Brentford 0 – 3 Arsenal. A late summer stroll in the park.
Ah what a happy return to PL football. I wanted to see attitude, pride and professionalism and that is exactly what we got from our boys.
Eight short observations from a masterclass performance:
- Partey and Xhaka together makes such a difference. I am less of a Partey fan that most on this blog, but his influence cannot be underestimated. Thomas is imo a limited passer of the ball (too many unforced errors) BUT he offers great midfield ‘presence’ and his positioning is simply excellent. Thomas gives us shape and structure, and nobody messes with him.
- Xhaka in a more advanced role is working really well (to my surprise). His ability to see the right pass and execute it quickly is second to none in the team, except for the Ode maybe. His left foot can deliver balls with both speed and feeling, as was demonstrated by his fine banana shaped cross towards GJ9 for our second goal. Granit moves the game on quickly and yet he also defends his area well.
- The defenders dealt really well with all the high balls pumped towards them. Rather than one defender going to meet the ball it would often be two, thus sandwiching the CF and not allowing easy lay-offs for the second attacker. It made the Bees attacking plan stingless. The defence also dealt well with the Stoke-esque throwies into the box and corners. They really meant business today.
- Our full backs positioned themselves very well today. Both White and Tierney were excellent in balancing out supporting our attack and not leaving too much space at the back.
- I think we missed the Ode but Fabio did a good job for the team. His goal was pure class and he fitted in very well. I also noticed how Martinelli had a free role during large spells of the game, and I need to watch the game again to see whether he in effect was playing the Ode role rather than Vieira. Martinelli may not have played well in terms of goals and assists but he covered a lot of space and brought the ball forward on many occasions. Really mature game by him.
- I praised the midfielders and I would like to add the fab performances by Saliba and Jesus. WS,GX, TP and GJ gave us a mighty strong spine today. William brings calm and natural dominance, and Jesus brings energetic leadership. We could add Aaron to this spine as well. He brings to the back what Jesus brings to our attack. This spine can win us a lot of games this season.
- There was something old fashioned about Arsenal’s outfit today, especially with those long grey socks, but I loved it. It made us look like hard, no-nonsense workers.
- Ethan Nwaneri first PL game minutes was a very nice move by Arteta and I look forward to seeing more of this promising 15 year old. His forhead reminded me of that of a young, just starting Cesc somehow. But this last point is really about the other boy wonder we have: Bukayo Saka. He just turned 21 and is once again delivering the goods. I don’t think he is at his normal best yet, and yet he is the PL second highest assists maker after the genius KdB. What a player.
Two weeks rest now and then we will face the mashable Spuddies. How do you like your mash?! 🤩