A very modest game which began very brightly on a cool evening at the Emirates stadium and of course with great excitement seeing Thomas Partey starting alongside Ceballos and Xhaka. Arsenal did well to control the game at the start along with a headed goal by Alexandre Lacazette which was unfortunately ruled out for offside with the error strongly due to an assumption that Aubameyang had the final contact with the ball which was not to be as the ball hit the bar to go in.
Very important to note that the linesman raised his flag for offside and there was no follow-up with a VAR check, the goal was unjustly cancelled.
The 2 centrebacks Luiz and Gabriel did quite well sending long range passes over the midfield and for the first half, Leno had little or nothing to do. Our midfield was quite fluid and compact but the organisation was very linear and horizontal and let me more specific with details. Xhaka played from the left, Ceballos from the right and Partey from the middle and Partey had more room to move forward in that structure and the attacking intent of Ceballos was strongly restricted just like in the game against man city – more like a right sided central midfielder.
Gabriel put in another strong showing at the central defence, Luiz as well until he was replaced by Mustafi who did have some fault in the only goal conceded as Jamie Vardy took advantage to score a diving header against the run of play. Also, important to mention the position of Leno was also questionable in the build up to that goal.
Both fullbacks did well going forward and seemed good defensively as well, Tierny with his burst of pace and energy put some good balls forward but there were not converted, Aubameyang and Lacazette guilty of missed chances. Bukayo Saka also had a good game on the left side until he also picked up an injury and had to be replaced. Partey had a good game which was very modest and quiet generally. Nketiah came on and barely had any chances of his own upfront. Aubameyang had a quiet game by all standards. Pepe came on as a substitute to play on the left wing, he seemed non-existent in the few mins he played.
It was the very first time we saw that midfield trio, but more attacking responsibility would be necessary from Ceballos to create more chances from midfield. He needs to be relieved from defensive duties, he still chases the ball but he needs to be on the ball more in the opponents side of the pitch to show his best qualities, same goes for Kieran Tierney who has been utilised as the central defender on the left side of a back three which restricts him from going forward. It is noteworthy to mention that the only time in the game when Tierney went forward in the last FA CUP final, in that moment he sent a perfect lofty pass to assist Aubameyang winning goal.
The season is still very early and we understand a lot of tactical twitching and grooming is taking place. As a team, there is a massive improvement and plenty of promise in a season still a long way ahead of us. It was a good game despite the result, credit to Lecesiter FC and the supersub scorer Jamie Vardy. See you next game