Arsenal 3 – 1 Leicester City: Arsenal put on the style in the second half to claim their tenth scalp.
Eight initial observations from an important win that puts us in shared third place with our main London rivals:
- I have spoken on here several times about a pattern in Arsenal’s play that I saw repeated again tonight: we invite the opponent into our own half by playing the ball out from the back; the deal is that for the pressure that we invite and the semi-chances we may give away, we get back space in the opponents’ half. In the second half we increase the tempo and after 60 minutes we bring on fresh legs and big guns; soon it is boom boom and the game is won and we can turn on the style. You may not like our tentative starts and the chances we give away, and Emery will surely keep working with his team to get better at safely inviting pressure (in exchange for space) going forward, but I have no doubt that Emery is keen to make us play this way game after game this season. Space is King!
- Ozil the captain had a great game. It was hard to listen to the Sky commentators who clearly have it in for Mesut with their regurgitated, lazy views of our genius, but even they, begrudgingly, had to eat their words towards the end of the game. He loves space and he sees the gaps quicker than most; and there is more feeling in Ozil’s left foot than in the entire Germans’ national team. The Foxes do not have a bad defence but once we increased the tempo and brought on Auba, Mesut came into his game properly as he carved open the defence with the finest through balls and seemingly at will. Ozil scored of course an important goal in the first half, but it was his second half masterclass of maximising on space and movement that made all the difference. We are so lucky to have him for the next 3.5 years in the mighty red and white shirt.
- Auba needed two minutes for his first goal and three more minutes for his second goal. I would have taken him off and rest him after that. Job done Mr Supersub; our supersonic special weapon cracked open the walls again. If Auba continues like this he will break the record for minutes between goals this season.
- The MOTM has to go to Ozil but Bellerin was a very close second. He made excellent attacking runs all night and his reading of the situation ahead of him has improved immensely, as has his ability to put in deadly crosses and passes. That was one of Hector’s best games until now.
- Xhaka and Torreira had a great game: the heartbeat of the team. These boys work hard and do a lot of dirty work all game long. They are the swan’s under carriage and make the team shine….
- But behind them we have another couple of hard working players – Holding and Mustafi – who also enable to rest of the team to shine. Add Leno to these four players and you have the hard base of the team. They all worked their socks off for us and I flipping love them.
- It was weird how all of a sudden this game was over. It really was boom boom 3-1 and Leicester became scared of a thumping. We saw out the game with defensive discipline and healthy aggression. We could/should have scored a couple more goals but it was not to be. And that brings me to Lacazette: what a worker and a key, key player for Emery’s ‘let’s knacker them out in the first 60 minutes and then pounce on them’ strategy. My Man of the Season so far.
- The last one goes to the Nigerian Dynamo who is also really important in knackering out the opposition’s defence: Alex Iwobi. He carries the ball forward really well and takes on defenders to force himself into space. The throughball he produced for Mesut that let to Laca’s missing of an unbelievable sitter was of Bergkampesque beauty. Iwobi is definitely the most improved Arsenal player this season!