Three huge positives Arsenal can take away from impressive Standard Liege win

Arsenal can take three huge positives from their comfortable win over Standard Liege

There were many positives Arsenal can take away from the win over Standard Liege in the Europa League last night. However, there were three huge positives, in particular, that stood out.

Arsenal offers a real threat down the flanks

Let’s be honest, when it was Sead Kolasinac and Ainsley Maitland-Niles as the wing-backs confidence was low they would make a difference. That is no longer the case with Kieran Terney and Hector Bellerin back in the line-up. The pair were massive threats, especially Tierney, who was rampant all evening.

Aubameyang and Lacazette long term replacements

Gabriel Martinelli and Bukayo Saka are two of the best and brightest teenagers at the top level in England right now. Both have been putting in scintillating performances and have already shown they are not fazed by the big stage. Both have a nose for goal, are not selfish, are very confident and very positive in their play. The future for Arsenal looks good indeed with these two, who are ideal long term replacements for Aubameyang and Lacazette.

Aaron Ramsey replacement

Joe Willock is growing into his midfield role as each game passes by and he is starting to look very much like a proper box to box midfielder. Arsenal has been looking for a player in the mould of Aaron Ramsey and in Willock, it looks like they have found one.

The one noticeable thing about the three positives I have outlined is that Bellerin apart, they are all very young. The future for Arsenal is certainly looking a golden one.


  1. I think the biggest positive from the match last night and in fact from the Man. U game, is that, when we defend from the front with pressing, we clearly take the pressure off our central defense, and suddenly the CB’s look much better.
    But as you say, there were many, many positives including the ones you mention.

    1. Yeah AndersS, I think Emery fielded the right personnel to do so, they are young and fast, also willing to cover a lot of ground. Btw I enjoyed your article that covered high pressing system.

    2. You are spot on, but what I actually notice is that the boys play pattern is currently beyond Unai Emery’s Invention, because what I’m seeing on display is Wenger-ball (Possessional and Positional Attacking Football) that is being taught the boys in the academy for long periods of time back.
      You have to watch
      Frankfurt vs Arsenal,
      Arsenal vs Forest, and Arsenal vs Standard Liege again, and you will see that the Scintillating Football on display is very very different from Emery-ball being played in The League by The Emery First Team.
      Wenger-ball of the Arsenal-B Team has Played 3 Won 3 with 9 Points, 13 Goals, and has conceded 0 Goal compared to League performances and results that we know.
      Remember that Tierney, Guendouzi,Cebalos,Toreira,Pepe,Martinelli,and Aubameyang are the only Players that doesn’t know much about Wenger-ball, still yet integrate very well with the rest.
      You will recall that Martinez,Belerin, Holding,A.M.N,Willock,Nelson,Saka, are all Arsenal Academy Scholars and Trainee, trained in the Philosophy of Wenger-ball. The likes of Mustafi,Ozil Play for Wenger and knows about Wenger-ball.

