Smith Rowe and Our Nigerian Cockney Impress Again, Holding/Sokrates/Leno Solid: Qarabag 0 – 3 Arsenal.

Qarabag 0 – 3 The Mighty Arsenal – 8th win in a row!

Difficult for me to give a balanced view of the game as my granddaughter was demanding my constant attention, but from the bits that I saw, I thought that we defended quite well, getting in some crucial challenges at dangerous moments.
Quarabag were a tricky side, who loved a shirt tug and a bit of simulation but they aren’t totally without some skill and will give Sporting a tough time when the Portuguese visit Azerbaijan.

Holding made some impressive interceptions, his understanding with Sokratis is developing nicely. I like Lichtsteiner, he’s a bit of a bastard and that’s good, but he needs to play more at his age to improve his level and as that’s unlikely he’s always going to look laboured at times.

You can see how regular football has benefitted Holding. Kolasinac is a bit of a worry to me, he’s great going forward but as a defender I’m just not sure, but we need him so it is what it is.

Leno was great for me, if he made any mistakes, I must have missed them as I was having a wrestling match with my granddaughter, what I saw of him was encouraging, not least his competence with the ball at his feet and how relaxed our defenders were in those situations with him starting things off.

Great to see Emery experiment with a back three, I’m not sure it worked but credit to him for being flexible. Monreal did ok, but I prefer him at left back now, I hope he’ll be ok for Fulham this weekend?

Elneny and Guendouzi had a mixed bag of an evening, both doing some great things and not so great things; delighted to see Guendouzi score and didn’t he tuck it away with panache, right in the corner of the net, very impressive finishing.

Alex Iwobi is in danger of developing into a player who Emery cannot omit from the side, another swashbuckling performance from our Nigerian Cockney, all he needs is a few goals to ice the cake.

Emile S Rowe impressed again, becoming our 2nd youngest ever goalscorer in european competition and didn’t he finish it well after good work by that proper geezer Iwobi.

Oh Danny boy, why oh why couldn’t you just stroke home that late chance, after a grafting 90 minutes it would have been what you deserved, but you had your rugby boots on tonight – shame.

Nice cameo from Lacazette, setting up Guendouzi and using his expertise in taking the sting out of the game late on. Torrieira was steady and brought a modicum of security to a midfield that was a bit too open for me at times, but this is the Arsenal of today, never a dull moment.

By Allezkev

15 thoughts on “Smith Rowe and Our Nigerian Cockney Impress Again, Holding/Sokrates/Leno Solid: Qarabag 0 – 3 Arsenal.

  • Thanks Kev for your observations. Sounds like your granddaughter is full of fun and life for you! I wasn’t able to watch the game…. my local preferred to show the Celtic lot, so I will have to wait till the game is on at Great to see three players losing their red and white virginity and for Smith Rowe to score his very first professional goal at such a young age…. Born in 2000! I saw Guendouzi’s goal and I agree he took it with panache. He made space for himself and sorted out his feet to sweep it away sweetly into the keeper’s right corner. Iwobi is now playing with belief and thrust and agreed he is hard to leave out at the moment as we need that extra bit of danger coming from the wings. Once I have watched the game I will get back to you. 🙂

  • Kev, ….. am yet to watch the game but going by how I know your observations are always so beautifully balanced, after reading your post I have a pretty good idea of how it went. Many thanks.

  • You’re always welcome Total, glad you enjoyed it.

    Hey PE, thanks mate, I’m really enjoying our football, warts and all.

  • Good observations Kev. We are good enough to withstand attacks and it seems like we have found the point between good defense and good attack.

    Gonna see the repeat of the game tonight. Looked tough for us but we did well to weather through the game.

  • I remembered Sporting play Qarabag in their first UEL group match and they kept a clean sheet en route to a 2-0 win. The deciding match is against Sporting and it is fun to see what Emery will come up with against them.

  • Nice reporting, Kev, for one who was so “distracted” by a grandchild (bless her). I didn’t see the game for reasons already mentioned in a previous thread. I’ve seen highlights and jw1’s live blog posts, which all helps to paint an idea of how it went down.

    Always nice to win so well but from what I gleaned, that scoreline flattered us given th chances the hosts had. Not sure if it’s such a bad thing to win when the opposition make it hard and in a round robin tournament, that’s what counts, taking your chances.

    I had looked forward to the trio of Sokratis, Guendouzi and Torreira scoring in the game against Everton because, until that game, we’d had 7 different players score for us in the league and were on course to matching the record of 10 different players (at the start of a season) scoring in consecutive games, achieved by Chelsea. It would have been impressive too because we would have done it in 6 games. Well, at least, they’ve broken their ducks, and that now leaves only Torreira and Lichesteiner who are the new boys yet to score for us.

