Hull 1 – 4 Arsenal
The result pretty much explains everything? Or does it?
I’m struggling to understand this new Arsenal. One-half you are cursing and hating them; in another, you are asking them to marry you. The game against Hull was challenging emotionally being that in the first half, Arsenal presented abject football albeit we were winning. It took some brain refresh to stop myself from being overly downcast during the break. This is borne out of the fact that with supporting Arsenal there are some standard expectations i.e., Go to games like Hull and dominate.
The method of domination would include keeping the ball, playing with high intensity and scoring goals. In the first half, we only met the first of the three expectations outlined. The pace of the game was lethargic, and chances went a-begging. Arsenal took the lead in 16th-minute courtesy an Alexis Sanchez deflected effort from an Iwobi shot. The goal, however, did not spur Arsenal to go for the kill as opportunity after opportunity kept getting spurned.
The manager continued with his Sanchez upfront formation and I wonder if this decision was made easier by Giroud being injured. It would be interesting to see how things line up when he returns. If the guys at Twitter Headquarters ran a query to find out the most discussed starting eleven in the planet, I’ll place bets the Arsenal lineup would win it given the manager’s persistence with Sanchez leading the line and the “Coqzorla” shepherding our midfield.
Results are the primary metric for judging success on a football pitch. Hence it is hard to argue against how the Manager has decided to make the best use of the players he acquired. Thus far, bar Liverpool, the team has done the job requested of them. The manner in which they have gone about it, however, is not pleasing to the eye and sooner than later, Wenger would need to address gaps with regards to how the team is currently playing. Against Southampton and several times against PSG, Shane Long and Cavani could have punished us and the mood would have been different now. We do not expect to go through a season hoping opponents fail to take chances especially when we struggle to take ours. This is ironic given we scored four goals today. In truth, if we were more clinical those four goals could have been scored in the first half which would give us the twin benefit of resting key players and giving players like Perez the opportunity to get more minutes required for them to come up to speed. Arsenal needs to kill off games early on, the Man United game last season remains a perfect example of how to do so.
Three of our last five goals have come on the back of rebounds which means there is some result when you shoot the ball rather than constantly try to pass it in. Players like Frank Lampard made a living off showing up to hit them. I am glad in Iwobi we have a player who is courageous enough to take the first shot once he gets into the box. Iwobi is an emerging talent and representative of one of the joys of being an Arsenal fan under Wenger. The opportunity he gives young talent to come through. Bellerin and Coquelin are classic examples and Iwobi might be the next to lay claim to a starting berth. Sadly same cannot be said for Oxlade-Chamberlain who has failed to blossom despite been given several opportunities to do so. Iwobi’s pass for Theo’s goal and Arsenal’s second just goes to show how much talent and courage the young lad has.
In classic Arsenal nature, it has to go bad for it to get better. Whilst the final result would read nicely, Hull pulled one goal back from the spot, and it was uncomfortable for Arsenal for a few minutes. Thankfully, Sanchez restored our two goal cushion before XHAKA entered his name for goal of the month and possibly season contention.
So it’s three out of three for Arsenal now and Chelsea coming next would be an excellent opportunity to make a statement of intent. Before then, it’s the little problem of the Carling, apologies, Capital One, apologies, English Football League game. We play Lord Bendtner’s Nottingham Forest.
My Man of the Match – Alex Iwobi
Special Mention – Shkodran Mustafi and Francis Coquelin
Come on You Arsenal!!!
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