Did Arsenal need that win yesterday!
WBA made 11 changes. They rolled with kids. BUT WHO CARES.
6 goals was the medicine to the illness of the last two weeks.
Bukayo Saka dominating the game with his special talents.
Martin Odegaard showing that, actually, he’s pretty decent.
AUBA SHOWING UP LIKE A F*CKING KING.
Scoring 6 goals after barely threatening for two games was a huge, huge relief.
West Brom away in the league cup 2nd round is exactly the sort of game bigger players don’t want to play and can quite often tank in. The side they rolled out was particularly weak, so there was never really a chance they were going to do that… but be honest with me, you would NOT have been shocked going off the reaction of the last two games.
So what did we like?
Auba turned up like a captain with a point to prove and it made me feel footballistically frisky. I don’t care who knows it either. We have not seen that energy in a while. He played through the middle, he chased down lost causes, he made speculative runs… and he finished like a demon. I liked all his goals.
Is he going to do that against City? Probably not. It’s an entirely different game, but if he gets two chances in that game, I wouldn’t be shocked to see him score one of them.
Bukayo Saka looked the sharpest physically he has all season. He was relentless with his runs, his passing was sharp, and the goal he scored when Martin Odegaard backheeled a ball into his path was PEAK Arsenal. That’s what we need to see more of in the league this season.
Can I have a little shout-out for the away fans? You could hear them over the other side of the pond. I thought the home fans were excellent at the weekend, but the away fans for a midweek game were exceptional. I’m so happy about that.
Martin Odegaard looked fit and raring to go. He has a great connection with Saka, he controls the ball under pressure really well, and when he’s ready to make a lethal pass, it’s usually a good one. He’s the missing finesse we’ve been waiting for in the final third. He doesn’t have the all-action hero vibes of ESR, but he compliments what he has with a devastating final pass vision. I am VERY happy we signed him for a relative pittance.
Can we touch on a negative? What the hell was Arteta thinking with Kola as centre-back? We’ve been trying to kick him out of the club for months, now he’s taking minutes in defence? Felt a little bit nuts, I have to say. It was either some galaxy brain aberration, or it was a weird cryptic statement. The only way I could accept this is if Cal Chambers is right back for the City game at the weekend.
We also might want to have a little conversation about Nicolas Pepe. Have we regressed again? He’s just not the full ticket. His decision-making, even against kids, was very off-key. I can’t work it out, he’s either about to explode… or this is just him, hot and cold, all the time.
Aaron Ramsdale looked really solid. His kicking was strong, he’s brave from crosses, and his shot-stopping was pretty sharp. Early days, but he looks like a character.
Despite all the negativity from our fans and the media, there really is a togetherness amongst our players. pic.twitter.com/ahjRC8in3d
— Martin Wengrow (@MartinWengrow) August 26, 2021
Also… I love this picture. Cleansheet on his debut. Great stuff.
Ainsley made an appearance. He set the ball rolling in midfield for one of the goals and his speed helped bail Mo out of another loss of position in midfield. I’d love him to just accept he’s a right back. It seems such a waste of talent to watch him piss his career down the toilet over a preference when he could be one of the best right-backs in the league.
So what did we learn? Well, more senior players in the starting 11 will generally make Arsenal better in any game. We will still get beaten by City on Sunday, we likely have to accept that fate, but after the break, when everyone is back, there’s no reason we can’t go on a run of games and catch up. I totally get that there are problems at Arsenal, but the reaction to two defeats has been absurd considering the number of players we’ve missed, and the circumstances we lost them in. A 6-0 win against WBA kids doesn’t prove anything… but that feeling you got after it shows that if Arteta gets it right after the break, he can start to win some hearts and minds… something he really, really needs to do. It’s still a big lift, but let’s maybe hold back the #ArtetaOut banners until we’ve seen what the football looks like with our best players.
One final thing. There’s not a lot of it, but there’s a bit to merit comment. If your first thought after a 6-0 loss is how to frame other fans joy as an issue, you’re lost. You either don’t understand fan culture, or something is broken. Football is about joy. If you cannot enjoy your team scoring 6 goals and keeping a clean sheet, why bother? Being unhappy with a mauling isn’t standards, it’s a misunderstanding of fan culture. It’s such a shame that there’s traction for that sort of carry-on, because if you went to a pub after a game with that sort of reaction, you’d be laughed out the door. I’ve no time for that. Weird that some people do. What a sad footballing existence.
NEXT CONTENT PLEASE:
We did an On The Whistle last night. Johnny was back after ditching us for BBC 5 LIVE. We talk about the goals, the psychology of an audience, what fan opinion is all about, and some of the new signings.
P.S. Can I just say, I am VERY thankful for the people that support our live streams, videos, and podcasts. It’s been a bit of a slog building an audience, but it’s blown up over the last 6 months and I am VERY thankful for the support. x