Arsenal turned up the heat in the❄️snow❄️in a game we’d historically have trouble in. It was freezing, our form has been shaky, and we were up against a Sam Allardyce side. The perfect concoction for an afternoon of potent shit-housery.
Not January 2nd 2021.
Arsenal blasted out of the starting blocks and found themselves a sexy performance. Our 4-0 victory was more than worth it. We could have had 6 on another day. 21 attempts at their goal, 12 shots on target, dominant in possession, and plenty of variety to our attacking play.
There were so many great performances, but it’s hard to look past Kieran Tierney and Bukayo Saka as the standouts. The Scotsman really found his stride, opening the scoring with a blistering run and strike. He turned Darnell Furlong inside out before cutting inside on the left, drilling a thunderbolt into the top corner.
3 minutes later, the Hale-Enders took over on the right. Smith Rowe and Saka drove through the middle, Lacazette found Smith Rowe’s run, the young creator kept his composure finding Saka for the tap-in. A proper Arsenal goal. Saka’s 3rd g/a contribution in as many games. Smith Rowe’s second assist.
The third and fourth goals were taken care of by Lacazette. Good work from Saka out wide for the third, Smith Rowe’s deflected shot fell to Laca who buried it. Tierney did all the work for our 4th, placing a perfect cross at WBAs 6 yard box where a loose knee pushed it over the line.
The game was simple enough for us to take Bellerin off to give AMN some minutes. We were also able to take ESR and Saka off early, and we didn’t need to gamble on Martinelli. Nice to see Willian given a few minutes to show why he’s a spectator these days, though he did register his second shot on target for the season (someone told me that stat, is it really true?).
That’s three wins on the bounce. We’ve gone from relegation fodder to being laughably within 6 points of 2nd place in the league. That’ll all change, no doubt, but the truth of the league this season is it’s tight and likely to stay that way.
The Hale-Enders have made a huge difference to the energy on the pitch. Hungry players make it difficult for the not so hungry players to mail it in. These kids have careers to play for. That’s the energy we need. Strong characters that just want to play nice football.
Also worth mentioning some of the more seasoned guys out there. Rob Holding is very reliable and had another solid game at the back. Pablo Mari looks pretty sound, he has a nice touch, he passes well, and he’s dealt very well with 3 very different teams. I also like his hair. Alex Lacazette is back from the dead. His finishing has been great, his workrate has been top-notch, and he’s adapted to this false 9 role like a pro. He’s more important to this system than Auba. Shades of Teddy Sherringham in his latter years? Maybe.
Now, though our captain had a bit of a shocker again, it’s clear he’s deeply frustrated with the way he’s playing. He gives a fuck. He was running right until the end. He wanted a goal. He celebrated with the kids like he cared. That made me feel better about his form, he’s trying, it’s just not landing right now. It’ll click soon, hopefully for the cups when we’ll need his sharpshooting.
Arsenal needs to keep racking up the wins. It’s frustrating that we had so many discipline problems earlier in the season. Lose those red cards and maybe we’re even closer. Cut our losses earlier on Pepe, Luiz, and Willian, maybe we’re in better shape. Rest Partey for one more game and maybe December looks better. Still, we are where we are because we deserve it. Now things are looking brighter, the hope is that the lessons have been learned and this is the next chapter in our season.
Gabriel M is going to be a difference-maker if we keep him fit. Our best centre back is coming back into the side. Thomas Partey should be in contention for the Newcastle game, that’s our hero signing and he’s played 3 games all season. He will be massive for our run-in. ESR looks the business, he’s strong, he moves rapidly, he can take the ball on the half-turn, and he’s making the difference in big games.
The transfer window might give us some additional ammo. Firstly, we’ll move out toxic players that aren’t contributing positively. Then we’ll add some additional bits. Smith Rowe has played a big role in our mini turnaround. We only have one player like that. It is essential we find another that looks like him so we can rotate and maintain creativity. We desperately need a back-up keeper to protect us from the horror signing we made in the summer. I also think there’s a shout for a back-up left-back with Kola gone.
I hope we make mostly loans. I don’t want to load-up on panic buys that’ll cost a premium. It would be nice if we could be more thoughtful about what we do this time.
Right, short one today, listen to our on the whistle podcast and I’ll see you in the comments.