Costa Skinny-Latted by Koz and Mustafi, Alexis the CF Beast, Home-Grown Iwobi Arrives: 8 Positives Arsenal v Chelsea

Sometimes you need a bit of time after such an Arsenal performance: to let all the goodness stew and sink in. It is fair to say that the game only really lasted 45 minutes. The Chavs were hoping Arsenal would not push on and spare them in the second half, and we did. I have a strong feeling Wenger told the troops to show mercy for Conte’s men at half time, but this would have been very different if the original gatherer of yesterday’s first Chelsea 11 was still managing that team. For that Arsene  has to wait a couple of months. 🙂

Theo Walcott scores

Arsenal outclassed Chelsea in every department. We had more energy, better healthy aggression, better running, better passing, better tempo, better creativity, better chances and better finishing. The only area I was less happy about, and on another day it could have cost us at least a goal, was the cover for our left back: either Santi or Iwobi left Monreal dangerously exposed on more than one occasion in the first half. I guess that is why Wenger called the first half performance ‘near perfect’…

There are so many positives to take from the game, but the one that matters most is that we played as a team; in fact, we played as an all conquering machine. From defence to midfield to attack, we almost always were in control through our collective, fully integrated approach to playing football.

Key in this all was the way we pressed the Chavs and never let them settle. We had already witnessed eight days ago what high and vigorous pressing of Conte’s men can do them, when Pool destroyed them in just 45 minutes at the Bridge. We did exactly the same. They might have a few fast attackers, but as a team they lack energy and tempo, and they do not have the sort of quality players anymore who can dominate proceedings on their terms. Those days are over.

Key was also our dynamic, hungry yet disciplined CB duo, the fire in Coquelin’s belly and the creativity of the likes of Santi, Mesut and the superb Iwobi. Add to that the energy of the full backs, Theo and CF monster Alexis and you have our team summarised in a nutshell.

Eight Positives from  a great win at THOF:

  1. The unpredictability of our attacking football: we were so dynamic yesterday and once again we spread the goals and assists. The Chelsea defence just did not know who to concentrate on to eliminate our danger. The first goal was the result of a clever, never-give-up hunt down by Alexis on the sorry Cahill. After that he had to chip the keeper which Alexis did with great composure. The second one was orgasmic and I am sure not to have been the only one who made the accompanying sighs of pleasure when the goal was being created by the slick and sexy moves of Ozil, Iwobi, Bellerin and Theo. The third was also very sexy and really good to see that Ozil was fed by the unselfish Alexis to score his second PL goal this season.
  2. Arsenal have scored 20 goals in all competitions already this season with nine different goal scorers. I have always said that Wenger would like our goal threat to come from a variety of players rather than being over reliant on the one ‘Van Persie’; and we are spreading the goals alright now, based around our Total Football approach to the game!;
  3. It is great to buy a top quality player and see them succeed but it will never surpass the joy of seeing a youngster make it to the big stage. This season it is Iwobi’s turn and boy has he been brilliant until now. Alex fits in so well at this Arsenal team. He has great close ball control and has that rare little bit of extra time when on the ball, and his confidence is growing every week. He had a lovely, well spotted pre-assist for our all important second goal. Iwobi is a team player despite having two ‘I’s’ in his name, and he is currently our king of assists with three already. Go and watch him live if you can, is all I can say;
  4. The partnership between Mustafi and Koz is starting to look very good. Together they dealt really well with pantomime villain Costa who they totally skinny-latted;
  5. I have covered my views re Alexis as our CF on here many a time, but it is good to see how many are now agreeing that he is really lifting this team to another attacking level now. He now has four league goals and one CL goals but he also makes space and opportunities for others, with Theo already netting three league goals and Ozil having two league goals to his name. The whole team was MOTM, but if I had to choose one player it would be Alexis;
  6. The collective chasing and harassing of the Chavs, never allowing them to settle and then getting the job done in just 45 minutes. Class. And Theo’s hunger and discipline stood out yesterday: this is the way to play yourself back into our hearts my friend.
  7. The home support was awesome: it is a good example that if and when we play well and give our all the supporters will follow. It would be great if it worked the other way around sometimes as well, but yesterday the fans did their bit to overcome the much loathed opponent from West London;
  8. Wenger deserves credit for his first team choices and tactics: they were spot on and credit should be given by the entire Gooner community.