      Don’t forget that both B.F.G who is The Head of The Academy and F.Lunberg who is currently The Assistant Manager are both Wenger Boys who played for him, did their Coaching Badges under him, and bought to his Philosophy of How The Beautiful Game should be played.
      Even looking back, you’ll see that it is Wenger-ball that failed in England (not because the Play Pattern or the Philosophy is bad,but because Arsene Wenger and his teams of the time is being hated and Targeted by both The Media and P.G.M.O) The Media because Wenger refused to buy to their Spend, Spend and Spend style they Prefer to youth training and development,on One hand and Shrewd business like system of spotting Talented young players and Bargain scouting on the other, The P.G.M.O because Wenger is the first non British Manager to claim Premier League and even later dominated the Game, He predicted The Invicibles is imminent and it come to pass.It is on records that Wenger-ball is so Beautiful The Legendary Pep Gardiola beg to be part of it’s History, but no space for him, But he later choose Highbury for his Badges (after his Coaching training) Under the Tutelage of Le Professour. It is Wenger-ball PEP took to La Masia Academy and renamed Tiki-taka to complete what Barcelona FC have been trying to do before, (That is copying the system of Wenger) don’t forget They previously bought Marc Overmars,Sylvinho and others at various period, That is How beautiful Wenger-ball are, When Guardiola started building Barcelona’s first team latter, He implemented Wenger-ball Philosophy otherwise called Tiki-taka to the fullest, First by replacing the Star studed Barcelona’s players gradually with Players from The Academy that he had already taught how he thought Football should be played. He sent away Ronaldinho to be replaced permanently by Lionel messi, replaced Etoo fil with Pedro, replaced Yaya Toure with Sergio Busquet. Right from Goal Post to through Midfield to Attack, F.C Barca’s key positions are being manned by Graduates of La Masia (F.C Barcelona’s Academy), From Their Goalkeeper (I forgot his name) to Carles Puyol, Gerrard Pique, Sergio Busquet,Xavi Iniesta, Pedro, Messi and others i couldn’t remember were all Academy Graduates.and they are the players who contributed most to more than Thirteen or Fourteen Trophies PEP won over Three Seasons he spent there, He prefer and believe in promoting from the Academy players who had already know how he wanted them to play and inject them seamlessly, than shelling out big monies for big players with the attendant Ego that will feel too big to take his Instructions, and He achieve unparalleled success with it. f.c.barca so spent on big players then though, but not because PEP needed them,but because at the back of some Success achieve by their immediate winning team of Frank Rijkard, They wanted to show they can flex muscles with Real Madrid F.C (The Galcticos) in spending power, so they bought Thierry Henry David Villa,Zlatan Ibrahimovic and others I can’t remember, but they contributed little to the winning teams of the time,The Spine of the teams are Players Nutured in a certain way of play from the Academy,after Three Seasons when Guardiola sees that core of the teams is becoming tired (because over the same period,Core of F.C Barca’s Spanish players are the spine of the Spanish National team that won back to back Euro Championship and World Cup in between) Spanish Manager has to buy in to the ongoing success of Barcelona fc then to make Spain successful too by adoption of Barca Players And their so called Tiki-taka, From Defence to midfield to Attack, Puyol, Pique, Busquet,Xavi, Iniesta, Pedro, Villa and even Using Fabregas as a false striker in place of Messi who used to play the role for Barcelona,but because Messi is not Spanish, And Spain wanted to play the System in full,They have to adopt another La Masia Academy Graduate But this time an Arsenal FC player,Cesc Fabregas for the role. If you remember, Fabregas learnt Wenger-ball in Highbury where PEP learnt it too before renaming it Tiki-taka. Wenger started experiments of false Striker with Denis Bergkamp thru Nwakwo Kanu,Van Persie, Emmanuel Adebayor, Eduardo da Silva and so on, Fabregas can did it successfully for Spain because it has been taught him by Le Prof.after all the Trophy laden Years for Club and Country, PEP see that His team is becoming weak, he refreshed them with another round of talents from La Masia, Namely Christian Tello, Munir El Hadady,Bojan, Thiago Alcantara Sergi Roberto and some guys in Defence, all from La Masia, If you look at all These early adventures of PEP, you will see Arsene Wenger written all over it, Passing Pressing, Possessional, positional attacking technical football,Passing out from Goal Post, Using false Striker, Promoting Players already trained in these Arts, from the Academy, developing and giving Them chances to become Stars in the first team,are, All are Hallmark of Wenger-ball. Only that This Philosophy that worked very well for PEP in Spain didn’t work so well in England not because The Philosophy is bad but because Physical Football is loved more in England than technical football and particularly because the Orchestrator and even His Players were hated with Passion until it becomes obsession, The League systematically finished career of Their Finest Midfielder of the time, Jack Wilshere with bad Officiating. forgetting He is a British International because he is an Arsenal FC player, The refs will leave those rugby players called footballers to kick Arsenal Players to pieces without caution, And when Arsenal try that, they will be given loads of cards, Their Media accomplice will be saying Arsenal are a dirty team,or be saying you don’t win anything with Kids, It is not a coincidence that Pep Guardiola choose Mikel Arteta another Graduate of Wenger-ball as His Assistant for his Manchester City Adventures, Because apart from being a compatriot, and fellow La Masia Graduate, Arteta Played in England and even played for Arsene Wenger at Arsenal FC and later did His Coaching Badge under Tutelage of Arsene Wenger just like Guardiola himself, He choosed Aterta in order for him to know and used latest Updated Version of Wenger-ball from him for his Next Football Adventure at Manchester City.

  2. What we need to realise is that we shouldn’t draw conclusions for the season from the first few matches or demand the sacking of the manager. We are currently 4th place. Let’s see where we are in January

    Also, it takes some players time to get used to a new team and for a team to gel and play as a team.

    I really think Bellerin, Holding and Tierney will help our defence

    And we have a good attack.

    We still have a shot at Top 4

  3. There are many positives indeed:

    Martinelli: simply impressive, his first touches and movements are excellent
    Nelson: showed glimpses of brilliance, should be more consistent in 90 minutes
    Willock: I think his dribble and ball control are better than Ramsey
    Ceballos: good vision and good work rate, his “twist and turn” is excellent as always
    Torreira: closed down his opponents quickly, put in a lot of effort to recover possesion
    Tierney & Bellerin: their overlaps and crosses are good
    Holding & Mustafi: solid, the latter still lacked concentration
    Martinez: commanding, but not tested last night

    but wait, it should be 11 players… AMN, did he play last night?

