Three, because 3-0. Zil, because Ozil. Ilient, because resilient. Quite simply put that was one of the most complete performances we’ve put together in some time.
When we think of our most recent dominant performances and results we think of the 4-1 demolition of Liveprool and the 3-0 destruction of Man United. However there was a considerable difference between the aforementioned results and the Chelsea game this weekend. On those previous occasions Liverpool had some early chances and could well have been up by a goal or two. In the United game we did completely blitz them without much of a fight until Cech was called upon on the stroke of half time to deny Martial. The second half also saw some decent chances fall United’s way alongside some for ourselves, but we didn’t have it completely our own way.
The performance against Chelsea was quite different. We started positively and were rewarded for our early pressing with goal from Alexis Sanchez. What on earth was Cahill doing? It looked as though he had bags of time but he was made to look silly by our Chilean maestro. The second soon followed with a slick move involving Ozil, Iwobi, Bellerin and finished by Walcott. Chelsea had one sighter of goal through Willian that was screwed narrowly wide and other than that Cech had absolutely nothing to do or worry about. My only worry throughout the game was Nacho Monreal. He seems to be just about hanging onto his place as not only for Chelsea but for others who we’ve played this season have found much joy down our left hand side. He looks to be beatable when squared up against and that’s a worry as there are a fair few tricky wingers in this league as well as Europe that we’ll come across. It’s been something that has been on my mind for the past few games and I think that Wenger will need to consider rotation here simply because Iwobi’s ability to track back is improving but not one of his strengths. It means our left side is potentially one that teams can exploit. Back to the game. The third goal came from a sublime turn by Ozil to pass the usually imperious Kante. He was left defeated and Ozil combined with Alexis Sanchez to make it 3-0. I was always a little worried that we would in some way let them back into the game, however Koscielny and Mustafi slammed the door shut on any Chelsea advances. It took them until the 84th minute to register their first shot on target. They had one other fairly tame effort but we shut them out with some quite brilliant defending. 3-0 and a happy weekend all round. They key now is to maintain the level we’ve set as a benchmark. The fans will now expect the same endeavour week in week out so let’s hope this continues.
In terms of outstanding performers, there is one that I’m over the moon about. One of the problem areas in my mind going into the season was our wide players. I wasn’t sure that the combination of Theo Walcott, The Ox & Iwobi would be enough having loaned our Campbell and didn’t bring anyone in. The big surprise of the mentioned trio has been Theo Walcott. His work rate has been phenomenal and he has shown some real end product. It’s the first time that I’ve seen him put the team ahead of his personal goals within the game. He always has his head up and is more and more looking for the right option rather than simply to shoot at every opportunity. More than that however he is working like a Trojan down that right hand side. It’s brilliant to watch and a breath of unexpected fresh air. In addition to this, the experiment of playing Alexis Sanchez down the middle is working. We’re able to press higher, be more unpredictable going forward and have a more fluid style of play. The high energy game is suiting the rest of the team and we seem to be more on our toes both defensively as well as in our forward game. The only worry for us from the game is the injury to Coquelin. He could be out for a while as it looks to be a knee problem rather than a muscular one. I hope it isn’t too serious and while the masses are calling for Xhaka to start and I am one of them to an extent, however Wenger has picked a combination that he thinks works best for the team. Xhaka, in fairness, came on and played brilliantly alongside Cazorla for 60 minutes or so. The only trouble with him is that he does get dribbled past more easily than Coquelin does, which is why I think Wenger is waiting for Ramsey to come back so that he can pair him up with Xhaka. What’s interesting is to see whether he goes with Xhaka & Elneny or Xhaka & Cazorla. A nice problem to have.
I think I’ll leave it there simply because I’m too happy to be down about any element of The Arsenal at the moment. It’s been a brilliant weekend and it’s all about enjoying that. Onto Basel in the Champions League – a win there and we further our chances of finishing top of the group.
Oh and both Ozil & Alexis tapped the badge when scoring. Swoon.
Have a wonderful week people.
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