Arsenal 4 – 1 West Ham – Monreal, Ramsey, Lacazette x2
Another strong home win was just what we needed for our next ‘game of the season’ on Thursday. It took the boys a long time to crush the Hammers but in the end they did with style and smiles on their faces. Just what the doctor ordered.
Eight observations from Arsenal v West Ham:
- Aubameyang is a much more versatile player than first assumed (by me at least). As soon as he came on we started to click and find the deadly combinations rather than the cumbersome ones. He seems to have a wonderful balance between being selfish and serving his team mates, and Auba also has a good eye for the best possible pass. That is all about experience and we are going to have lots of fun with him next season.
- Laca proofed once again that if we feed him the ball in the box, ideally with a bit of space, he will score, and score again. We are crying out for better wing players/wing play; Lacazette loves to get the ball from the side rather than fed through the middle… we need to play more to his strength going forward.
- Iwobi struggled to have an Ozilesque influence on the game today, but I reckon he would play a lot better in a combo with Auba and then one of Welbz or Laca, rather than playing with both of them as he did today. Welbeck and Laca are similar players; the former is more athletic and the latter is more deadly when given a chance, but both lack the calm and assist producing qualities of Auba. I am really pleased Iwobi is getting chances to shine in the free creator role but we need to keep reminding ourselves he is really young and nobody is as good as Ozil – and there is no harder role in football of course…
- Ainsley Maitland-Niles did very well to replace the injured Elneny (who was MOTM in the first half). Obviously, he is at the very start of his career and plays with a fearlessness that is based on relatively low expectations (ask Bellerin and Iwobi how things change when expectations start to rise), but you cannot but love his presence and physicality on the pitch as well as his calm decision making.
- Good to see Koz and Nacho back and firing from all cylinders. Koz almost scored and Nacho hammered one in with venom and precision. It was also good to see Mustafi playing again and getting some of his composure and confidence back; playing with his best mate Koz made a big difference for him today.
- Xhaka was once again class. His corners were Ozilesque and his intelligent positioning and crisp and calm passing – making it look so simple at times – were a joy to watch. Very tidy and effective.
- With a goal and an assist, the Welsh Engine, had a great second half and drove our midfield on. He is such a Lampardesque B2B player: runs up and down all day long, good runs into the box and strong shots from outside the box. MOTM. Aaron will be vital on Thursday.
- It was nice to see Arsene relaxed and happy today. The supporters did their part with the OAW song and the players showed him much respect and love by putting in a committed performance and getting a big, albeit slightly flattering win. He looked ten years younger and ready to face dapper Diego Simeone on Thursday.