Arsenal 2 – 0 Leeds
Eight Observations from a mature game of football by our nr2s in the squad:
- The boys were up for this one, and yet they didn’t all go all out on attack whilst ignoring their defensive duties as we have seen so many times in the past. It didn’t make for the most exciting League Cup game we have ever watched but it was the right approach against a strong opponent who also love to attack.
- Our defence was solid with White clearly the leader and all other players working disciplined and hard. They were helped by a solid double DM-pivot that shielded them well and quietly contained the strong Leeds’ midfield.
- I really liked Ainsley’s performance last night, my MotM. He worked hard to help our attack by bridging the gap between defence/Midfield and attack regularly. I also loved his tackles and general tenacity in his one to one battles. Elneny worked hard too but was less effective and more rusty on the night.
- Our wing play was below par and neither Martinelli or Pepe impressed. Kola and Soares tried to add depth there but with mixed success. Our triangles on the wings did not work and both Pepe and Martinelli did not get much support; they also lack the ability to make something happening by their own on the wing. For the Brazilian this is a work in progress, which cannot be said for the other one unfortunately.
- Emile played an efficient game and I was impressed by his maturity. He had too much to do in providing the thrust and creativity in attack, so he just focused on where he could add value without running himself into an injury.
- Eddie is always good in preserving his energy for when it’s needed most. Nketiah is more of an (former?) Auba than a Laca type of an attacker but he still worked hard enough for the team (just as Auba did on Friday). He stole/took his goal well and with that he sealed the game. The big question is does Eddie fit into Arteta-ball….. Mikel rates him and wants him to stay. But I am still undecided.
- Leno was up for it and he made a fine safe at a crucial moment. His control in the box and distribution were okay but not more than that. A shot stopper he is, though, and a great nr2 goal keeper to have for Mikel…… But surely that will not be enough for the ambitious German?!!
- Other than the maturity of the team I really appreciate the workrate and tenacity of the players on the pitch. Mikel has them all working hard and that’s not an easy achievement given the dissatisfaction some will be feeling. So chapeau to our manager.