There are plenty more positives to add, so please do so.

By TotalArsenal

41 thoughts on “Costa Skinny-Latted by Koz and Mustafi, Alexis the CF Beast, Home-Grown Iwobi Arrives: 8 Positives Arsenal v Chelsea

  • Good writing but constantly referring to them as the Chavs (even if they are), a bit monotonous.

  • Really good review TA! Alexis was my man of the match too. Aside from the Chilean I thought Walcott, Ozil, Mustafi and Koscielny where excellent. Bellerin was much improved defensively and offensively in contrast to his recent outings versus Hull, PSG and the Saints. It’s a bit of a concern the Coquelin went down injured as he has been Arsenal’s best central midfielder so far this season both defensively and with his forward dribbles. Opportunity now for Xhaka to strike up a partnership with the out of sorts Cazorla, who seem to struggle again to make an impact.

  • Good write-up TotalArsenal, the players were faultless, masterclass from all,good energy levels, no loss of concentration.
    Iwobi is really doing wonders and am glad wenger continues to give him the opportunity to continue to shine. He has a great close control, arguably the best close control, with Santi very very good at that too.

    Alexis playing as the striker worked perfectly in this game because Chelsea didn’t exactly park the bus and their defense was in shambles. But we are likely going to struggle with alexis up front against teams that park the bus.
    Alexis playing up front is still a work in progress and will definitely get a lot better as we play more games. Giroud is still very much an important player in this team.
    I hope they continue to play with such energy, precision, directness, hunger, aggression and quality.
    I love this team. Next is Basel, no relaxing, we must play them with all we’ve got, score more goals too, its very important we win the group. Am eyeing the champions league.

  • If Santi is “struggling to make an impact” I sure hope he keeps “struggling” the whole season.
    It is now getting quite clear why Campbell was allowed to go to Portugal…Iwobi and Theo are kicking.

  • TA, thanks for this post, the famed ‘8 Positives’ except that this time I thought you’d make it the Countless Positives..

    Every foot was put right.

    1) The speed of our passing and movement was unplayable. Conte’s passive defensive set up had no answer for it. Mark you, it would have been worse had they tried a proactive defensive style. Our combination speed, I say again, was unplayable.

    2) Iwobi should already be worth about £40 million in the market. He ghosts past players as well as Eden Hazard. He combines with his mates far better than Eden Hazard. Well, defensively about the same as Eden, but then Iwobi is a heap younger. Did I say £40M? I like to err on the conservative side.

    3) Do you know how much Bellerin is now worth in the market? Or le Coq? We’ve got a team of world class players. You are right, I have joined the throngs whose value of a player is based on the player’s monetary value in the market. Poor brilliant Elneny.
    4) Does Peter Cech need any introduction?
    5) I never saw a smile on the faces of Musti and Kos. Men who knew they where on a mission.
    6) Monreal, he only thinks of the team. Modern day Samurai.
    7) Xhaka, so calm so sure. Somehow he is able to create time for himself.
    8) Santi, the brain box, the centre that holds all together.
    9) Ozil, the eye of the storm, calm, intelligent.
    10 Theo, (don’t let the FA know about this). Theo is Theo’s Identical twin brother with a totally different attitude. This one is fiery and fearless.
    11) Alexis, the chaos provider, the bee in the defenders bonnets, the smokescreen for the amphibious landing and more.
    12) Xhaka replaced injured Le Coq. Both were awesome. Clearly AKB. I bow to him.

  • TA, brilliant review as always, but i think you should mention more on how Ozil contributed for us for yesterday’s game.