  4. We also have Nkeitah who is scoring away at Leeds plus putting in the work to be better. He has a massive fan in Ian Wright, seems to have similar qualities to the man also.

    Holding, Tierney and Bellerin returns is massive to the starting 11. All in their own right leaders on the pitch and super players. The difference (even though against Leige) was on show with these boys on the pitch. If they stay fit and when Saliba comes in next summer we may have a staring back 5 of Leno, Hector, Holding, Saliba and Teirney. Not bad if we get into top4. Mavraponas is there too if he gets over these injuries as I do rare the youngster. Martinez an no2 isnt bad either.

    Next comes Torreira, Willok & Guendouzi in the midfield who again like the rest are young and getting lots of experience atm at the club and we may reap the rewards of that in the coming seasons ahead. AMN is there too but he has went off the radar abit as far as CM is concerned but if he can his head on right again is a baller also in the middle.

    Now up front along with Eddie we have Martinelli, Saka and Nelson, the latter hasnt impressed us yet but is still very young and it’s nice to have such depth in youth & them doing so well at Arsenal. Also well done to Arsenal for giving them a chance, Well Unai anyway even if he hasnt done that great he has given youth a chance.

    If we have to sell the likes of Ozil, Mustafi, Sokratis and Xhaka it wont damage the club whatsoever only when we lose Auba, Dani, Laca or Pepe (hasnt Been great, another Gervinho? We’ll see) it will hurt us but we do things different now and will get money for each of these players to replace them or add to the team where is needed.

    The future is bright, this season is so crucial that we get back into the champions league and start challenging again with this squad in the coming seasons. It’s there but is Unai the man to do it? Again we will see this season what he does as we have a structure now for a manager to thrive in what he is just suppose to do in manage, train and select the squad.

    1. Sensible and very positive comment, well said πŸ‘
      The young players are excellent and I’d like to add last night Emery implemented high press again which is a plus to me.

    2. Not convinced Eddie’s loan move was the best idea- he’s scored a couple of goals in the championship but has played very few minutes and almost entirely off the bench. I canny help but feel that he was too impatient- Emery reportedly wanted him to stay but he insisted in being loaned out. With Laca’s injury would he have got the chance to play in our first team ahead of Saka?

  5. Btw Standard Liege players should watch the replay of a certain midweek game to find consolation lol

  6. Sean you covered all the bases very well indeed.While Martinelli and Tierney were rightly praised for their excellent performances last night I was also very impressed by the continued improvement in young Willock who is developing into a fine box to box midfielder.He is more attacking minded than the talented Guendouzi and his running off the ball is creating so much space for others.Last night’s match could turn out to be a watershed for our season providing Emery does not revert to our more experienced but less talented players in Premier League matches.Unfortunately I suspect the “old gang will be wheeled out to face Bournemouth on Sunday.

    1. Indeed it will. Expect a Xhaka-Guendouzi-Torreira midfield. Maybe Ceballos instead of Torriera. Nonetheless, the balance is still off in that setup. We’ve seen how slowly our play moves with both Xhaka and Guendouzi as our deepest players.

    2. It’s there for Arsenal to shine now. Its up to management team to sort it out or Unai will be gone and there is managers out there who would jump at the chance at Arsenal with the set up now. He is only on a 2year deal, a 3rd year depends on results.

      Champions league back at the Emirates is the ONLY target and good cup runs is possible. If he does that then he can have a go at the UCL with the gunners for his 3rd season. If not then bye and someone else have a go.

  7. With all this positive showing by the young players I think some praise must go to Freddie Ljungberg as it cant be a coincidence that so many players are now showing real promise when promoted into the first team. We always had a few coming through but in recent years prior to Freddie’s arrival we haven’t seen so many with good technical skills, so the coach must be doing something different.

    1. I’m sure he’s definitely been a factor, but he only coached our under 15s and under 23s for a single season each, so not sure we should be giving him all the credit

  8. The scouting system and coaching for young players at Arsenal has been excellent over the last few years, the evidence being the winning performances of Arsenal’s U18’s and U23’s. The first team is starting to bear the fruits through the pressure being applied by these players as they mature.
    There are a number of other gems still waiting in the wings, such as Sam Greenwood, who chose Arsenal over Manchester United and Liverpool among others to come across from Newcastle 3 seasons ago. The future is looking bright, despite the negativity of many on this site.

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