I thought Emery had to do a ton of juggling he really did not want to last season, with the main disruption being the loss of Bellerin and Holding just at the point they were showing true development and giving the defence decent stability, writes Martin H.
Think that had a much bigger impact than many really understood given all the work in pre-season and the on the job learning of early part of the season.
From that point on everything was makeshift, formations changing to hide some of the remaining players weaknesses.
This is Chambers opportunity to emerge, he has had his apprenticeship.
Very happy to get Luiz. He might have a moment in him that’s hard to understand, but he has also at times been gladiatorial, inspirational and a match winner. Somewhere in between is a player comfortable on the ball in starting attacks and decent most of the time defending and he fits in well with Saliba joining the group next season to complement Holding and Chambers.
Luiz obviously has personality and is a winner and that’s a nice injection into the squad both in talent and in team spirit and so it’s only a positive move for me.
With regards Koscielny, it is a positive sign the club have not bent on his demands, as you imagine in the past regime his whims would have been succumbed to and he would have secured a lucrative two year extension – he has some chronic injuries, he is definitely on the downside of career and at Premiership pace he will not be a consistent performer.
He has been a good servant but let’s be honest in any top tier team he would have been the perfect number 2 CH next to a more dominant number 1, much like Kolo Toure was a great partner to Sol Campbell, using his mobility to get around anything that broke from the disruption the number 1 caused. Unfortunately Koscielny has never had a partner of that stature and not being the most physical of centre halves his weaknesses were sometimes exposed. Good player, best of anything we have had since the likes of Campbell, Toure and Keown moved on, but that fact is one of reasons we dropped down from true title challengers to top 4-6 contenders.
So it’s a good thing, it will make Arsenal act in that position and it shows the different attitude to the playing staff that’s been a long time coming.
From what I’ve seen of Tierney, he has the type of game we want from our fullbacks and let’s hope he comes in along with another centre half and that at turn of year Holding and Bellerin bolster the ranks.
With the young talent coming through and the signing of Pepe we should be good to go, going forward with the Spurs game at home as the blueprint to how Emery wants to play, full backs getting forward, Torriera dropping in between centre halves as they split and press, press, press, with pace to burn on the transition. You need a fully fit squad to maintain that though and depth in all positions and it was purely attrition that derailed the last month of the season.
Guendouzi was a prime example of that, arguably at times the best player out there in first half of season, was running in treacle in last couple of months. More youth, and strength needed which is at least three more transfer windows to shift a few more and bring in better equipped replacements for that style.
Think City will fly clear, but expect Liverpool to drop off a level and come back into pack and everyone else on a bit of a par – dare say it, but Spurs should be the pick of that bunch as squad and style is completely stable but I said that last season and they dropped off.
Myles and I both said Emery needed three seasons, and not changed that thought, the transfer prices mean you cannot make wholesale changes when one just decent player is £40-£60m and the elite (or not so in Maguire’s case) push £80m. Wenger left the cupboard bare and it was a rebuild and still is, but management behind scenes seem to be making more calculated and decisive decisions and are from what seen going to be much firmer on player decisions after the Ozil and Ramsey farce.
Hoping Ozil has a great season this year, he has more legs around him and runners!! and nobody is better at finding a runner than Ozil. When everything is static Ozil is redundant, when team is on the move he opens doors – comeback player of 2019/20? We shall see.
Like the balance of youth in team now, think there be more heart in the side also, so as much as think talent level and overall depth will be exposed at times I also expect Arsenal to be a team on front foot and playing some really entertaining and winning football. Fifth becomes fourth this season and though it is not a trophy it is a next step to being true contenders again. (for 17 years I was told it was not a trophy!).
Finally onto Myles, most realised he was not an Arsenal fan and thought he had some Wenger Agenda, but time has proven him correct and with his own writing style and thoughts brought a great place to debate football that happened to centre on Arsenal and I thank him for all the articles he wrote and for sometimes allowing me to openly muse about my Arsenal (First stepped onto the terraces as young lad in 1972).
As a spectacle the game at weekend was not one, but enjoyed it immensely as the performance was controlled, with younger players showing worth and making loss of Iwobi not noticeable and the 1-0 just seemed to be coming all second half. The squad is definitely turning around, a much better balance of youth, power and experience and I expect Arsenal to grow through the season as a force.
Onwards it is then, refreshed from the football sabbatical and really looking forward to the season and then how VAR affects the Premiership this season (let’s see and for another conversation).