    I know sometimes he has been overshadowed by Santi when both of them are on the same pitch, but what he provides compliments Santi. That is why our performances have picked up this season, and made better by moving Alexis up front.

    Let me clear this up… I have not yet made Alexis my first choice striker due to the availability of Perez and Ollie, whom the latter is still my number 1 choice for most teams, but he is getting me hooked by his never-ending stamina, which is better managed up front rather than on the wings due to the lesser need for tracking back to defend the wings.

    More next time,

  • TA. A very enjoyable read.

    I am very excited about our new CB. He has fitted into the team so quickly and already appears to be a leader.

    Mustafi looks tough and with Coq, Xhaka and Kos we no longer get pushed around. Do we Diego? 😀

  • Very well written T A a most enjoyable read. That said I think you could probably come up with 80 positives from yesterday. Particularly like Big Raddys comment (plus I was a big fan of the original Big Raddy.

    I don’t think I can remember any Arsenal player complaining about any decisions, whereas Costa spent the whole game whinging. Just loved it

  • Nice job TA…but the team made it easy on ya… No reaching for positives this time as they were raining down yesterday… Cheers for enjoying my pithy in-match commentary… 😀

    Skinny Latte as a verb is something with which I’m not familiar. I guess it means taking something tasty and essential (espresso) and adding something nasty to it (skim milk) to make an undrinkable brew… Maybe?…

    Costa did look their best player yesterday but our guys handled him with a resolute quality that meant even a lesser ref (Oliver is a good one, IMO…) would not have mattered. (The late yellow card, however, was a nice touch…) Cesc and Matic lacked the mobility to stretch our defenders out of shape and Hazard and Willian had to choose between wide spots with little real danger and clogging the works. In other words, after all the other positives are described, the defending as a team floats to the top. For me, at least…

    But that’s what happens when you score early and then play for the clean sheet. The third goal even came from just such defending as Chelsea pushed forward and felt the burn of Ozil and Alexis’ running and (very) unselfish passing. Really lovely, I thought. After that, but for the one chance Cech had to save, we were just rock solid with good spacing and several shots blocked at the point. Chelsea are not a bad team of attackers so it was a big step forward for our rearguard, IMO.

    That said, you’re right to note that we were a little iffy down our left side all evening so Iwobi would do well to show that tracking back and hungry for action bit that everybody is loving in Theo. The competition for places people are noting probably will force him to do so. On the ball, near their box, facing their goal or back to it, however, he’s looking very close to a complete attacker. Not bad for a kid of 20 and one who would be valued at a very high number if Arsenal still were a selling club…as Pony Eye describes…

    Similarly, the worry warts shouldn’t be quite so worried (I don’t think…) about Alexis and Ozil (and Bellerin…) seeking greener pastures. Let’s focus on Basel and Burnley and then renegotiate the contracts upwards. The real question is whether or not that includes a new one for the manager… Is he still just a bad result away from needing the sack or is it evident that something good is brewing (i.e., not a skinny latte) and that we might have something we all can enjoy drinking?…

  • Wow. (With no”!”.)

    Because the effort yesterday–
    was what was thought conceptually possible–
    –then actually performed physically.

    When a team realizes its’ potential as Arsenal did on Saturday?
    The requirement on both Wenger and the team going forward–
    is developing the ability to prepare identically–
    to replicate that effort–
    independent of the opponent.

    May yesterday’s effort be the first of many “Wows” from me this season.


  • There was just so much good about us yesterday, I don’t really know what to say. I suppose what is to be said is that it looked like it was never in doubt for the players. They came out like they were going to win, and they kept at it until the end. Hard tackles from Chelsea (on Alexis first, and then Coq) but no one stopped to complain, to kick the ball out even. Just keep playing, and give back in kind.

    This is where I must mention the referee. For far too long, referees have held us to a different standard. We haven’t been allowed to give as good as we get, let alone count on protection. We weren’t ‘soft’, we were just not allowed to be ‘hard’. Some of Mustai’s tackles yesterday were brilliant in how aggressive he was. But I don’t think refs would have allowed them a couple of years ago. Combined with us finally getting penalties, I am hopeful that the worse of the refereeing malaise is behind us.

