Good win at Leicester, but now the real challenge comes. By Konstantin Mitov
Good to see you again, lovely Arsenal people and it’s also good to beat Leicester away. Honestly, it’s a feeling I can easily get accustomed to, and we’ll need to get results at grounds like these if we want to move to the most important top 4 spots in the league.
The win at the King Power wasn’t a vintage performance, but one that got the job done and keeps our momentum. And we’ll need all the confidence we can get as we’re heading to Anfield, most likely twice as the Carabao cup draw didn’t really favour us.
There were a few key takeaways from the game yesterday. Most obvious one is that Kolasinac should be nowhere near the squad. We tried our luck twice with him, but Liverpool will destroy us if we risk playing with him again. I suspect our back 3 will feature Luiz in the middle, Gabriel on the left and Holding on the right. Could be wrong, but if anybody in Germany is interested, we should most definitely look to offload him.
Secondly, the game against the Foxes gave chances to some players to make a stake for a place in the team. Elneny looked solid again. Reiss looked sharp, but lacked a bit of end product. I expected a bit more from Pepe as he is under huge pressure from Willian, and even though his drive gave us the lead, I expect a bit more from our 72 million man.
Lastly, the goalkeeping position will be under the spotlight. Leno made some good saves, but also looked a bit shaky on some crosses. It was a smart decision to start the German to give him some more game time that will be needed as he looked rusty. Since we sold Martinez, who did surprisingly well given the chance, I expect the money to be reinvested in the midfield.
Torreira will surely be moved on and it’s no secret we like Partey and Aouar. We don’t have free money to spend and raising the funds for one of them means squeaking as much as possible from players who haven’t really performed well. Not the easiest of tasks.
Liverpool for example added Thiago and Jota. Two very good signings to a team who already had the league in the bag with a whopping points gap. Despite our decent start and the fact that we somehow toppled Liverpool the last two times we faced them, there is no doubt that this game will highlight a lot about our progress.
This game is not a friendly like the community shield, nor is the league settled. They will look to punish us and our record there is not pretty. We’ll likely have much less of the ball, but I think this would actually suit us, if we survive the chances they’ll create. The defense worries me as we’ll really miss Tierny, and Kolasinac is a disaster waiting to happen.
I expect AMN to start again. He’s been sublime on the left in big games and I expect him to be trusted again. The lack of fans in the stadium works in our favour, but the “oh Arsenal can actually play a decent game” thing won’t help this time. Managers at the top level analyse teams and Liverpool will surely know that they’re unlikely to just walk over us in second gear like before.
Our midfield will hardly “control” the game, but up front if we are sharp, we definitely have the tools to hurt them. I think Willian will take Pepe’s place, although I thought Nico’s pace and ability to drive past a player could’ve been helpful.
We must at all costs avoid a thrashing. We need to go out there and make a case for ourselves, because the league now is much, much harder than it used to be. Our next games include 2 visits in a row to Anfield, Sheffield at home, City away, Leicester at home and United away.
Not the easiest run of games, but the league is much, much harder than the days where Wenger strolled to 4th. There are too many teams with great ambition and financial power too, so if we want to compete, there are no excuses. We must go difficult grounds and prove a point, starting with Monday.