Well, the Liverpool loss was one of those: We didn’t really learn much we didn’t already know.
Referees favor the big clubs. It is amazing that Mane gets the benefit of the doubt despite being a notorious cheat. It is painful to watch refs raise the flag instantly at Arsenal and keep them down for Liverpool. It is same old same old watching decisions go against us.
We need a better option up front: I love Lacazette, he works like a Clydesdale, but he isn’t fast enough to make the difference with link-up play at the same time as being a threat to the goal. He’s also not determining in front of goal. Your strikers need to score goals. He doesn’t really. We’ve gotten away with that beating lesser teams, but at the top, top level of the game, you need to have a striker that can make the most of limited opportunities.
We’re still a raw team of young players: The team didn’t believe they could win that game yesterday. There was a lack of belief. Our passes weren’t up to standard in a really good first half. You felt there was a lack of true expression or daring at times. This is an experience thing, but it’s probably also a mix of knowing you don’t have all the tools needed to dismantle the best side in the world at the moment.
So where were the positives?
We were a tough game for Liverpool. The game turned on probably 1.5 goalkeeping errors and a bit of a switch off. Ramsdale doesn’t get beaten at the near post like that normally. Saka tracks the runners better on another day.
The rest of the game was about 50/50 possession. We had the same number of chances, they had one more shot on target.
If we score in the first half, it’s a different game. We didn’t make the most of possession in dangerous areas. We didn’t truly unleash on them because we worried about how that would open us up.
Yeah, if your aunty had… and all that.
It wasn’t to be.
Liverpool are thoroughbred winners. They showed us the level we need to be at. Every player contributing, every pass precise, every opportunity brutally taken. Just look at how precise they are. Trent AA casually finds feet from 60 yards, that is not a normal ability. You watch over and over how good they are a finding people under pressure, you watch over and over what happens when you misplace a pass by half a yard and they counter.
Gabi Martinelli summed up the journey we have to go on. Firstly, the journey is a positive one. Martinelli roasted Trent all night, it was delicious, his power and pace is truly a sight to behold. Some of his tight control was world-class… but. Under pressure, his final ball and decisions weren’t quite there.
He’s 20. That’s par the course. His killer fangs will come. They aren’t there yet and at the highest level, that is why you don’t see clubs stacking the deck with 23-year-olds. So you can’t be angry. What you have to be is realistic and be thrilled that the future we’re gunning at is going to be special.
… but there are short-term goals to deal with that are attainable.
The league just got a little harder, but we’re still in the mixer for top 4, and we control our own destiny.
Aston Villa like big games, they have lots of attacking talent, and there’s a weird rivalry between both clubs because Emi Martinez is bitter, and Villa thought it in their interests to waste time chasing ESR this summer.
That is a must-win. We know we are better than them, what we don’t know is how well we’ll bounce back from a sad defeat. Can the players pick themselves up mentally and physically? We’ll see. But anything outside a win there is going to cause a bunch up in the league and pile the pressure on.
Quite amusing that the league absolutely stiffed us on the fixture list again. We play Chelsea on the Wednesday before our crunch game against Manchester United. I think Arteta said ‘it’s always Arsenal’ and it is. I said the league would try and fuck us on fixtures and they have.
Right, short post today, I don’t have a lot more to give the game. So listen in to the podcast or watch the video below.