Arteta’s Surprise, a four-legged Mobile Monster, Laca Makes it 50: Arsenal Afterthoughts

Sheffield United 0 – 3 Arsenal

Well that was a lot more fun to watch and the boys did us proud.

Eight initial observations from a much needed win:

Lacazette laat specialiteit op het juiste moment zien
  1. Arteta surprised us all by leaving both fit full backs on the bench and playing Chambers and Xhaka instead. Both did very well and added a lot of physicality to our defence. With Partey in front of them our defence looked solid all game long. Xhaka had quite a fluid role and as always gave structure to our play with some fine passes and good positioning, even when played in an unfamiliar position.
  2. Ceballos played in a sort of ‘ESR role’ and this suits him much better. Whilst a liability on the ball in front of our defence, played behind and around our attackers the Spaniard is much more effective. His assist for Laca’s opener was perfect and he played well between the lines all game long.
  3. Saka, Laca, Pepe and Martinelli were a four-legged mobile monster that made life impossible for the blades: so much movement and clever passing from all of them. All wanted to play football tonight and once the selfishness of a few had been shaken off the team started to purr, resulting in that fabulous first team goal, finished by Laca. It was obvious that Partey loved playing in this formation and with these sort of players: movement, movement, movement is everything.
  4. Martinelli had a great first game which he crowned with a well deserved goal. It was good to see him back and enjoy himself on the pitch with the other lads. Saka clearly loves to play with him and the young Brazilian is actually a similar type to Laca in terms of attacking style. Pepe is the least comfortable with the ball in tight spaces of all our attackers but he made the all important second goal. He often frustrates me but the longer Pepe is on the pitch the better he gets, as long as there are plenty of good passers and movers around him.
  5. There were some top highlights in this game. I already mentioned the quality first goal involving a number of Arsenal players, and then there was Partey’s slick move in midfield in which in a fraction of a second he switched himself from facing our goal to facing the Blades’ one and then picking the pass of the night for Laca. The ball was so good that Laca could just pick his corner and whip it in brilliantly for our third goal. What a goal!
  6. Mari and Holding had not much to do in defence but what they had to do they did with coolness. Mari especially put some nice balls over the top, and both tried to join the attack whenever they could. Chambers managed to get to the byline a few times and whipped a couple of fine crosses into the box, and we could all see he was enjoying himself.
  7. Laca was of course the MOTM with his two fine goals and general attacking play – that is 50 PL goals for him now! But Saka, The Silk, also played very well in his free role behind the attackers. They both added an extra quality and dimension to our football tonight, and we have to hope that Bukayo is available again on Thursday.
  8. I know that SU are not a good team and that we should have won this game possibly with even more goals, but let’s be honest: how many of us had expected such a strong, confident and fun performance tonight? Arteta mixed it up a bit whilst resting the likes of Bellerin, Soares, Big Gab, Ode, ESR and Auba. With the good, confident performances tonight, Arteta will feel he has a wider squad to pick his first eleven from for the Slavia Prague game on Thursday. So a very successful evening all round.

By TotalArsenal.

20 thoughts on “Arteta’s Surprise, a four-legged Mobile Monster, Laca Makes it 50: Arsenal Afterthoughts

  • Well that was almost Totaal Voertbal, so much movement and interplay, I thought that we’d start with Saka at left back but he was right wing, inside right, in the hole, centre forward, Lacazette was the false 9 and the No.10 and then centre forward, Xhaka looked the left of a back three, then he was left back, then he was midfield, Ceballos almost had a free role popping up all over the place and linking moves with his jinky runs, twists and turns and back heels, a throwback to last season, Partey was the guv’nor in midfield and that pass for our third goal was put in the exact spot at just the right pace for Lacazette to finish with aplomb. Pepe was a constant threat and set up the 2nd when he cut inside, his first touch is frustrating because if he could develop a connection between his brain and his feet then he’d be a sensation. Chambers, Holding and Mari have given Arteta a lot to think about for Thursday because I’m not sure that he can break up that triumvirate, Leno had me reaching for a stiff drink at times, he really isn’t at his safest atm but I’ll take the clean sheet. Willian came on and looked ok, Elneny likewise and Martinelli was superb, he was just what we needed on the left flank and ultimately in the middle.

    It was a tonic and now bring on Slavia and let’s put all this negative crap to bed…

  • If Laca is MoTM, then Ceballos was not that far behind. The man was prime Santi Cazorla and Iniesta, rolled in one last night. He was superb for someone 2ho has had a below average season, so far. He tackled well, was strong and seemed to be e everywhere….and that back heel to set up Laca? A beauty. Happy for him, to be honest.

    Xhaka also looked good today and went about his business like he’s played that role all his life. Not sure if I would advocate such a formation another time, however it did work a treat against the league’s bottom placed team.

    Look forward to Thursday.

  • Arteta on Granit Xhaka:
    He [Xhaka] had a specific role today for the game because we believed they were going to try to do something, and he had the right qualities to develop that role,’ said Arteta.

