I thoroughly enjoyed yesterday’s match from the first minute to the last. I generally hate evening kick offs on a Saturday because they pretty much ruin any chance of going out in the evening for me given travel home, etc, but if we played like that every week then i’d happily accept any time to go and watch The Arsenal.
We were rampant. A dominant collective of players who looked like they had a point to prove. And the victory was built on a key foundation of movement, dynamism and new players who its quite clear have already integrated into this Arsenal set up. The signing of Aubameyang was a welcome one and thankfully there were no Chinese soccer teams in for him because he’s ours and hopefully we have a positive start from our new striker.
Arsene handed debuts to Mkhitaryan and Aubameyang and switched to an attaching four which included Ozil and the much maligned Iwobi and I thought it worked perfectly against an Everton team who I feared would be strong in defence, compact, lightning quick on the counter with Theo and could cause us a headache.
They didn’t. They got nowhere near an Arsenal team with a point to prove. The first of Ramsey’s three goals were excellent and hopefully gave us a glimpse of what we will be like going forward from now on. A ball in to Auba, a flick to his mate Mkhi, then a perfectly weighted pass into the feet of Aaron Ramsey to put us up within the first few minutes. It was the start of a special performance for Ramsey but it’s hard not to look at the Mkhitaryan performance and say that anybody else should be the focus this morning. I thought the Armenian looked fantastic. His movement, his passing range, popping up in spaces on the right, left, etc, was awesome and suddenly Mesut Ozil – who was also great as usual but had other players providing the creative spark too yesterday – could float around and find pockets where Mkhi wasn’t in.
The second goal was a good old fashioned near post flick from Mustafi – again who was brilliant and made a fine sliding block from Theo in the first half – for Koscielny to nod in at the back post. It was great and whilst we can look at just how shoddy Everton’s defence was, again I prefer to focus on the positive side and say that I think it was more to do with Arsenal’s movement that got us into the positions.
The third was a deflection and the fourth may have been offside, but we were creating chances at will and much like Palace the other week it felt like it could have been six or seven in the first half alone. Auba showed us just what we have bought from an Everton corner and a ball into the channel saw him race clear of the centre half, only to be blocked by Jordan Pickford. He’s got a very interesting running style I have to say. He looks like he’s not breaking sweat but he powers past defenders. As Arsene said in his post match press conference he isn’t exactly 100% physically fit and you could kind of tell that. He scored, was explosive at times, but in the main he was a bit quiet. But hey, debuts are always tough so to see him score is important, because strikers always have that hanging over them when they join a new club.
The only thing yesterday lacked was that Petr Cech clean sheet which feels like it just isn’t going to happen at the moment and certainly I don’t fancy our chances next weekend against that horrible lot down the road. I do wonder if Cech should have brought himself off after he collided with Niasse though, because the way he dived to his right for Calvert-Lewin’s consolation goal felt to me a little laboured. He just didn’t seem to move as well and I suspect had he not been carrying that earlier knock he would have probably have saved that.
Actually there was something else the game lacked: a Nacho Monreal goal. He’s loving cropping up with them at the moment and hit the post yesterday as well as having a great effort blocked on the six yard line. He came off at half time for Kolasinac and one crosses ones fingers in hopes that it was nothing more than precautionary. We are going to need every single one of our best XI fit and firing next weekend when the North London Derby gets in full swing.
I am hoping that what we saw yesterday was there beginning of this new Arsenal era of dynamism. The best Arsene Wenger teams had it but in the last couple of years that has been almost entirely reliant on Ozil, or individual brilliance from Alexis, so it’s pleasing to have that hope that we are seeing the start of something.
So that’s it for me. We can all have a lovely Sunday and enjoy the fact that The Arsenal got back to winning ways. We’ll save the nail-biting that the North London Derby will bring come about Wednesday next week and instead just bask in the glory of another good home performance.
Catch you all tomorrow.