Firstly, I thought the Arsenal fans were fantastic yesterday from start to finish and beyond to the post match interviews.
Secondly, it’s easy for the Sky Sports pundits to say that Totts were rubbish etc, and suggest Arsenal won’t play a worse team performance again this season but simply put, they couldn’t live with Arsenal’s football in the first half. The passing was swift and accurate and our guys wanted to get to the ball quicker. In other words, there’s no way anyone should take away anything from Arsenal.
Just a few weeks ago, Arsenal were bottom of the table whilst Nuno’s lot were top. Of course we knew neither would last and we were right. We’ve gone up and they’ve gone down. Just as it should be!
The one change Mikel Arteta made was no more than most of us expected and that was the return of Granit Xhaka. I wasn’t surprised it was Pepe who made way. Credit where it’s due, Xhaka had a good game. He had one moment of madness but Craig Pawson was clearly in a generous mood as his cards stayed in his pocket.
Emile Smith Rowe started The Arsenal ball rolling, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang carried it on and then Bukayo Saka finished the opposition off. Aubameyang might have had a second if he’d have controlled a wonderful ball from Xhaka better than he did but his touch was heavy and the chance was gone.
Emile Smith Rowe said it was the best day Of his life. That’s because he’s an Arsenal man through and through. Beating the old enemy and scoring one of the goals whilst playing really well – it doesn’t get any better does it?
1-0 – Odegaard set off in our own half and played the ball to Saka on the right. He breezed past Reguilon and played a cross into space in the box. Smith Rowe by this time had arrived at the perfect time to side foot the ball passed Lloris.
2-0 – Ramsdale’s only blip in the game. Spared by Xhaka whose determination kept Hojbjerg from taking control of the ball just outside our own box. His quick turn and pass, yes, quick turn and pass, saw us breakaway once more. An exchange of passes between Aubameyang and Smith Rowe ended with our captain scoring a fine goal with his left foot. Scuffed slightly perhaps but who cares. Lloris could do nothing.
3-0 – Kane lost possession outside Arsenal’s penalty area and off the team in red went again through Xhaka and Partey. Kane had got back, put a challenge on Saka in the box but our man jumped on the free ball to slid it past Lloris.
Toots were marginally better in the second half, or Arsenal had taken their foot off the gas a bit. The latter I think but we still had chances to increase the lead. Toots had a few chances of their own too. Ramsdale made a good save from Kane, with Tomiyasu Takehiro clearing the parried ball and then Kane clipped the ball over our keeper only to see it go wide. Son did manage to pull one back which no doubt kicked off the nerves in many Arsenal fans but when Ramsdale made an outstanding save towards the end, it was clearly Arsenal’s day.
We’ve all been calling for a big performance from Aubameyang and I think we got one. Xhaka needed to be disciplined and in the main he was. Smith Rowe and Saka were fantastic. To be fair, I thought the whole team were good from start to finish. Even the subs. The attitude was spot on, the commitment too. As said, the first half performance was very very good but it’s a shame we couldn’t add a couple more goals to the score line. It would have been no more than Arsenal deserved. Toots too!
If there was any doubt as to whether Mikel Arteta cares for our club, that doubt should be put to bed now. His celebration after each goal went in spoke volumes. I don’t think I’ve ever seen an Arsenal manager celebrate like it.
I know, it’s just one game and three more points but there was a lot on show yesterday to suggest Arsenal really could be on the rise. Yes, there will be blips I’m sure but in my humble opinion, there’s a reason to be optimistic. Very optimistic.
Lastly, well done to the women too as they thrashed Man City 5-0.
See you in the comments.