Eight observations from a pulsating, bolero -esque game of football in which we out-chased the defiant Wolves once again.
- Martin and Alex battered Wolves for 96 minutes. The Ode kept finding gaps in the wall, Laca kept bashing into it. Together they led the attack with full conviction and they never gave up. Both are my MotM.
- Granit and Thomas played very mature in a difficult game. We had to push up and leave space behind us, so both had to play with tons of concentration. They did so well in keeping our pressure on and both kept passing through the Wolves’ lines. Their experience made a real difference last night.
- The subs finished the job off. Our opponents defended with discipline and always carried a threat. They had the better chances, and Arsenal missed a clinical finisher. It’s hard to constantly batter a wall and then also find the inner calm to be composed. This is what the fresh as a daisy Pepe and Nketiah brought when they joined the onslaught. They played with the sort of clarity and technical composure that was required and both were simply too much for the thoroughly harrased Wolves.
- Saka and Martinelli put in a shift too. The former is more at ease with the ball in tight spaces but both were given little space and time, which was clearly part of the orange and black opponents’ strategy. Marti has to improve on his first touch and passing if he wants to succeed on the wing. I believe more and more that he should be played mainly as a CF going forward.
- The Gabriel mistake was painful but it reminded me again how rare these mistakes are now and how good we have become at playing the ball out from the back. White, Gab and Rams really have got a great triangular partnership between them.
- This squad is clearly too small for a season that includes European football, but for the remaining 17 battles it’s pretty ideal. The smallness leads to closeness and camaraderie that can lift a team higher than the sum of its part would suggest. Everyone will play a part in our quest for a finish in the top four and we are a solid unit that’s near-unbreakable.
- Further to the above I am loving the contributions of Soares, who never complains about the lack of starts and hits the ground running pretty soon if and when he gets his opportunities. Same goes for Holding, Elneny and Tavares and one or two others. Tierney was also once again a rock in defence.
- The work rate is just so great in this team. Nine points from the last three games would never have been achieved without it. Bring on the Hornets.