Three games in ramblings

Three games in, a defeat in the North London derby and nobody bought on deadline day and the doom and gloom merchants, the pessimists have come out in force. So what if Arsenal bought Ozil, who cares, it doesn't strengthen their weaknesses in defence and defensive midfield does it.

Three games in I wrote an article last year highlighting areas to improve which turned out to be accurate, this season it is a lot more difficult with 6 new regular first team players, possibly 7 if Kaboul or Chiriches cements a place as first choice centre-back. Basically our whole attack and most of our midfield has changed, plus of course our left-back. Where before it was largely players we knew learning a new system now it's players we don't know learning a new system to them.

Bale has gone but you can read about that on a thousand and one other websites so we'll concentrate on what we have. But before I do get away from him just remember what the club have done. They have made contingency plans incase they did lose Bale and then put them into practice. We leave the window behind with a far stronger squad than the one we went into it with, a young squad, deadwood diminished. A healthy situation.

We no longer have to rely on one player so much which in the long run makes us better, as AVB says, time for others to take responsibility. Lamela and Eriksen are two young talents to excite and become new heroes, I'm looking forward to seeing them in action first hand.

Now I wrote an article posted before the Arsenal game in which I mentioned the two areas of concern that could decide the game, Rose and Townsend. So what happened in those areas.

Arsenal scored their winner from our left where Rose was virtually standing at centre-half, don't know why. It is assumed by many that Dawson being slightly behind the defence kept Walcott onside but had he been a yard further forward Walcott would simply have stood a yard further back, received the same pass, made the same cross for Giroud to score the same goal. Walcott had all the time and space in the world to do what he wanted. Positioning is still an aspect of Danny's game that needs work but I'm sure they are working hard on it on the training ground.

On the positive side going forward this was probably Danny's best game for putting the ball into the box. He wasn't hitting the first man, he was putting the ball into areas, areas our midfielders could attack. None of them came off but that doesn't make them bad balls. That aspect of his play showed improvement.

He now knows with Benoit Assou-Ekotto out on loan at QPR and no replacement managed to be brought in that he is now first choice. Mentally he can now settle, he is not playing for his place and that may translate to confident performances, we shall have to wait and see.

What of Andros Townsend. The commentators told us during the game that the players had told Townsend to stop shooting so much and look for a pass, precisely one of the point I have been making about him. Against Dinamo Tiblisi Ferdinand told us he is working on his right foot another area of concern I've highlighted before.

Many of you won't like this but Townsend is a bit of a show pony. All he wants to do is come inside and have a shot without any regard as to what is best for the team. He wants to score. Nothing wrong with that but if your accuracy is poor (18% last season) then that becomes wasteful. Bale incidentally had an accuracy of 44%. That means Townsend only gets 18 shots out of 100 on target, most of which will be saved by the keeper.

Now what else could the side do with 100 plays to score more goals instead of shooting. Turn half of them into telling balls across the box to a finisher we have bought for that purpose is the answer. At the moment we are not providing him with any service at all and to rely solely on Eriksen would be folly. Fortunately we are not doing that. Until he can put decent balls into Soldado having attacked his man on the outside we will struggle if he plays on the right. Lamela will come in immediately for Townsend however. All is not lost for Andros though.

Chadli has got some talent, he needs time and he'll be inconsistent, he'll drift in and out of games I think but he can certainly whip in a telling cross, if we can get the ball to him quick enough and in space. We'll do that by speeding up the play. Townsend will certainly give him some competition for that slot as Andros certainly can cross with his left peg.

Arsenal cut us open several times but we didn't cut them open, how could we playing at 5mph. If you don't stretch the defence playing that slow there are not going to be the gaps to play balls between defenders. Creating chances will then be limited and just bringing in a creative player doesn't solve that on it's own.

To create chances we need width and Eriksen playing to play the passes into the gaps that defence stretching creates. Dembele will be the man to make way for Eriksen I expect, bit tough on him but someone has to miss out in this squad.

We looked exactly as we looked at this stage last season, slow. Just like last season we once again waited until they had 11 men behind the ball before we started to attack, a slow patient attack at that. Our new players, like Capoue, who is now out for a month so thank goodness Sandro is back, have yet to learn our system. The Europa League now becomes a blessing to aid that learning process in match conditions.

Last year we improved when the new players had got used to the way AVB wanted us to play so we can assume the same will happen this season. Our squad has greater talent and greater depth, hopefully it has greater desire and mental strength as well.

I know nothing about Chiriches apart from what I've read, I expect we'll get the chance to see him in Europe to begin with. I don't need to tell you Paulinho is quality, you can all see that for yourselves and hopefully some of you will have leaned that he is not a defensive midfielder but has a lot more up his sleeve.

Norwich City at White Hart Lane on the 14th September is our next game, I'll be there hoping to see a better performance and to see first hand what Lamela and Eriksen have in their locker. Being there gives a totally different perspective than seeing it on TV so Soldado and Paulinho will be interesting to see as well.

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