We have managed to get another victory – two funny goals of Arsenal B against Leicester B. It wasn’t an easy game but we have prolonged our winning streak for a while.
Now, I may sound a bit picky in the next few paragraphs so inject yourself with patience before reading.
Leno – he did great job again at preventing opponents to score an early opener. He made himself big and blocked Iheanacho. He looked a bit more assured at set-pieces than he was v West Ham. Still, there is an issue Martinez has mentioned once. Apparently, Arteta wants his goalkeepers to use either foot in order to make passing game quicker. Martinez was already into that game but Leno seems to be a bit slower than Emi. We are talking about incredibly small fractions of time but it might make a difference between a successful build-up play and a wasted attack.
Maitland-Niles – he did his job as a real utility man. However, Pepe was not effective enough while AMN was his wing-man. Bellerin is a natural WB with attacking instinct and that helps Pepe to find space for his magic.
Kolašinac – he wasn’t that bad but Tierney has set standards that are too high for my compatriot. Kolašinac would be better off Arsenal and his return to Germany with a possible decent fee on our account would be perfect for all sides involved. His technical and tactical limits make him inadequate for Arteta’s system and endanger the balance of the whole team.
Holding – much as I like the idea of RH16 succeeding at Arsenal, it will depend on Saliba’s adaptation more than anything else. If Saliba hits the ground running, RH16 won’t stay at Arsenal for too long. He has issues when dealing with rather poor opponents and he is supposed to take on arguably one of the best players in the world (Mane) in the last two years. Yes, we have conceded just once in the opening three games.
David Luiz – he was imperious last night. He has grown into a leader of the team. I’m not his biggest fan but he fits into Arteta’s system and right now that’s the most important thing!!! I can’t stress enough how it’s important to have players who fit Arteta’s system rather than high-quality individuals who would disrupt it.
Saka – wow. I can’t believe we have such a mature and talented player. He has every ingredient to become a world-class player. His decisions on the pitch are unreal given his age and there is a technical quality in his game to execute those decisions. He should have been given a penalty in the first half when he was brought down in front of the goal.
Elneny – he has quietly become an important player in the Arteta system. He moves the ball and never stops working. He is a perfect example of an Arteta system player (I’ll call it ASP from now on) – there are players that have more individual quality than him (starting with Ceballos) but are not ASP.
Willock – he had a great pass with a cut through the defensive line so visible you could hurt your finger by simply touching the screen. In general, however, I don’t know what is there that Willock offers rather than being 13th or 14th man in the squad.
Pepe – oh boy. He is really an enigma. He is there yet he is not fully there. There is something about him so exciting yet frustrating that you don’t know if he is some creature built out of strengths and flaws of all Hleb, Rosicky, Fabregas and Nasri. He is one-footed yet his foot is worth of gold. When it works, that is. And that is an issue – Arteta wants this team to have every day as a good day and not just sporadically. How Pepe fits there? I reckon AMN on his side didn’t help him – if Cedric hadn’t been injured, Pepe would have had a more natural wing-man to help him. His corners weren’t as good as they were last season.
Nketiah – he got a goal and was unlucky not to score earlier in the game. I wouldn’t reduce him to a poacher as he presses the back-line and doesn’t stop running until the game is over. Hence his ability to score late goals when we are usually on the receiving end of scoring.
Nelson – he started with a flyer but was unlucky to see his shot parried by Ward. Later on, he had two horrible misses for a player with his shooting technique. He has to take opportunities like the one from the last night with both hands or he’ll get loaned out ad infinitum before he eventually gets sold.
Bellerin – an effective cameo from Hector with a great run through the Leicester defence that put the game in bed.
Ceballos – I like him a lot but I still have a feeling he hasn’t become ASP yet. There is a natural desire in him to play with the ball, do nutmegs, back-heel passes and stuff like that while putting a shift. In theory, that’s perfect. In practice, his dwelling on the ball gives extra-time to the opponents to structure themselves during our attacks.
Willian – he is an experienced winner and his set-piece delivery should be an improvement. We have had a lot of left-footed corner and indirect free-kick takers (Mesut, Xhaka, Pepe) but since Cazorla nobody has done a proper delivery with the right foot.