Unai Emery’s red army showed they have the quality to win the big games with an impressive 2-0 victory over Chelsea at the weekend. Since their last notable win, at home against Tottenham, Arsenal had faded as Emery tinkered with the formation and personnel a little too much. The blueprint for success is now clear, and Arsenal must continue with the diamond formation / 433 to get the best out of the personnel they have.
So who are the big winners? Alexandre Lacazette’s opener against Chelsea showed once again that the Frenchman is a man for the big occasion. Creating the space himself, staying on his feet when most would’ve gone down and then smashing the ball into the roof of the net, he’s a great striker and the quality that both he and Aubameyang regularly show, highlights what money can buy you.
Emery had been against playing with two strikers due to a lack of balance, however what we saw against Chelsea was both strikers working tirelessly defensively as well as in attack to show that it can work and they can give the team defensive balance as well as goals. Aubameyang made 3 tackles in the game whilst Lacazette’s high press saw him make 3 interceptions – this type of performance will need to continue for them to both stay in the eleven.
In defence, Arsenal switched to a back four and looked much more comfortable. Despite Koscielny taking the headlines, Sokratis controlled the game with 50 passes compared to Koscielny’s 32, which bodes well for the Greek defenders matchday rankings score. Mustafi, who now looks likely to be out of the starting 11, is currently £1.35 on the Index, Koscielny £1.44 and Sokratis just £1.04. Considering Sokratis appears the clubs best defensive dividend threat he looks cheap and when he scored in the Europa League earlier this season with a score of 225 he won 18p in dividends, more than 10% of his current value.
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Despite lots of criticism, Granit Xhaka again showed his quality in a big game, controlling the midfield at the base of a diamond for the most part. If Arsenal continue with this formation, he will only see more and more of the ball and give himself a great chance of more dividends this season. Sitting under £2 and with Europa League fixtures to come, the 26-year-old looks a pretty safe purchase.
Arsenal’s next qualifying fixture on the Index is a home match against Cardiff on a single matchday, a great chance for some of their players to show their value.