  • Nice idea, TA, moving Kev’s observations from the wrestling mat into a post…and, IMO, he didn’t miss much…so, I don’t have a lot to add, but, I’ll try… 😉

    How much can we complain when we rotate in a few guys (resting some others), try out a new formation, get another clean sheet AND add a few more goals, including a couple from a pair of teenagers who look like they’re not so out of place (at all) in the group? Not too much… We seem to be playing in an aggressive, almost devil-may-care, spirit. And, best of all, the results suggest that it’s working…

    On the other hand…

    This seems barely like Arsenal football and we must admit that (vs a team of unrecognizable players from the fringes of Eurasian football) we’re full of giveaways, ample space for bamboozling balls over our defenders and heavy reliance upon our superior quality at the business end(s) of the pitch. Switch goal-keepers last night and the result might be 3 nil the other way… How many chances did we make? Not too many but most of them went in. Qarabag made several, but somehow we kept them out.

    It’s always good to go ahead early and it was four defensively minded guys who combined to make it happen. (This is foreshadowing for commentary about our actual, er, defending, for want of a more descriptive word…) Kolasinac spectacularly barged his way into the box to win a corner. It was taken short but we got another and my avatar guy (Elneny) delivered a beauty. Nacho read it correctly and headed down towards goal where Sokratis was in the right place at the right time.

    It’s good to have a lead…Especially if our deeper mids (Guendouzi and Elneny) are all about delivery (and a whole lot less about protecting the ball or defending once they lose it). Where Nacho can read a high ball, his would-be replacement, Kola, cannot, but, Sok is a presence in the box and does good work clogging spaces (and directing his mates) just enough for the Qarabag attackers to not quite take their chances. Almost all their best work came down our left side, it must be noted. I can’t quite tell if it was better or worse when we had two LBs on the pitch or just the one…

    The half-time switch (Nacho out, LT11 in) and the move to a 4 man back line didn’t yield immediate improvement. Leno did his best work in that period and capped it by going Route One for the 2nd goal. ESR, who might’ve scored earlier had he anticipated an excellent cross from Kola, did not miss when too-strong-to-stop (without a shirt grab) Iwobi put him in. Well done and game over. Later, Guendouzi took his goal very well, but a lot of our better looking work was down to greater normality of attack (ball retention, better running and passing to break down a spirited but tiring opponent) led by the subs. Ozil, in an open match, actually made it appear that we had a midfield(!) His box to box movement was anchored by Torreira behind and Laca (plus DW) up front allowing the kids (ESR and the Curly one) to fill the spaces. There’s no doubt that we ended the match on the front foot.

    Nice, but it’d be even nicer to get there earlier, and I wonder why we couldn’t appear more settled and in charge after the early goal. The long travel and short turnaround suggest a(nother) difficult match at Fulham and one that could go either way. Maybe with a bit more experience in the line-up from the get-go (i.e., Xhaka, Ozil, Torriera, I’m guessing, will start in the MF positions, maybe Mkhi too and what about running-da-ting-down Rambo?) Captain (last night) Nacho got rested (I pray) because we will need defenders who at least can read the game. (Did Kolasinac actually make Bellerin–in memory at least–look like an adequate defending FB?) Still, my bet is that there will be chances at both ends and that Leno will need to continue his excellent work while Lacazette and others–is Auba really sick?–will need to get their efforts into the Fulham net. No Calum Chambers (for them) is (maybe?) a plus (for us)…

    But I’m getting ahead of myself. Long trip, clean sheet, 3 goals, new (and newly recovered from injury) guys getting minutes (and goals) and no new injuries. Check. As long as we don’t look too closely it’s all very (very) nice…

  • Thanks Seventeenho for keeping us grounded 🙂

    I think most of us know Arsenal are a work in progress and that leaner times are likely to come, but I am glad you also point out and celebrate the positives. I reckon the really good thing is that we all are starting to see our best 11 as well as a good back up plan for most positions.

  • Cheers for reading, TA…and for the link re: Whoa-Check… Lunchtime here and there’s Friday night football. Lucas Perez is just on for West Ham who need a goal at Brighton. Where’s Jack? Cursory research says it’s an (the?) ankle…

    I gotta start napping NOW if I hope to get up for Sunday’s kick-off…

  • Yep well written Kev, the big question is who won the wrestling match? I pretty much agree with most of your comments. To be honest though it wasn’t a great match to watch. But the group stages of the Europa are not that exciting anyway. Loved it when Spurs crashed and burned, the sad news is we will probably have to play them in the Europa later on.
    Be interesting to see how we play against the Cottagers on Sunday.

  • I lost Retsub, I usually do…
    It was a mixed bag and we do seem susceptible to a long ball over the top, still, but we are dealing with it a bit better now I think, despite the panic stations.
    As Eris and 17 tino wrote, it can be a bit uninspiring, but maybe that’s because we need to learn how to defend again and this is the process.
    Seeing Liverpool draw, Tottenham lose, Man Utd draw and both City and Chelsea winning narrowly, we should maybe remain, in the words of Unai, a tad humble, these teams are not as rubbish as we like to think that they are, just because we know nothing about them.

    Before we played Everton and Watford, we were told that we’ll now be in a proper game etc.
    After we beat them it was ‘only’ Everton and Watford, we can’t win even when we win…
    Keep positive….

  • Hi all.. Hi Kev.. Nice post..

    About Kolasinac.. the same with Bellerin I thought.. They are a better WB than FB.. hehehe..

    3-0.. more than I expected.. seeing the game live.. I afraid it will be draw.. But We deserved to win.. hehehe..

    8 in a row.. Tomorrow will be 9.. hehehe..

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