Post-Match Review: Arsenal vs Nottingham Forest (H) - Premier League is Back
Premier League is back for Arsenal, riding on a high from the Community Shield and a positive Pre-season; now, I wouldn’t say it was a successful pre-season cause it was more experimental, and we did fine from that point of view. This is great, leading us to Wembley and walking out with our first silverware of the Season; on top of that, Mikel got the best of Pep when it mattered. God, that feels good to say. I hope we repeat it for the rest of our tenure under Arteta. We matched fair with the Man City side at Wembley, and our never to die walk of life got us through. Though it makes for great matches, I just want us to walk out with victories without any heart attacks; I would much rather take a similar outcome from the performance of Liverpool at Anfield vs United last year, winning 7-0.
Having said that, it was an expectation from Arsenal a match against Forest should have been a straightforward victory. We knew how Forest would play; low-block, make it difficult for our guys to attack and hope they would get us on the counter. They did respond to our 2-nil lead. We had two sensational goals netted for us by Eddie, assisted by Martinelli, and a solo goal by Saka, which would be really important for us to see through and get 3 points.
After all that strengthening of the squad this summer and a fantastic debut by Kai, Timber and Rice, we were all set to make Emirates our fortress again; there was a tactical shift by Arteta featuring Partey on RB playing inverted moving into midfield similar to Zinchenko. I am not so tactically sound, so I won’t comment much on the strategy, and frankly, while I am learning, I want to emphasize that I TrustTheProcess and believe Arteta to lead us to victory.
Our first game of the Season saw us face our now ex-goalkeeper, recently departed Matt Turner; I think a debut match in the Premier League against the side who battled for the title last season and finished 2nd is not bad; he had an excellent performance overall and saw plenty of action. His departure comes after Arsenal decided to sign David Raya on loan from Brentford. He was officially announced as an Arsenal player recently and is integrated well into the team and club.
While Turner had a lot to do, so did we. It took us a while to get going from kick-off. After 20 mins from when the whistle was blown, Arsenal was able to see their first breakthrough, a Goal from Eddie Nketiah in the 26th minute of the game, on a follow-through assist from Gabriel Martinelli, who was a GOD on his feet; he dribbled past beautifully between two Forest defenders which allowed Eddie to carry the ball and make space and score a lovely Goal.
A few minutes later, we see Saka score a screamer with his Left Foot, Starboy; that’s all I can say. While these are not the only Shot on Target, there were other attempts well defended by Matt and one missed opportunity from Rice landing straight at his hands. It was a great effort from Rice; if the shot had connected, he would have scored his first for Arsenal at home at Emirates. Overall it was a great effort by Rice and others, and likewise for Matt, and we wish him Good Luck for the future with Forest. May he carry the values of Arsenal with him forever. Once a Gunner, always a Gunner.
While the first half saw Arsenal dominate the stats, it took a while to click and get going; also, because it's a new season and new players, everyone trying to figure out their roles and routine, I am sure with time, Arteta will transform this Team into A Championship Winning Team, as coach Lasso Says “Believe.”
While we dominated the first half, the second half saw us loosening up too much. Instead of playing with command and control in our passing, we saw us come under pressure; Gabriel hadn’t started the game and was later brought on for Martinelli, Trossard for Nketiah. Another one of our substitutions was Tomiyasu, replacing the sadly injured debutant Timber. The second half saw us slip up a few too much, and Forest got us on the counter. In the 82nd minute of the game, we saw Taiwo Awoniyi score for Forest. They had an opportunity to score in the first half, but it was a missed opportunity by Forest’s player Johnson.
Towards the end of the first half, during the 3 mins of added time, we saw Timber go to the ground and hit his knee. He was sidelined and taken off the pitch in the last few seconds. We saw him struggle when he came back on; the whistle blew, and it was half-time. As the second half kicked off. A few mins into 2nd half, the ball was passed to Timber, and we saw him limp and go down. He was then substituted for Tomiyasu. At the writing of this article, there has been an official communication from the club about Timber that he has a knee injury(ACL), and they are preparing for the best course of action in the days to come and will update once decided. So that is definitely a blow to us and sad news, there are lots to talk about his performance a little later, but regarding his injury, it seems to be a painful blow for us as Zinny is still out. Hopefully, he returns, if not for the Palace game but for our 3rd game. We hope and pray that Timber and Zinny are fit and back into the squad. Timber was brilliant, hardworking and composed. A great player in the making.
He is a phenomenal player. What he couldn’t show at Chelsea, he will bring out his best at Arsenal. He is an intelligent player; again, all our debutants are hardworking, and he, like Jesus, can intercept opponents well. I think we would see the real Kai Havertz in the matches to come as Arteta, and he figures out a system where he is beneficial. But make no mistake, fellow Gooners, we have a very competent and robust player amongst our ranks who can be cutthroat and lethal once unleashed.
What a fantastic player, he can be so versatile, and the way he slotted in and was comfortable playing whatever role was expected out of him, he has a tremendous work rate; you could see him close down players, defend, attack, play the Arteta ball well, disappointing with his injury but nevertheless he’ll shine again once he is back.
There were times when I would see the rival team players carry the ball during the counter, and no one would be able to chase them down; with Rice coming into our team, I don’t panic anymore, you could see him run down the pitch, almost box-to-box brilliant, and he has brought in a very positive mindset shift into the great team.
Again I am not great at judging these players. I write only what I feel about them. Well, I just pray those injured get all right soon, and no one else gets hurt.
While the Season has just begun, we are indeed building up from where we left off last season. The win against City at Wembley is a morale booster and an excellent testament. I think everyone at the club, fans, pundits, and everyone alike knows Arsenal is the rising tide, and we will become ruthless sooner or later. That day, we will rewrite the history books again, and for that to happen, we need to be consistent, take it game by game but now focus more on being clinical. What I hadn’t mentioned at the start, and by now, you guys would be aware that the kick-off was moved ahead by 30 mins as an issue at the stadium that impacted the player's routine and caused disruption. And then, the next day, I would read and hear about this causing a disturbance in pregame routine and whatnot, but I believe. At the same time, it does impact; that’s where lies the most significant challenge and advantage, flip the game and charge attack with confidence and consistency. For us to win, we need, as individual players and fans, to TrustTheProcess, remain calm and, most importantly, come together, remember it is still a game and a long season.
With that, I end up happy to be back, writing, expressing, and growing.
Until Next Time | Up The Arsenal
Live Long & Prosper🖖