Hi there, it’s so good to have you here after the International Break. Hope it wasn’t too boring? I am quite sure we all missed our dear Arsenal. We returned to league action on Saturday with a hard-earned victory over our ‘Achilles Heel’ from Wales. Swansea in recent times have proved difficult to overcome. The fact that we’ve beaten them just once in 5 attempts at the Emirates tells it own story. We managed it this time – but with sweat and blood.
Here are the 5 things I learnt from the game.
Is this finally Wenger’s 11?
I will like to start with the boss today. Do I think he has gotten the balance right with this team? Yes. We are on a winning streak and we only hope it continues. The victory took us level on points with Manchester City – only behind as a result of their ‘slightly better’ goal difference. The team seem to be bonding and the hard work is paying off. We slag off Arsene when we lose, but I think he is doing a good job with the team, even his substitution in this game were good.
KOSTAFI – The real deal
Week in, week out, the center backs keep putting up good performances. Mustafi had a good game generally despite the fact he was guilty of freeing his man for the Swansea 2nd goal. Aside that he was a rock behind as usual and he provided good cover for Bellerin. He attacks from the back, Koscielny seems to have found a partner, they understand themselves and the back line has improved greatly. A good pair for Holding (and Calum Chambers) to learn from.
“Sell him, sell him!”, most of us cried before the season started. I have to admit to be part of that group, but I am happy Walcott is shaming us, and at the same time paying back Arsene’s trust. We only hope this continues. He looks more calm and sharper in front of goal, although he missed a glorious chance to score a third, Adrenalin rush I guess. He is definitely a changed person.
Iwobi just can’t stop. The lad keeps impressing. No wonder Arsene Wenger wanted England to hijack him. He definitely is the reason Campbell went on loan; he is the reason The Ox is on the bench. He reads the game well, has good footwork, eye for a pass, and also confident on the ball. However he needs to improve on his defensive capacity and personally, I don’t think he can last 90 minutes. He looked weaker after the 65th minutes. He exposed Monreal in the build up to the second Swansea goal, although Monreal was guilty of inviting Barrow into the box.
Xhaka or Coquelin
I have come across debate on which of these two is better. This game is a perfect way to examine both players. Xhaka replaced Coquelin in the starting line up mainly because Coquelin just recovered from injury. I am of the opinion they both offer something different to the squad. We could argue that we missed the hard tackling ability of Francis Coquelin in the middle and still be right, but Xhaka gave something different as he is a good passer of the ball, with Cazorla, Ozil and Iwobi his major beneficiary. He can pair with Coquelin in the middle and that will take us back to the days of Vieira and Gilberto. I believe his sending off was harsh and unfortunate, but I will take that all day as he prevented a 4-vs-2 situation. One thing is Cazorla is a silent killer regardless of who Arsene pairs him with. Moreover the pairing boils down to the opponent.
This victory was our 6th in a row in the league. And what a win it was!
Next? Arsenal vs Ludogoret in the UEFA Champions League. See you then,