But Alexis was the big bright point of the game and I've a good idea that's what all the respondents will say in this article! His passing was a concern early in the season, often he was a tad careless with the ball which left us open to counter attack. But his completion rate was 82% v Chelsea and 86% yesterday. That shows he's listening and working on it. He's making better decisions now and his ability to beat players is such a boon against teams that sit deep like Hull. Quite simply, without him, we lose the game and probably don't muster more than a handful of shots.
The rest of the team is as you would expect with the injuries we have. The one shock is that one Aaron Ramsey has taken his place on the bench. He seems to be back a lot sooner than we thought. Perhaps Shad is spreading magic. I doubt we'll even see him on the pitch today but having him back is a massive boost. Let's hope he finds his form quickly and kicks us on.
Quality-wise, in the front 5 I think we have a very solid set of players. We have enough quality to deal with injuries/tiredness there. That doesn't mean quality won't drop, it will, but there's more than enough quality to do the job for those 5 positions. Rarely do you have a backup player who is as good as the player he's being benched for. Looking at the back 5, we have excellent quality in GK and LB positions, we're solid at RB with Debuchy, Bellerin and Chambers. I'm a big fan of Hayden and he was one of our best performers in the Southampton loss but that's just his 2nd senior game and perhaps a bit too little for a sample to judge him on but our other 3 CBs- Kos, Per and Chambers are quality as well. Put it this way, I wouldn't have a problem if we played Bellerin against a non-top-7 team in the PL. Monreal, during Gibbs layoff this season, was our most consistent defender. Chambers, from what we've seen is going to be very good. He's already very good. The DM position is where we don't
There is no doubt that, at this moment in time, Chelsea are the superior force in the Premier League and their near-perfect record demonstrates as much. But what really sets Chelsea apart is their power and aggressiveness, for without it, their attacking flare simply wouldn't be enough in what is widely regarded the most physical of Europe's top 5 leagues. Although it is clichéd to say that you've got to give as good as you get, in the Premier League, you kind of do. And up until now, in recent years that is, we have rarely seen an Arsenal side that is combative and physically dominating
Its odd because whilst we are more competitive today I don't see us being any closer come May. It seems there are too many things up in the air right now. We aren't sure of our best team, best formation, where to play our best players and that is disappointing given the solid base we had from last season and the confidence winning a trophy gave the club. I believe Arsene will fix all of this eventually but the dropped points whilst we adjust plus the 9 point head start has probably finished any chances we had of winning the title
As I mentioned pre match, Arsene was likely to revert back to the 4141 which I imagine was designed for these big games. Jack Wilshere comes into the middle of the pitch to add some much needed bite so I expect Mesut Özil to move wide left. Alexis Sanchez should play from the right flank trying to support Danny Welbeck. The system has been inconsistent so far so let us hope now is the time where it pays off.
Welbeck is the obvious standout performer of the night. To get his first ever professional hat trick and to do it on a Champions League night is no mean feat. His work rate was phenomenal tonight and his ability to run in behind is an asset we lacked when Giroud is in the side (and Walcott out). There have been several similarities drawn between the King and "dat guy" tonight. I'd suggest we don't get too ahead of ourselves, but its not hard to see why. I don't see Danny reaching quite that height, however you can't but be excited after a performance like tonight's. That run from the halfway line so late in the game showed some of the qualities this Arsenal side has missed going forward in the last couple of seasons
- Galatasaray (h) Confirmed Line Up: Alexis & Santi back in for injured duo
- Tottenham (h) "He just seems to shout and point a lot but not actually do anything" - Q&A
- Don't spoil the fantasy, just let Mesut be Özil
- Southampton (h) "Podolski and Rosicky that let themselves down" - Q&A
- Southampton (h) Confirmed Line Up: Alexis & Wilshere give youth a sprinkle of experience
- On Offensive Defence
- Aston Villa (a) "Arsene gave Özil some of his freedom back" - Q&A