“The opening game against Fulham was more like what we expected of the Arsenal of Old.
No more pussy footing around waiting for the first Gunners mistake, and then the almost inevitable collapse of confidence, and the spiralling down into the oblivion of another losing start to a Premiership season with the inevitable turmoil of fan anger and despondency.
Early days? Do I hear? Yes, yes, yes.
These are early days, agreed, but gilded with the gold of understandable tactical brilliance already beginning to show under Mikel, and players already schooled to play for each other and their adoring fans.
The player acquisitions from current transfer activities chose to shine, with Willian playing a stormer to back up our main strikers and giving three assists with all the nonchalance of a man who has done it all before over the previous 7 years or so in the premiership. Talented? You bet.
Not to be outdone, Gabriel, who has not played in any competitive games since before the virus struck, was asked to play in the pivotal role alongside Tierney and Holding and was simply terrific. His command in the air, especially when under attack in the penalty area, immediately brought back memories of Tony Adams and Steve Bould and his positional nous and skill were outstanding.
Defensive headers – yes – but from a corner taken by Willian he scored his first goal for us – from a header.Talented? Yes, and there is much more to come from young Gabriel.
The calm way in which the team played while getting the measure of Fulham was impressive, and just to show them not to get too cheeky, a wobbly, weak shot from the man with a thunderous shot, Xhocker, resulted in a meleé, with Willian shooting against the GK leaving the rebound for the alert Laca to score.
And that showed the wonder of Arteta for me, the defence, the midfield and the attack melded into each other in a way I have not seen for years.
Tierney, for example, was key in a CB three, and yet suddenly he was up there supporting the attack, leaving AMN to automatically cover for him, and all throughout the team similar moves were happening, as the well coached and practised exchanges were planned – not the potentially disastrous mad-chicken, one man breakouts we have become so familiar with,
Auba, scored a fabulous goal, the team all played well, and although it was ‘just’ Fulham, as our team settle in, they are going to get better.
Promises for the future to make all us Gooners very happy.”
My player ratings:
El Neny 6
Willian with 2 assists and Gabriel with a fantastic performance. Gabriel is my MOTM.