    Tactically (not that I understand much) I think it has been becoming more apparent that Alexis as CF is becoming better and better, and that this isn’t an accident or something Wenger lucked into. Some suggest Alexis forced this, which makes me laugh at the idea of a player forcing Wenger to do anything. Apparently Van Persie wanted a say in Arsenal’s transfers to which Wenger said cya. But Theo’s resurgence has played a part in this too. As of course, has Iwobi’s rise and rise. So what? Doesn’t every player need others around him, and isn’t that what a system is? And with Ox and Lucas, plus perhaps later in the season, Akpom, Jeff, and Welbeck, we have some options. As also Giroud (and Sanogo) to change things up.

    Which reminds me. Much as I wanted Alexis to be substituted by Lucas, I think playing Giroud was smart. The team has adjusted to Alexis now, but it is important that they not forget how to link up with Giroud (and vice versa) In case of Xhaka, he hasn’t really even played with Giroud yet (though he loves him it seems) That variety will be really important. The fact that we could do a bit of ‘experimentation’ in a game against Chelsea, as well as adapt to a mid-game tactical switch with minimal fuss (and a great sub in Gibbs) bodes well.

    Further tests await, and injuries, and bad luck will play a part in the season. But Arsenal look hungry and up for a fight. Hopefully more of our fans will start to believe again and back them to do well, especially when things aren’t going exactly as desired. Basel will be interesting. Maybe some rotation. But that’s for another day.Still within the 24 hour limit Wenger put on enjoying this 🙂

  • 17ht’s comment about players seeking pastures anew (greener isn’t possible when you’re at Arsenal 🙂 ) made me remember that I wanted to point out. Ozil’s little side step,and then no look pass, as well as his willingness to run hard looking for the pass from Alexis a couple of times. It just seems like he’s enjoying his football. Which honestly, is a part which when talking about football afficionados, let alone geniuses, is probably a very important part of where they choose to play.

    While there’s always a chance a player looks to move, I wouldn’t worry about that right now. For one, Arsenal are no longer in a weak position and even the likes of Barcelona won’t find it easy to buy a player off of us. Not everybody is a rat like our former captain playing for our opponents yesterday (and putting in a sly niggly tackle late on Coquelin early in the game) Hopefully though, we’ll have Ozil and alexis’ contracts tied up before the January window to avoid all the annoying speculation.

  • Its lovely reading all the great analysis and commentary, cant wait till have time to actually watch the game!!! I just wonder where the Welsh Pele will fit in with all these players doing so well and thats before we consider Jack the lad’s return. I quite liked what I saw from Ramsey in the Euros playing in a similar position to Griezman.

  • On Theo Walcott. I thought it might be better for all parties if he were to leave this summer. At the same time, I did mention that he is coming back from a knee ligament injury, and those are very difficult to come back straightaway from. Not least when your speed and running is your best asset. He looks fitter and stronger now, and his performances are much better.

    Hopefully, he can continue playing like this and getting better, making me really really really wrong about wanting to sell him.

  • Waldo, interesting observation about Santi. I would have to watch the game again to see how much of an impact he had on the game. I don’t think he was involved in a lot of the key moments, but his presence and passing are of course important too.

  • Yes Steve, Giroud will play an important role this season, but possibly as our supersub. Ollie is made of stern stuff and will work hard to get himself back into the team, so all good for the team.

    Crispen, I still would have kept Campbell and let Ox go (on loan at least) but for some reason the boss never warmed to Joel.

  • PE, as always lovely comment. Alexis the Chaos Provider is a great description of his new role. Defenders, just like police officers and bank managers, hate chaos; it is when things get out of hand. And they did yesterday and we got our hands on the bounty! 🙂

  • 84, yes Mesut deserves mentioning for a brilliant and passionate performance. Both Ozil and Alexis are playing now to make the whole team play better together, and both Cazorla and Iwobi did also contribute tremendously to our creativity and decisiveness on the pitch.

