Saturday’s match against Chelsea put on display an Arsenal performance that we could only have dreamt of. It had been quite a while since the Gunners defeated their London rivals in the Premier League, but not only did they get it done Saturday, they did it emphatically, while hopefully sending a statement.
I’d be lying to you if I didn’t admit that I wasn’t totally convinced that we’d show the same intensity on Wednesday against Basel.
Arsenal tends to get amped up for the big dance, yet, when they lock horns with clubs that don’t have big stars in their dressing room, they tend to perform with less urgency. Their passing is much slower, and it almost seems as if they know they’ll win, it’s just a matter of time.
Thankfully, my doubts and those of many others were quickly dismissed. They came out flying, pressuring high, moving the ball at lightning speed, leaving Basel chasing shadows most of the time. Having a front three of Iwobi who looks like a seasoned veteran stuck in a youngsters body, Electric Sanchez and a rejuvenated Theo Walcott, that is an absolute nightmare for opposing defenders. Oh, did I mention the one and only Mesut The Maestro Ozil is pulling the strings for these guys from the midfield?!
With all of them in form, clearly full of confidence and loads of pace, how the hell do you stop them?
Chelsea’s Swiss cheese back line wasn’t able to figure it out, and Basel conceded one less goal than the Blues, but let’s be honest, Arsenal could well have slotted 5+ goals past the Basel goalkeeper had they been a bit more inspired in front of goal. Yes, I’m talking to you Alexis, but, we luckily didn’t need more than Theo’s two goals. We all know the Chilean is saving himself for this coming weekend.
But seriously, is this what we can expect from Arsenal going forward? Has Arsene Wenger finally figured it out?
I sure as hell hope so because even with Giroud non-existent, they are firing on all cylinders. In past seasons, pundits, analysts and haters talked about how Arsenal was one dimensional and if Giroud wasn’t scoring, Arsenal were struggling to get on the score sheet.
While that’s not entirely true given the fact that Alexis has contributed a decent amount of goals, the reality is that they did struggle at times. Giroud’s dip in form was problematic for the squad, but now… well, now we have more than Giroud.
Giroud isn’t available? Fine, let’s play a front three of Iwobi, Alexis & Theo. Or maybe you prefer Lucas Perez? Akpom? Ox? Sanogo?! Ok ok, I was kidding about Sanogo!
If the speed approach isn’t going to work, Giroud comes into the mix. A big presence who can hold up play and get physical in the box. And if we need a mix of both, the big attractive French striker proved that he can link up well with others, as he did with Griezman at the Euro.
Although it’s still early in the new campaign, it’s very pleasant to see the Gunners playing at this level, and with loads of confidence. I’m not sure what Arsene Wenger has said to them as of late, but whatever it was clearly inspired them, all of them. Even Theo, who has left me speechless lately, whereas in recent years, I had plenty to say about his performances, as did everyone else.