Ok, come on, fess up, which one of you set out this season’s fixture list, it had to be an Arsenal supporter there can be no other answer for it. We were in a slump, not a rut but signs of fatigue were starting to show themselves — Southampton and even more so against PSV. After that loss Mikel Arteta spoke of the need for a ‘reset’, a means to get us back to winning ways. What fixture could have been kinder, enter lowly Forrest, occupying the position at the bottom of the League and clearly ready to help us in out hour of need. A five nil thumping was just what the doctor ordered, a fine display of happy football and the restoration of our position at the top of the league. COYRRG.
Ramsdale: not a lot to do but what he did do he did well, had clearly been practising dangerous incoming corners as he cleanly plucked the one he had to. 7
Ben White: another top performance; has proved that he can play in more than one position and play it well, I don’t know why Arteta doesn’t try him out just ahead of the back line in the Europa games and that way we can keep Partey rapped in cotton wool, only to be uncovered for the all important League games. 7
Saliba: this is interesting, when he returned at the beginning of the season there was a real swagger about him, a look of “you are lucky to have me, I can go anywhere” he wasn’t wrong and his play backed up his swagger – he has changed, why? Because he now cares, he is one of the team and has bought into the whole “all for one and one for all” mentality that exists within this Arsenal team. A classy, but a more human display. 8
Gabriel: there is no doubt that when he signed his new contract and committed to the club until 27 that one of the hierarchy, probably Edu said to him around signature time “ Ok, you are now settled, it is time to stamp out the hot headed nonsense” must have been as he has been the consummate professional since, there is still an error in him; he handed Forrest their best chance of the match – one step at a time. 7
Tomiasu: interesting choice, it makes sense to play him against a left footed winger in games that the opposition are going to come on to us, think Salah, but it is clear (at least to me) that when we are playing teams in which we should be on the front foot which was Southampton and certainly today then Tierney offers more attacking options down that flank than Tomiasu does. I am not sure why Arteta makes this choice; the answer can only be that he is too important in Arteta’s mind to leave on the bench. Played well enough, played even better when he switched to the right. 7
Xhaka: I am one of those who has completely bought into the resurrection of Granit, I walk around singing his song – bang, bang, we’ve got Granit Xhaka, we’ve got, bang, bang Granit Xhaka but I felt as we came into this game, if we are relying on Xhaka to score us winners something is not quite right, another solid performance from someone who clearly is a leader and a winner. 7
Partey: I remember describing him as “World Class”, when he first arrived, only to be shot down by people who knew better, hmmm, well do you get it now — class, pure class. 9
Odegaard: back to his best today, a captain’s performance and a really well taken goal. 8
Martinelli: tormented the life out of the Forrest defence, brilliant first goal. 7.5
Jesus: we clearly need a new number 9, we got a duff’un; this one doesn’t work properly. Worked his socks off. 7
Saka: classy cross for Martinelli to come onto for our first, hope the injury isn’t too bad.
Subs: Nelson, well done Reis and you are deservedly my MOTM; he knew he had been given a rare opportunity and was visibly worried about messing it up, went in at half time, Arteta sprinkled his confidence dust over him and he came out and turned to game completely back into our favour. 2 goals and an assist might not only be club changing goals they could be career changing goals, I wish him well. 8