Nicolas Pepe is like watching through binoculars as an army slowly sails towards your port town, brandishing their weapons. They can’t hurt you right now, but in a few days you know that they are going to f*** you up.
Arsenal beat Chelsea as Sarri and Bellerin both go out on a limb, at Anfield if only Speroni had known it wasn’t goal-bound he might have left it alone he’s now probably quite lonely, Solskjaer shines brighter than a convenience store sign as he makes it 7 out of 7 and finds a settled eleven, and Fulham have a draw snatched out of their hands in the blink of an eye as Winks steals the points for Spurs.
Positionally, however, it feels as if he can’t help but be sacrificed. If Ozil is fit, Mkhitaryan won’t play in his best position – as a #10. Due to the lack of other good wide options, his most-likely role will be on the right, where he’ll be expected to come inside and link up with Ozil and the striker, leaving space for Bellerin to overlap (and put in terrible crosses).
They have made their January moves, made changes where they felt necessary and we now get to see whether or not those changes have made a difference. If they don’t make a difference, there will be some tough decisions to make at the club this coming summer, after missing out on the top four for another season.
With the signing of Aubameyang all but confirmed, we take a look at the tactical ramifications for the shape of the team, and how Arsene Wenger might go about getting all four of his star players into the same side.
He makes good runs, takes up good positions, but his teammates just don’t find him. Maybe he’s too short? They can’t see him? He must be terribly frustrated. Both by his size, and lack of service.
With Diego Costa’s imminent return to the Atletico side, it will be absolutely fascinating to see how the pair combine in a partnership that looks, on paper like it should work brilliantly. Costa the aggressive, sociopath bully ready to drive defenders bonkers, Griezmann the impish magician, darting around him into the spaces the opposition barely registered.
The Gooners’ pride is on the line. Let’s see if they can regain it or else St. Totteringham’s day may be cancelled for a long time to come.
The squad was littered with talent, both established or otherwise, with the Brazilian winger Malcolm and Valentin Vada being particularly fun to watch. Jeremy Menez continued to be an absolute nutcase occasionally capable of magic.
Backup strikers at top clubs these days have to be one – if not a combination of – the following:
Relatively unambitious (Remy).
Too old to expect a first team spot (Drogba) or too young and unestablished (Wilson) to expect a first team spot.
In decline or poor form and thus understanding that they do not merit a first team place (Falcao, Soldado, Van Persie).
Willing and able to play another position in order to get game time (Walcott, Welbeck).