Arsenal : The Alexis Show as Theo Returns

Now that is more like it.  Three points, clean sheet, no injuries and a lovely performance.

It’s almost like the team went into next gear. They finally set themselves free from the proverbial handbrake. You could sense that they needed a performance like this, the loss to Chelsea, the draws, the nature of the wins against Anderlecht and Sunderland didn’t do much to inspire confidence that this team was ready to compete for anything but Burnley was more like the Arsenal that we all want to see.  Hunger, determination, still going for it even when we were 2 goals up and ensuring we didn’t concede.

Going into the dugout at half time with the scoreline still goalless I was still confident we would get a result, but my twitter timeline indicated otherwise. Sometimes we all just have to relax and realize that the players are doing everything possible to put up a performance, give them credit for the performance and enjoy the game. There is a reason football is 90mins and has a break, if Arsenal doesn’t score in the first 45 at least we have 45 to remedy the situation. Results might be everything but sometimes we need to stand up for credit the effort they put in that first half as it was massive.

Burnley had a spell after the resumption when it seemed like they wanted more than to just sit back and wait for Arsenal to break them but midway into the second half they surely must have felt burnt by the heat that was coming out of Alexis boots.

Alexis

If you visit the site often you would know I’m a huge sucker for Tim Stillman’s writing and he wrote about Alexis during the week and the tweet above just summarizes what he wrote in his piece. You can find a link to it below this post. Honestly there are no words that can describe what Alexis brings to Arsenal and to football. One would never run out of superlatives to describe his performance against Burnley. If you ever need proof that if you fail once, try, try and try again? Then all you need to do is get this game and watch it over and over again. It’s just a blessing to be able to watch Alexis play for Arsenal and I’m just glad he is in a club where he is allowed to be real star, it’s almost like he is reborn, let loose, set free, allowed to finally be who he was born to be and I’m glad he is doing this at Arsenal Football Club.

Cazorla  

Beginning to get a little scared for Santi. With Ozil out I felt this was the opportunity for Santi to re-enact the form he showed two seasons ago when we signed him. Strangely I watch Santi now and I think of Juan Mata, players that you know should be controlling games like David Silva but are nowhere near the level that they should be at. On the day, Santi had the best clear cut chances but time and time again he is failing to find the back of the net. I wrote a piece during the week on how we needed more goals from midfield if we wanted to mount any challenge and one would look at players like Santi to contribute in that regard. He has failed to score since January and you could tell how he lost his confidence later on in the game when he held back from shooting for fear he would miss. Wenger has work to do here.

Gibbs

When the story of this game is written, it would be filled with adulation for Alexis and the re-introduction to Theo Walcott but the unsung heroes of the day would be Kieran Gibbs and Oxlade Chamberlain. I felt Gibbs was going to be ready and I think it was a ploy by the manager to keep that information from everyone so that Burnley would not prepare for the game knowing our exact defensive setup. Gibbs didn’t put a foot wrong and he certainly put in his left foot right when he hit that pass for Alexis second goal

Oxlade

Who remembers when Aaron Lenon was touted to be better than Theo Walcott or when Townsend was the toast of the media on the back of one good game for England. None of those Spurs players are fit to lace Oxlade’s boots. The record’s will show that he had just one shot on target but what it won’t tell you is the amount of work he did down the right hand side. Sadly the greatest beneficiary of all what Oxlade did yesterday was out injured, Giroud. 

Like @Tosinadeda I lost count of how many lovely balls Oxlade put into the box and neither Sanchez not Welbeck could take advantage of. Like Cazorla, Oxlade needs to add goals into his game but unlike Cazorla he has time on his side to learn how to do this.

Chambers

Calum Chambers! What a player!! When all the noise was about Man United breaking the record with the Luke Shaw signing, Arsenal had a real steal with the Chambers deal. For a player at this age to show the level of composure and willingness to try new things is just a beauty to watch. I’m sure Calum is the kind of player any coach would love to have. Young, energertic, talented and confident in his abilities you know you have got a rough diamond to play with.

Just before anyone started thinking the cross for Gibbs goal in the champions league was a fluke he put in another amazing one for Alexis’s first. One goal and two assists already, that is not going to do his confidence no harm. Debuchy really has his hands full trying to get his place in the team back.

Theo.
In less than 10 mins we saw why Theo got all the applause on his return from Injury. What an amazing player and my post about him when he left injured is still the most read post on this blog.

Worthy of note is also Nacho Monreal who showed composure playing in an unfamiliar position. I am beginning to feel worried that if he continues to put in such performances Wenger might settle for buying a left back cover and convert Nacho to our fourth choice center back. As much as I would him to do well when he is fielded at CB, a more natural CB suited for that role should still be a primary target for Wenger in January.

Permit me to sign out here and continue reeling in the awesome wonder that is Alexis Sanchez. Keep the Canons in your heart.

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Join me in the comments section for your thoughts on the game or on Twitter on @canoncrested. Follow and I will certainly follow back.

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