  • Agreed BR, we have enough toughness in the team to deal with more aggressive approaches. I would like to add Monreal and Iwobi too: both showed strong physicality throughout the match.

  • The link above was posted by Shard on another blog and I just had to copy it here. I was listening to this piece of music this week and thought it was so dolce vita… to then see it combined with how Koz and Mustafi skinny lated Costa on this fab video had tears of joy running down my cheeks. A WORK OF BEAUTY! 🙂

  • Yes 17th, Koz and Mustafi weakened triple espresso Costa to a frothy and milky, decaffeinated, skinny latte. Well they basically skinned him yesterday. 😉

  • And agreed re Cesc and Matic looking sluggish and indecisive. Both did not have their heart in this game and I thought Cesc suffered a bit from playing for the Chavs at the home of football. Matic looks a third of the player he once was when he came to England.

  • Yes, yes Shard: Mustafi’s and Coq’s tackles were those of men showing who will be boss today. Love them!

    Giroud will get himself into the team sooner or later, especially when we start to play important games twice a week properly (mid November onwards). We need the extra fat to see us through the season, and Wenger has invested well in this respect with Mustafi, Holding, Xhaka (and Elneny in January) and Perez.

    The Basel game is a must win as we play them away in our last CL group game and we don’t want to have to rely on a result then to go through to the next round. I expect Wenger to pick his strongest team, which is Saturday’s team with Xhaka to start and maybe a start for Perez instead of Iwobi or Theo.

  • Cheers Makayah, yes fitting in Rambo will be a challenge, but with so many games to come from mid November onwards it is exactly what we want. 🙂

  • Shard, all agreed re Theo. The thing is that Theo is an intelligent lad. He saw where Wenger was going and realised that to survive he had to reclaim the right wing, and so he has. There is also plenty of competition now and if there is one player who gets motivated by the fear of losing his place it is Walcott.

  • His place in the team, and his contract at the club 🙂

    Perhaps that is a bit uncharitable since his track record is blighted by injuries. But it’s funny enough for me to say it (without malice)

    I saw a stat somewhere detailing how his tackling stats are through the roof (compared to his previous best) Apparently he had something like (don’t remember exactly so please check for yourself) 16 over 35 games in 2011/12, and he’s now got 12 in 6 games.

    That speaks of not just hunger and desire, but I think also a maturity and understanding of his role. Maybe you are right in that he’s now committed to the RW role full time in his head, while earlier he always dreamed of being Titi Mk II

  • Yes Shard, he is a calculated character but I reckon Wenger knows how to work him and if he does not perform up to the required standards Perez or in a bit Welbeck, or even Rambo, will take his place. So keep tackling, Theo! 🙂

  • happy to see that Southampton are now picking the rewards for their superior on-field football. They pretty much dominated the Hammers today and we should be glad that we scraped through a late win against them a few weeks ago.

  • I really haven’t got a lot to say .. that hasn’t already been said. But I am sure I can come up with something as I write.

    My only thought at the moment is the progression I see from my comments, starting with the Hull game. My reaction to that was the first half was the display of short accurate passing.
    Then came the ‘Forest Cup game which saw team unity from our second 11, even though only a handful had played with a few others at different times, yet they clicked like no team should.
    I don’t want to think of this Chelsea game as a culmination of what has gone before, because it suggests a peak has been reach. Much better to think of it as a high plateau from which new heights will be reached. The hope that they will go on from here ….

    Virtually everybody who has posted above has said something I can fully agree with. The Guardian article quoted above highlights something I wrote previously about the value of Iwobi as a key component, in a team of many parts. Key to my mind, as he has qualities that will be hard to replace by any other, if you hope to continue at this level.

