Ok, so not much of a match review to drop here. Qarabag wasn’t much of a match for a very young Arsenal squad. Mesut Ozil single-handedly destroyed them with an assist for Lacazette who finished like a bloody king!
My only moan before we land on the good stuff is this: Why would you play Lacazette and Papa in a pointless game? We have so many major games coming up, that felt really sloppy. Especially considering Mustafi and Holding dropped from the last two games.
Arsenal dominated the evening with 67% of the ball. Just the mere presence of Laurent Koscielny reduced Qarabag to a pathetic 0 shots on target. It was great to see the old stalwart in the side, hopefully, he’s fit enough for the Southampton game at the weekend where suspensions/injuries are leaving us very light at the back. Monreal and Kos looking the most likely partnership (oh my).
It was great to see Eddie, Willock (who runs like Thierry), Saka, AMN, Gilmour and Medley all land runs outs under the bright lights of The Emirates.
Saka missed the chance to become our youngest scorer in Europe when he drove the ball into the face of their keeper Wagner. That said, he had a very impressive game for someone of 17. He’s very strong and direct. He was a real handful all night. The manager was very positive about him.
“We have the responsibility to give every young player chances, first to train with us and to be demanding with their performances.
“Saka played with a good performance, with a very big personality, his personality is very important for us to continue trying to go 1v1 and break lines with his quality.
“He played with a very big personality and sometimes with a very good performance. It’s very important for his confidence and for us also, because we can look at this player and see quality to help us.”
He had 11 successful take-ons yesterday and was fouled 5 times in the process! He also managed to land 3 shots on target, a little timid, but at least he was having a go. I love the way he opens his body up for shots, a little Thierry-ish. His confidence is something else, here’s hoping we see more of him in the future.
Mesut Ozil created 4 chances, he played well. I’m not sure I want to go too crazy about our best player having a good game in the Europa League, but it’s worth highlighting that he had a great attitude and didn’t shy away from the donkey work.
Also worth noting that Joe Willock racked up some numbers. He made 5 tackles, 6 ball recoveries and rocked an 89% pass completion rate, delivering the second most passes in the final third behind Mesut Ozil. Not bad going in my opinion, I really love his confidence on the ball, and, did I mention, he runs like Thierry?
Final shoutout goes to Eddie. He was unlucky not to land a couple of assists, but his hard work contributed to the first goal and his attitude was spot on. The energy he brings must be a nightmare if you’re an opposition defender, he dropped 5 tackles as well, I really, really want him to break into our first team.
The best thing about all these young talents is that you know the manager has a plan for them. These guys are going to max out at Arsenal, if they don’t, it’ll be because they’re not good enough. I think there should be some strategic loans in January, we need these players out on the pitch playing games. We have options as well. Germany is a very fertile ground to learn your trade, incredibly technical coaches and a good level to cut your teeth. Ligue 1 is up there with the best leagues in the world these days, and we have Thierry and Paddy out there… surely we’ll be leaning into them to help players like Smith-Rowe find the next level?
Per Mertesacker is going to make sure the players understand Arsenal values and how to be a proper professional, Emery will make sure they are trained properly. Could be a very fruitful few years. Sancho was a £9m player, now he’s worth x10 that. We need a few hits like that, long overdue in my opinion.
Right, that’s me done. 22 games unbeaten. Southampton next.