This is how we remember you and the style of football you like your teams to play. Fast, incisive counter-attack football with technical wizardry. We had it, then lost it for a few years, now, joy of joys we’ve found it again and we’re flying!
Leicester (a), Manchester Utd (h), Watford (a), our last three PL fixtures. On paper, all tricky fixtures, and yet Arsenal smashed them all by a three-goal margin.
Watford have been awkward customers in years gone by, and have been known to cause the odd upset, I’m sure many of us remember the scourge of Mo Johnston.
They’ve started their latest journey into the shark-infested waters of the PL steadily without looking spectacular, but have been defensively very solid, conceding the same amount as Arsenal, before kick-off. They certainly look to have enough about them to avoid relegation.
The first half was quite nervy, Watford showed no intimidation and took the game to Arsenal. Indeed Ighalo could and probably should have scored with the home side’s best chance of the game, but once the early storm had been blown out, by the end of the first half, Arsenal were looking far more settled.
Arsenal stepped up a gear about 15 minutes into the second half with the first goal coming just after the hour, another exquisite effort from our very own red-hot Chile, Alexis Sanchez. Just six minutes later, Olivier Giroud, fresh from replacing Theo, added a second, which was nice after all his recent woes. A comprehensive win was rounded off by the hard-working Aaron Ramsey, one of our unsung heroes.
There’s definitely something about Arsène and Arsenal this year. A quiet momentum is growing. Okay, it was only newly-promoted Watford, but they’ve been a bogey side for Arsenal, and the way they dispatched them was professional and ruthless.
There is a buzz of excitement around the club again, almost like Arsène was transported back in time to reclaim something he’d forgotten to bring with him. And now he’s found it again he’s reminding all his doubters, the whole football world, and those loyal fans who never lost faith, exactly what he’s capable of when he has the right ingredients. It feels wonderful to be an Arsenal fan right now, then fires have been stoked again. But is still very much OGAAT – excluding CL, naturally.
What would make a PL title even sweeter is (if he’s still around), it will finally silence the despicable egotistical Mourinho and leave him nowhere to run. For all Arsène’s flaws, I’d pick him over Mourinho every time. No-one deserves a PL title more than Arsene, his has been the longest often darkest journey, for which he has shown remarkable fortitude.
At this moment in time, I believe.
Here are my player ratings: –
Petr Cech is the consummate professional, and is as influential to Arsenal as Peter Schmeichel and Edwin van der Sar were for Utd. The importance of his signing cannot be under-stated, he is a level up from both David Seaman and Jens Lehmann, and it surely is no coincidence that since his arrival, the whole Arsenal collective have upped their game. He exudes calm and class and might not wear the captain’s armband on the field, but what he has achieved in the game, his desire to repeat that success and the fact that he wanted to come to Arsenal has resonated round the club like a virtual clarion call. 9
Hector Bellerin is immense. Already faster than Theo, he terrorises opposition defenders, and defensively he’s improving all the time. Clearly a boy with the football world at his feet, but better yet, he is loving being at Arsenal. 7
Nacho Monreal just gets it done. No fuss or nonsense, he has nailed down the left back spot and puts in a consistent quality performance most weeks. 8
Per Mertesacker is one who has benefited from Cech’s arrival and knows he has competition for his place from the impressive Gabriel. 7
Laurent Koscielny has had and will have better games, but he helped keep a clean sheet and is coming back from injury so can be forgiven for being a little off pace. 7
Francis Coquelin must be one of the best discoveries of the last five years. Has confidently stepped in to make him undroppable. Doing a fantastic job. 8
Santi Cazorla is loving his deeper role and relishing the added responsibility playing alongside Coquelin. 8
Aaron Ramsey is tireless, has a terrific appetite and work ethic. Finally got rewarded for his industry yesterday with his goal. 8
Mesut Ozil is like a new signing! Having been originally thrown in to the PL at the deep end from the relatively sunny and comfortable La Liga, he struggled with the work-load. The introduction of Sanchez and dropping Cazorla deeper has allowed Ozil to flourish, and he’s enjoying his best spell since signing. 8
Alexis Sanchez is incredible. He only arrived back from International duty on Friday, twenty four hours later he’s leading the charge against Watford! He inspires everyone around him to be better, he has quality in abundance. 9
Theo Walcott was left a bit frustrated largely because of some resolute defending and the Goalkeeper Gomes. But he still made a contribution and his season won’t be defined by games like this. 7
Written by Herb’s Army