It was a perfect Sunday afternoon. We dominated from the beginning until end, didn’t offer too many opportunities to the visitors and our finishing finally matched our attacking potential.
We had no injuries (at least I hope not – Ospina’s fall after the last corner did not look pleasant), red cards or conceded goals. On top of that, two brilliant youngsters contributed to our victory – Akpom earned a penalty and Bellerin crowned his brilliant display with a lovely finish.
Here are the key points to take from the game:
1.Everything starts from a strong defence…
David Ospina has kept a clean sheet for the third league game in a row but the best part is he was rarely tested. The Colombian replied with a superb save to Westwood’s shot when he was called upon but other than that, our defenders kept things tidy and didn’t allow Benteke & co. to create problems.
2….and the significance of the midfield balance cannot be underestimated…
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Last season we lost the home tie against Aston Villa due to two things: Anthony Taylor and our lack of balance in the middle. The Ramsey-Wilshere axis didn’t work last term as they kept bombing forward which left Koscielny and Mertesacker unprotected against the bursting runs of Benteke and Agbonlahor. Now, with Coquelin protecting the back four we look rock-solid.
3….but at the end of the day there is no better defence than a great attack.
It was a joy to watch Mesut Özil, Theo Walcott, Santi Cazorla and Olivier Giroud messing with the minds of the Villains. Our movement was great, passing in the final third well-timed and finishing clinical. Our counter-attacks worked well and with pacey players like Walcott and Alexis (let’s not forget that the Chilean didn’t play today) supplied by the masters of passing like Özil and Cazorla we can out-score pretty much every team in Europe.
4.Mesut Özil likes to play against Aston Villa.
The German gave another MoTM performance against the Villains and it seems that he enjoys playing against them. It was his second game in a row in which he found himself on the score-sheet. His pass for Giroud was out of this world, an act of a genius, something Dennis Bergkamp would been proud of.
5.Theo Walcott is back!
My favourite goal today was our third. Everyone expected Cazorla’s pass to find Giroud who was entering the box on the left but Walcott cut in and scored an Henry-esque finish to put the game to bed. It was his second goal of the season and a fine preview of what we can expect in the forthcoming weeks.
6.Chuba Akpom is going to be a menace.
The youngster looked lively from the moment he came in and grabbed an assist after Guzan brought him down in the box. He should have scored himself but neither of his two attempts were successful. But we should not worry, with his talent and pace goals will eventually arrive.
7.Olivier Giroud was excellent.
The Frenchman scored an unusual goal as he collected Özil’s pass near the center of the pitch. He ran on goal, almost over-complicated things but found composure to score his seventh league goal this term. It’s been very fine return for a player that spent three-and-half months on the sidelines. The Frenchman made a wonderful pass for Özil for our second goal of the game and was unlucky to hit the bar with a header later on.
8.Hector Bellerin is going to be a big sensation.
It’s hard to find a full-back of Bellerin’s age at a top European club except for, well, Bellerin. The Spaniard capped his (and our) performance with a well-executed finish from the outside of the box.
9.Santi Cazorla did it again.
Santi was lucky to score a penalty today but it was well deserved for the Spaniard. With six goals to his account, he is close to reaching double-digits for the first time since his debut Arsenal season.
10.Arsene Wenger deserves credit too.
The Frenchman has insisted playing Özil on the left wing. It’s not something that I like but it turned out to be a great decision by the manager today. He deserves credit for our winning streak – we have won five in a row.