GoT, Foster, Deeney and an Arsenal away win – A great night of drama

Poor performance, but great 3 points. by Konstantin Mitov

Hello good Arsenal people from over the globe! Feeling any more homesick on the road? That’s what Arsenal feels like every time we travel. It’s a lovely Monday evening, just finished watching the new Game of Thrones episode, before I switch to the Arsenal game at Watford and it’s the perfect start!

Ben Foster doing another epic mistake, with Aubameyang putting massive work to press, which results in his 18th goal of the season in the league and 75 seconds later, Deeney puts his arm in the face of Torreira and he is shown red! I was thinking to myself well, GoT episode is over and now so is this game and the drama for the night!

But it wouldn’t be Arsenal if we cruise a game away from home, even if we are gifted a goal and a red card at minute 10. At the Emirates it’s like we’re Batman trying to protect Gotham city, fighting crime and prevailing against the villains and then we’re shy old Bruce Wayne away, hoping to avoid the attention.

I’ve been struggling to find answers to our two-face identity, but after a lot of thought I believes it comes from the manager. Our approach away is not nearly as bold as it is at home and as it used to be in the beginning. At the start, when we were winning most games (even those away), we went with an attacking intent. We were outscoring teams, scoring at least 2 away for a very long time.

Even when we lost to Chelsea, we created enough chances to win. I think the turning point was our 3-2 defeat to Southampton. Feels like after that game, Emery decided that we should have a more laid back approach and try to concede less. Something I was a big advocate of, but it feels like we completely abandoned our pressing and desire to go forward.

Yesterday, once Watford were left with 10 men, we could’ve moved the ball quicker, but instead we were slow and it was always sideways rather than forward. We also missed the chances we created. Mikhi had a very poor game. Auba apart from his goal was pretty isolated throughout the game and the front 4 seemed like they lack the understanding on the pitch, which we have if Auba, Laca, Ozil and Ramsey all play.

We also made a lot of rotations in defence. Mustafi at right back is a worry for me, although, yesterday, he was one of our better players. Mavropanos was also a surprise, but I think a huge part of our win was Koscielny, with a true captain’s performance! That said, all the rotations didn’t look like they helped the team.

We obviously had Thursday in mind, but with a performance like that, we’ll be praying to survive. I want to see us positive, go at it. Not just hide behind the 2 goals and pray the Naples onslaught doesn’t run us over. Defending is not our strong side, so I hope we go there trying to score and kill them off. But I expect us to sit back again.

Auba was really working hard and he was so tired at Watford and the fact we dropped Laca, means he’s more than likely to start alone up top at Napoli. Such a shame, as I would’ve loved to see us put both our top players on the pitch and be aggressive. In any way, if we get to the semis I’ll take it. In all honesty any sort of away wins, especially Watford, is one I would’ve bitten your hand off if you offered it in advance, it’s just the circumstances make me feel like we should’ve stepped on the gas pedal a bit more.

We never really moved out of 3rd gear. Hopefully it’s all saved up for Thursday. We have 3 more away games, and the way I see it, we’ll need to win at least 2 of them. Couple that with 2 home wins and it should be good enough. It’s in our own hands the top 4 and I hope the team takes it seriously and steps up. First though, it’s the Europa League. We’ve never blown a 2-0 home win in the first leg of a European tie. Hopefully, we can keep this stat rolling.



  1. Considering the line-up in Watford, I think Emery would field the following players for Napoli:

    …Mustafi . Koscielny . Sokratis
    Niles . Torreira . Xhaka . Kolasinac
    ………. Ozil ………Ramsey

    If it’s 3-4-2-1, Napoli just need to use 4-2-3-1 to dominate us like what Everton did

    1. I’d remove Ozil and put aubameyang next to lacazette. 3-4-1-2 with Ramsey behind the strikers. This is an away match and I have a feeling Napoli are gonna be really up for it. They know about our away form and are probably licking their lips thinking we’re gonna hand them the tie. Let them try to stop us from scoring, they’ll be shook for days if we get an away goal. Emery must definitely not go there with a defensive mindset, cause they’ll take us to the cleaners

        1. True that jah son, but I don’t want him there to create. It’s too help laca and auba press from the front and when the forwards pull the defenders Ramsey’s late runs into the box could do damage. He could also drop deeper between xhaka and torreira if we’re being overrun in midfield. Ozil cannot be trusted away from home, maybe in the 2’nd half after we score an away goal we could bring him on, but we’ll need to press hard from the start and push for a goal

      1. I’d like two forwards as well, because we would have two men to prevent Napoli’s GK and defenders from building their attack from the back

        But Aubameyang might be too tired to start. Unless the fresher Nketiah can start upfront alongside Lacazette with Ramsey or Suarez behind them

    2. My gut says Xhaka will not start as just back from injury and two games in 3 days is too risky…

      Therefore same line up as in first game is my pick? Would send out guys to be aggressive and try to score in first half…

  2. It wasn’t a gifted goal. Auba worked for it. He wasn’t even close to the ball when sprinted. He had intention of dispossessing the keeper of the ball to score, and he did.

  3. Our tactics are definitely a wee bit different away from home, but even at home we go with three CB’s or three CM’s (confidence at home is the biggest difference). Emery is trying to instill a certain shape and he is not allowing total freedom in his midfield players, also I noticed the fullbacks don’t overlap as often when away. Iwobi played a little further back than he likes, but that is maybe so he doesn’t stray too far away from fullback esp when he has three men to contend with on his side of wing. I could see Watford waiting for the overlap moves and they had men ready to break down that side, I’m thinking that Emery knows Watford are strong down that flank. Also the Mustafi call is very telling, the fullbacks were under strict orders and so was Iwobi, Mustafi was picked because Mkhit is not strongest at covering the fullback. We had the bench options too, and personally I reckon Emery is happy that he didn’t have to throw them on early and chase everything down from top to bottom. Players like Auba, Xhaka, Ramsey, Torriera, Monreal, for different reasons were going to have signs of fatigue when compared to Watford’s players. Emery might be more justified than people know, about his tactics. It was good that we got to rest Lacazette, you could see the Thu game took it’s toll on some players and I think Lacazette will be more useful now. Torriera came off, and Ozil mostly rested also, Sokratis will be back on Thu. If we had taken to this game in the same manner as Napoli game, I think some of these players would’ve cramped up and it would look worrying. It went well considering if you ask me.

    1. Nice balanced article that recognises the key point is the three points no matter how much we were out fought. I think 10 out of the 11 pick themselves with the only question mark being Ozil, Iwobi or Aubayemang. Although Emery will probably make one move none of us saw coming. Can anyone say Elneny?

    2. Totally agree with you. A good team knows how to win ugly or not. Next game is Napoli and we will that game too. More worried about the Wolves game. I think we can afford to drop a game … There are plenty of youngsters in the academy who can become our Neres. They only need chances.

  4. OT Now that is how to play away from home. Can will buy the whole Ajax team ????????. Just kidding. Even if they lose they have shown they belong with the big boys. I don’t think this first 11 cost 100m. We must start to trust and have faith in our own academy project.

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