    It’s a joy to work with him because you’d ask him to play as a centre forward and he’d say, ‘yeah, yeah, I’ll do my best’. That’s the player you want. ‘Today he had a really strong performance, and it gives another option. ‘Kieran is out, probably for the season, so we need different options in that position and he [Xhaka] can be one of those.’

  • Iam just happy that finally Martnelli got a start and a goal. He said after the match that he was tired but ok. He is not match fit and tahts why regular minutes for him was important. Glad he got that and hope he continues till season end.
    On to Slavia then , hoping for a similar scoreline.

  • Don’t get me wrong, confidence and motivation are obviously crucially important factors of the performance, but – on paper – Sheffield United is a lot more stronger than Slavia Prague. If they were to play 10 games, the Blades would win around 5, draw 3 and lose 2. Yet, it doesn’t mean that after we beat SU (at Bramall Lane) by 0:3 we will demolish Slavia by 0:5; not just because of the confidence and motivation of the opponents, but also about the tactics as well as the confidence and motivation of our players.
    But that was a convincing and entertaining display. Slavia also won against local rival and arch nemesis Sparta Praha by 2:0, and since they have 5 substitution opportunities in the Czech Fortuna Liga games they could better rest their key players (Stanciu, Kuchta and Provod were all substituted in the second half). However their star player Sima has a mystery injury, and Olayinka didn’t recover from whatever happened to him in the 84th minute of the first leg, so they will probably be light on the attack as well. And even if they field a more-or-less strong line-up (according to their limitation) they will not have high quality players on the bench, so I expect our influence to groe in the last part of the game.

  • Good points PB, Slavia had quite a few injury issues before we played the first leg, everyone is suffering injuries because of the compactness of the fixtures with no time to recover. We failed to beat them in the 1st leg because our finishing was poor not because they’re a good or bad side. They probably overachieved when they beat Leicester and Rangers and maybe they are confident of making it a hat trick of British clubs, but Arsenal are at their best when our backs are against the wall so we need to dig deep and whatever team Arteta picks or can pick we can and must get a positive result, if nothing else to disappoint all the jackals in the press and the increasing number of negative Arsenal ‘fans’ – but not on here thankfully…

  • Morning all,

    Here are the results for our competition:-
    ”””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””’
    For the week:-

    1st Eris, PB, GN5 & Kev all with 3/6 plus one bonus point. Kev also gets another two points for the correct score.
    5th Total with 2/6
    “”””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””
    For the season to date:-
    1st Kev with 114.00
    2nd Eris with 110.33
    3rd PB with 93.66
    4th GN5 with 90.33
    5th Total with 72.66
    “”””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””
    It was a really good week for Eris and he extended his modest lead over Eris – they are putting on a great tussle. Only 7 or more weeks left so it’s going to be an interesting run in. Will one of the top two win or will one of the underdogs pull off a surprise victory?

  • Here are my selections for the coming weekend:-
    “”””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””
    Chelsea v Manchester City
    Leicester v Southampton
    Newcastle v West Ham
    Arsenal v Fulham
    Manchester United v Burnley
    Wolfsburg v Bayern Munich
    “””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””

  • Not many tricky games to choose from this weekend but above is the best I could do.

  • “”””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””
    Chelsea v Manchester City – draw
    Leicester v Southampton – home
    Newcastle v West Ham – away
    Arsenal v Fulham – home
    Manchester United v Burnley – home
    Wolfsburg v Bayern Munich – draw
    “””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””

  • Chelsea v Manchester City: draw
    Leicester v Southampton: home
    Newcastle v West Ham: home
    Arsenal v Fulham: home
    Manchester United v Burnley: home
    Wolfsburg v Bayern Munich: away

  • Hi guys to the best of my knowledge this rule is in effect for the FA Cup semi Final games (the first two listed)
    ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..
    The FA Cup will not go to replays this season to help fixture congestion caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Replays were first scrapped from the quarter-finals onward in 2016 but we won’t see any at all this term. It’s likely, however, that replays could return for next season, providing the pandemic isn’t still having an impact on the football calendar.

  • Well done, GN5. I did say my late change of the bundesliga game prediction was going to come back to bite me….and so it turned out.

    Kev, Lol @ the Eris brothers. Guess GN5 allowed that one slide. 😀.

    How did you even guess a correct scoreline for ManU? I was uneasy when that kid, Mason Greenwood, was brought on. I knew he was likely to get a 3rd goal to cost me the bonus points. 😅

    Been a good contest, it must be said.

  • Yeah, I’m not sure Eris but Man Utd have a fantastic away record and they’re scoring a lot of goals, just a hunch, but I almost put Arsenal down for draw so it was a bit of luck mate.

  • Chelsea vs Man City……….. Away
    Leicester vs Southampton.. Home
    Newcastle vs West Ham…. Away
    Arsenal vs Fulham…………. Home
    Man United vs Burnley…… Home
    Wolfsburg vs Bayern…….. Away

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