I've been away from my system for a while due to power issues, but my heart was never left you. It has been a difficult couple of weeks for me on and off the pitch, so getting back to winning ways in this festive season is the right medicine for the nightmarish performances we've been dropping.
In this Covid induced season that has seen our football plummet to the depth of the abyss and led to the invariable questions that come when you're struggling, we have floundered at the bottom of the table which is weirdly not so far away from the top of the table anyway.
Prior to our last two victories where we scored 4 goals, we had gone 7 games in the league without a victory and scored only 3 goals in that period. It wasn't a case of bad luck, the truth is that we have been absolutely terrible and are paying for it.
One major problem has been our lack of chances in the opposition box and the fact that our pragmatic style actually gives most teams impetus to attack us. When it comes to our lack of creativity, I think the midfield constantly lets the team down with their decision making.
For a while, I've felt that we need a creative player in the mould of Ozil but the management thinks different. Perhaps not Ozil at this point, but you have to admit that we lack a player with an eye for a killer pass in the frontline. In the last two games, we had Emile Smith Rowe picking up spaces in those number 10 pockets and while his ability on the ball is still in development, we seem a lot better in the attack.
Lack of Attack
Another aspect of our attack that improved was the use of Bukayo Saka on the right flank and Martinelli's raw pace and energy on the left. I must admit, I was a tad bit nervous when I saw the lineup in the Chelsea fixture but after a few minutes, I saw the importance of that directness that Nicholas Pepe and Willian don't offer.
In the game against Chelsea, we had more control of the midfield and there was also more forward thrust. The game against Brighton had less energy, perhaps due to fatigue but it was a similar lineup and we had that thrust about our game because of the change in personnel in midfield and on the flanks.
Unlike Pepe who tries too hard to weave through players and seems more interested in getting YouTube compilations than actually working for the team, Saka and Martinelli get the ball and run at the opposition.
What about protection?
At the back, we still have Holding at right centre back and due to Gabriell's absence, Pablo Mari has featured on the left side. Holding still looks susceptible to the odd brain fart and I hope he gets dropped for Gabriell when he returns after his suspension. Mari has looked solid and his passing ability has helped in transitioning from defence to attack.
We conceded a single goal in both fixtures but to be honest, it could have been a lot worst. In the game against Chelsea, Leno had to conjure up some inspirational stuff to stop the penalty and late onslaught, while the game against Brighton was almost destroyed by Holding's brain farts.
Also, the midfield, who seem a lot better, also constantly let the defence down with their positioning. The main culprit in midfield is Elneny, who, despite all his running and stamina simply lacks the football brain to cater to the needs of a top side. We simply cannot rely on the Egyptian as our start in holding midfield and I simply can't wait for Prtey to return.
Generally speaking, there was a marked improvement, since we were able to actually score and win two games on the trot. We still look like a team that can concede and get beaten, so I wouldn't get ahead of myself.
We play West Brom on New years day, and while we're going against a team that looks on their way to the Championship, I won't be surprised if they pulled a surprise on us. It is a season of surprises after all and nothing is promised but alas, we always hope. Until we meet again, up the Arsenal.