Eight observations from 45 minutes of playing football the Arsenal Way:
- Aubameyang and Mkhitaryan have given Arsenal a blood transfusion. It is great that we, the fans, are glad that Arsenal have reunited this quality couple, but the response of the remaining players to these two top-talents is most important, of course. On the evidence of yesterday’s game, both players are welcomed with open arms and have given the squad an enormous lift. There was just such an overdoses of red and white testosterone on the pitch; the whole team was buzzing.
- Mkhitaryan lightens the load for Mesut. The team will continue to be based around the creative force of Mesut Ozil. But key is of course that we do not become over-dependent on Mesut, as a lack of form or injury would put the team performances in jeopardy. The good news is that with Jack and Henrikh we have players who can also pick assists; and it was of course Mkhitaryan who stole the limelight yesterday with a hat-trick of assists. With two or three on the pitch of Mesut, Jack and Henrikh, opponents will not know how to stop our production of key chances.
- Aaron Ramsey makes a statement. We all know that once Ramsey is up and going he can be a real force. The problem is this takes a while and it’s often interrupted by injury. It seems that Rambo and Henrikh already have developed a brotherly connection on the pitch with the latter finding the Welshman with accurate passes with some ease, leading to two very fine goals. For Ramsey to be a regular starter in the team, he will have to keep performing like he did against the Toffees; and I think it showed that he knows this.
- PEA14 should be a very, very fine addition to the team. His speed in terms of sprints and quick bursts in the box are a joy to watch. He makes intelligent runs and there is an element of unpredictability – but with real shark-like focus – about him, which must be a nightmare for defenders. I want to watch him for a few more games before making judgement, but first signs are very promising.
- The Double DM-pivot remains a work in progress. Ramsey pushed forward a lot and left Xhaka behind for long spells. Because we were so strong in attack and Everton could just not keep up with our attacking ferocity, we did not get punished for our lack of numbers in deeper midfield during the first half. In the second half, when Everton pushed us into our own half for the first twenty-five minutes or so, we looked a lot more vulnerable and disorganised both in midfield and defence. A sterner midfield-battle will await us at Wembley on Saturday; to beat the Spuddies, Arsenal will have to win the midfield battle and to do so the DM-duo will have to play a lot more conservative than they did against the Toffees. I am hoping to see jack and Elneny rather than Xhaka-Rambo again, but Wenger will probably stick with yesterday’s match duo.
- Not every one will like this, Iwobi played one of his best games. He played with Mkhitaryan, Ozil and Aubameyang up-front who are all in their prime. At just 21 years of age, Alex Iwobi took fully part in the dance of the attackers. Yes there were a few iffy moments when he was helping out at the back, but there were also a few very strong interceptions and escapes from very tight spaces. He also produced an assist and one or two great long-balls, which showed both his football intelligence and technical ability. The way he holds on to the ball and dares to go past defenders adds also to our attacking play.
- Obviously, although Iwobi performed well, it does not mean he will get to start every game. There is now a lot of competition for the ex-$anchez position and it is highly likely that Wenger will want to start both PEA and Laca in games. There is also a need to keep finding a position for both Aaron and Jack, depending on who will be first choice in the double-DM pivot. I have no doubt that Wenger was planning to give Laca some time in the team but the injuries to Cech and Nacho prevented him from doing so. Keeping both Laca and Auba happy will be key for the success of the team.
- End of adventurous full-backs? Pushing the FBs forward has been a mayor feature of Arsenal’s tactics. It leaves us vulnerable to counter-attacks but it gives us extra-width, which is often key against the PTB teams. Key is that the FBs get to the by-line and then put in quality balls. I reckon we did not get enough from our FBs in attack this season. With Alex, Mesut and Henrikh playing behind Mr Mobility, there is less need for the FBs to join our attacks as much as before. Both Xhaka and Rambo give further support to the attackers in terms of making clever triangles to get into the box and to the by-line. Early days, but I would not be too unhappy if our FBs would become a bit more conservative from now on (having said that, judging on their performances in the second half, they have to improve their defensive discipline quite a bit anyway).
A great result and big boost to our PL goals tally; if we can do that again against the Spuddies on Saturday, I think we all will get a bit tipsy! 😀
Come On You Rip Roaring Gunners!