It’s finally happened.
Arsenal have clicked.
A very good result in a thrilling game. That was football, none of this Chelsea travesty that is poisoning the game. I’ll touch on the Spurs game briefly, but due to team changes none of those players are in the running for player of the week, but they wouldn’t have stood a chance anyway based on Saturday’s electrifying performance from a few big players. Flamini was a key part, obviously. Bang, thunder, where did he pull that from? Good if he did that more often. Doubt it, though. Chambers did all right, even with his own goal. He’s picking those up too often, it’s becoming a little worrying. I thought Gibbs was our best player, and Debuchy our worst, so interesting contrast there with two players paddling in the same boat. The thing with Gibbs is when he works, he really works, and when he doesn’t he’s usually a liability. No such problems with the ever-excellent Monreal, a real solid defender who doesn’t get the plaudits he deserves.
Okay, now to Leicester. Alexis Sanchez has soared back to stardom with a blistering, deadly game. That’s him at his peak, one tap in, one giant header, one bullet from nothing. That’s his catalyst and he should go on a thunderous run now. You sensed it was coming, and you sensed as soon as he got his goal the gates would open, and they did, for Leicester, the gates of hell. But the real plus from Saturday was Theo Walcott, showing, not for the first time, that when he plays well in that role, he tears the opposition apart. He’s my pick for the week.
Theo is growing every game, bar the Chelsea horror show, but nothing could be done about that. The player said himself after the game that the more he plays up front the more he improves. It looks like he’s supporting those claims, and most importantly, he’s supporting them with goals and effective performances. The goal came from a counter attack, and I’ve preached before that this is how we should play with Theo. We are a better counter attacking team than a possession based one. All of Arsenal’s best football comes from defence to attack, because that’s when players like Ozil and Theo really come into play. but it was Alexis and Santi who split Leicester open with two precise passes, leaving Theo to run in behind, which he did all game, and coolly slot his goal away. That makes Theo record an impressive 12 in his last 13 Premier league starts. That’s efficiency. That’s the statistic of an effective striker. It was good to see people applause Walcott’s display even after hat-trick hero Alexis. He played along the line all game and was a constant menace, which we all know he can be. He could have had more goals, and he’s shot output signals his growing confidence. Okay, he missed a few, but it’s all good signs for Arsenal. Even Giroud’s popping up with goals from the bench, something the Frenchman does very well.
The Englishman really was impressive, and when I think of Theo, I think back to the Tottenham game where he broke his leg. That’s the best he’s ever been. That night he showed that he could be the striker we needed, he was strong, lethal and electric. They couldn’t handle him. If he gets back to that level, then our striking issue is not as big an issue as everybody fears. The bigger issue is relying on Arteta. Although, credit where it’s due, the Arsenal captain put in fantastic display, off from the bench, with no warm up. If he starts playing regularly then the team will start to slowly suffer, not because he’s no good, but his age has caught up with him, there’s no sugar-coating it. Used sparingly, he can be a key asset. But his situation always make me question the captaincy issue, it’s very odd at Arsenal. A captain should be playing every week, and utterly dependable. Arteta is a great club captain, but we need and consistent leader on the pitch. We’ve been relying on vice captains for the many years, why not give it to someone you know won’t go missing? There’s still a lot of underlining issues regarding Wenger’s management. I don’t think they’ll ever be addressed whilst he’s here, all we can hope for is that team clicks and stays that way all season.