals this season, which is 4 more than we conceded in the entirety of last season.

We have to get at them.

Brendan Rodgers will likely be thinking about the Europa Conference as his best option this season, so the focus might not be entirely on Arsenal and there is always the chance he might rest players to make sure his team is fit to deal with the away game on Thursday.

The team news for Arsenal is basically that Tomiyasu is still out with injury. We haven’t seen him since the Manchester City game. That is quite the precaution we’ve taken with him. It hasn’t been the same injury, but it has been his calf muscle on both sides of his body, clearly, that’s the area that is problematic for him. I suspect there might be a consideration of Wednesday, the club might think he’s a better bet for Villa and Liverpool, two teams that will run at you, versus risking him on a 3 game run before he has some game time in the tank.

Arteta answered some tactical questions from Art De Roche, one of the few that pushes the coach to explain his actions. The responses were interesting on Kieran Tierney’s overlaps and Granit Xhaka’s new advanced position.

‘Unpredictability’

This is all part of the process. You get the basics concepts in order (JdP), craft your technique as a team, repeat, repeat, repeat… then when you get into a groove as a side, you can start adding unpredictability to your game. Kieran Tierney on the overlap was the tactic under Unai Emery and that carried through to Arteta for the first year. KT is now being challenged to think about the game a little deeper and stop telegraphing his intent. Granit Xhaka as an 8 is weird, teams don’t know how to react, that gives us more options. We’ve even heard Martinelli being challenged to control his power when running to throw defenders.

Arsenal were very predictable last year, we had two or three NFL like power plays, and if those were sussed, we had little else. This season, with better players, we’re a totally different proposition. You can’t sit back on our defense because every player can pick out 50 yard passes. You also have to think twice about pressing, because we have players that can run through it. Our midfield is packed full of technicians that can deal with all weather of players. Lacazette is a bit one-dimensional with his play because of mobility, but he’s a Swiss Army knife of a connector. He’s just very reliable at the job we ask him to do, but his finishing is dreadful.

The Chelsea mess gets more exciting by the day. Barclays froze their account. Bidders for the club have to go through the UK Government, hardly the sharpest group of minds when it comes to privatizing assets, right? The favorites at the moment are the Candy Brothers, who are a couple of real estate guys… this bid looks a bit like the Daniel Ek attempt at Arsenal. ‘We’re fans, we’ll give you representation’… big red flag that they have no money. Then you have the American/Swiss joint bid. Tod Boelhy and the Swiss guy seems like the more monied opp, but again, think about how bad this will be for Chelsea.

On the plus side, the Dodgers have been good in recent memory. There’s sporting know how, even though it’s baseball. Fenway Group are baseball lore, so that’s not a bad thing. Though the reality is, it took a while for Liverpool to get things right, so best case, there’s going to be a steep learning curve, at worst, there could be a KSE like dip of misery.

On the negative side:

  • American sport is about guarantees. If you are shit, you get the best from the draft. No one gets relegated. Location is a huge advantage. It’s a walled off garden. Why does this matter? There’s no fuck you money in this deal, that’s the weapon Chelsea has always had. If they make a mistake, there’s always an AMEX Black card funded by Sugar Daddy Roman. No way an American is going to fund Chelsea like that.
  • The word consortium says one thing to me: arguments. Football clubs cannot be a democracy. American’s and Europeans have VERY different values, I know, because I’ve lived through a Japanese takeover and an American one. We are different. Our sport is different. Neither of these two parties has experience in England.
  • There’s also the question of ‘will it sell’… Matt Scott made the interesting point that Putin might see Chelsea as an easy way to apply pressure on the UK Gov. Crashing a football club meets the test of ‘low risk / high reward’ spoiling tactics of the Russians. Putin will see that cash as his own, if it’s not going to him, will he allow Roman to sell? Or does the UK Government basically own the club now? I have no idea.

Right now… it’s Spurs vs United. We’re winners whatever the result is here.

United win, that gives us the chance to pull ahead of 4th place faves spurs

If Spurs win, that effectively ends United’s run for the top 4, which gives us focus, and might lead to a switch off for their toxic squad before we meet them.

See you in the comments.

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