    The first reaction to that statement will be, ‘no, we have plenty of players who are more experienced, and provide better qualities’. Really? I see no one with the quickness of feet, awareness of those around, and is always looking to play a positive ball. And he is still improving!
    Yes, Perez might be the answer, we have yet to see. Reine-Adelaide is closer, but still has keep progressing. Walcott? Ox? … Ozil? Oh yes he could do all that and more, but he is already a vital cog.

    If we are talking of cogs in the vehicle that is ‘Machine Arsenal’, then any engineer will tell you, once you have got it running well, it is best not to tinker. Changing any one part will have a knock on effect, as each part is interlinked. In such a linked system, no part is superior to another, but replacement parts in some areas can have a lesser effect on the outcome than the ‘key’ parts.
    Bringing that to players, I don’t think many would argue that replacing Cech with Ospina, or even Martinez would have changed the result against Chelsea? Changing Mustafi for Holding or Gabrel? Much bigger question. Alexis for Perez? Walcott for Ox, Ozil for ? Iwobi for? Yes, that’s when it gets tricky. Even the one change that went okay, Coquelin for Xhaka, is one to think about in future. Xhaka Cazorla defensive partnership? Mmmmn.

    Rotation will happen, and we may have a view on it. AW is the one with the tricky decisions to make. Fortunately, we have a team that is brimming with confidence, and will adapt to whoever plays. The second 11 has already shown they are at one with the ‘team’ play. But just don’t expect every opening 45 minutes to be as sexy as the one that has just passed before us.

    p.s. Top post TA 😀

  • Morning Gerry and other readers 😀⚽️

    A good point about the importance of not tweaking the machine too much. Injuries, fatigue and suspension will require regular tweaking, but the key thing is to have more than one player for every part of the machine. Iwobi really fits in well and we have to see who will replace him when required…. Perez, Rambo or Ox I reckon, or Welbeck possibly. Is there an African cup of nations this winter?

  • Nigeria did not qualify for ACN so Iwobi remains available.

    Iwobi is possibly the biggest new thing happening in the Arsenal attack. He can do the triangles, he gives quick accurate intelligent passes, and what really sets him apart is that he is so good running at parked defences with the ball.

    Sanchez twists and turns with the ball causing chaos.
    Walcott is a genius running off the ball.
    Ozil waits patiently for an opening so the ball can run for him.
    Iwobi is able to drive at a parked defence with the ball virtually glued to his foot, making it clumsy for defenders to tackle.

    Iwobi therefore brings an extra dimension to our offensive play. His discrimination is 1st class, knowing instinctively when to pass and move, when to drive at the defence and when to shoot.

    I’d bet that Wenger already sees him as a future #10 or false #9.

  • Wonder if Iwobi would be at this level if he had chosen to play for England (as he did at youth level). The Hype/disappointment bandwagon would be in overdrive. A truly quality player. Unlike English youngsters he has some subtlety to his game. Its not all hero/villain week in week out and as a result will be turning out for an exiting international team with quality youngsters coming through all over the pitch.

  • Nice summary T. It’s much more enjoyable after a match like this, I’m sure.
    Firstly… Call them chavs all you want.
    Did i hear that Iwobi was given motm? For me it was Ozil, Alexis, then the impressive Iwobi. Wait, i almost forgot theo. He was so dangerous all day..and industrious.
    I also thought Iwobi was the reason Joel was loaned, but until saturday, i didnt think his defense was good enough. All it takes is effort, not necessarily skill to help defend. He’s a big kid, so I’d like the coaches to teach him to be more impactful on and defending corners. Especially since he will often be the one playing when Giroud is on the bench.
    Totals Alexis as striker? … i like the way we played, I’m still not sold, but if the wingers keep up defending the way theo and iwobi did, that’s one less concern about the move.
    I did feel that Alexis improved in his movements saturday, and is learning how to go deep and help but still occupy cf more with striker runs too.
    Sad for coquelin, i hope ramsey can return soon.
    One other negative is that we almost blew the clean sheet in a match we clearly dominated. Our high up cbs were split, and cech could have been beaten. I think up 3-0, we should defend smarter, safer. But in general, our cbs and fbs were awesome.

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