Arsenal have finally beaten Chelsea and wow, it was done in such wonderful style. I have asked a few kind Gooners from Twitter to take part in a post match Q&A of the game. If this is something you'd be interested in doing then give me a shout before or during any game via the contact page or on Twitter and I will send some questions your way
1) I noticed a lot of disgruntled Gooners when the line up was announced before the kick off, what did you make of the line up at the time?
@cvkurthukoti - I was a little worried with our midfield selection. I was hoping to see Xhaka or Elneny as I thought they will do a better job in helping Coquelin to tie down Cesc and keep him out of the game. I also thought Cazorla might struggle against the physicality of Matic and Kante, but i was wrong
@mr_arsenaI - Considering the history of the starting lineup and the results it got us in the past, I wasn't worried. Arsene opted for security and experience over risk and experiment for a big game. I was satisfied and happy with it.
@niall_lawless - I wasn’t surprised at all. For all the talk of Xhaka forcing his way into the starting line up, I think the manager would have taken more away from the match against Hull than Nottingham Forest. Asides from that, the Coquelin/Cazorla partnership grew to prominence through excellent performances against big teams (Man City, Man United, Bayern Munich etc), so having not blooded Xhaka against smaller teams I didn’t see Arsene throwing him into the line up against stronger opposition.
@Wodai - As Wenger admitted, the form of both the our first team and reserves is booming considering our games against Hull and Nottingham Forest. We all thought the money spent on Xhaka and his goals in both games was a clear indication that he was ready to start against Chelsea. So we were a bit disgruntled when the lineup emerged. We've watched this lineup fluff against PSG (a big team) and we still haven't forgiven them and so we expected similar display at Chelsea (a so-called big team)
2) What do you put the team's improvement down to?
@cvkurthukoti - I'll put it down to our front three of Alexis, Iwobi and Walcott. Their mobility and the way they are linking up with each other is excellent. I like how Alexis drops deep to collect the ball and Walcott or sometimes even Ozil makes a run into the box. Iwobi has been wonderful and is putting some very good diagonal passes to Walcott.
@mr_arsenaI - This is a team that's been together for over few years now, most of them actually. They've grown together as men and they've improved tactically and mentally. They play for each other, the fans and the manager now. Individuals shine only if the team does, which wasn't the case last few seasons. Like Arsene said, we have a group of men now.
@niall_lawless - Mainly the improvements in the front three allied with Mustafi settling in and starting to gel with Koscielny. I still think there is work to do defensively but when Walcott, Alexis and Iwobi are combining so well we are spending less time defending and our flaws aren’t being highlighted as much. Coquelin seems to be playing a bit deeper than say the Southampton and PSG games, which helps.
@Wodai - The chemistry between Kostafi (Koscelny and Mustafi) and the willingness and mobility of Alexis upfront. Alexis is gradually making the forward role his own and it's evident in his style and work ethic.
3) Who was Arsenal's best player on the day and why?
@cvkurthukoti - Very difficult to choose one but i'll go with Alexis. A goal and an assist. I choose him because he started it for us. his pressing which resulted in an error from Cahill and his composure for that goal. Fantastic finish !
@mr_arsenaI - Theo Walcott. His improvement is evident this season. He was running up and down the right hand side 90 minutes, tracking back, pressing Chelsea high up the pitch, running behind, looking for his team mates in the box. Basically, becoming a player nobody thought he could ever be. His potential wasn't even about these stuff. This is a new player in the body of a guy who's been here for 10 years now. Absolutely fantastic from him.
@niall_lawless - Really hard to say with such a complete team performance but I will go with Koscielny. Chelsea have been far from convincing in defence from what I have seen of them this year, so whilst Alexis, Ozil, Walcott and Iwobi played great, their jobs were made easier for them by some shockingly poor defending. On the other hand Hazard and especially Costa have been in great form, the fact we made them look so average was down to our defence working so well together, which was expertly marshalled by Kos.
@Wodai - Walcott was my best player on the day. He played for the team. Tracked back a lot to make Hazard ineffective and also was on hand to grab a goal. Fair play to the lad.
4) We've lost Francis Coquelin for what may well be a long time, will we miss anything he provides even with Xhaka as his replacement?
@cvkurthukoti - Coquelin has been excellent and I really feel bad for him. I think we'll miss his passion, Interceptions and last ditch sliding tackles.
@mr_arsenaI - I think we'll miss him more than people think. Mainly because in certain games he gives us that defensive stability and assurance in midfield. However, intelligence wise and the way Xhaka helps us move forward, we wont notice much of his absence. He's still a crucial squad player, a very much needed one too.
@niall_lawless - It depends on who Xhaka is partnered with, Coquelin has a surprising amount of pace for a DM. This is why he works well with Cazorla. A midfield of Xhaka and Cazorla will be a joy to watch on the ball but I would be concerned with them against better teams with more mobile midfielders than Fabregas and Matic. This is why I would prefer Ramsey or Elneny alongside Xhaka against big teams (if Coquelin is out long term) who both cover a lot of ground and are useful in the tackle.
@Wodai - People wondered why Wenger stuck with Coquelin even with the emergence of Xhaka and his goals. People failed to realise that Coquelin has improved a lot in his tactical aggression, his long and short passing and his ability to storm forward. He made the defensive midfield his own and this will surely be missed. We always thought with him in the side, there'll always be a booking. All that has changed now and the chemistry was there for all to see.
5) So apart from Xhaka coming into the side, do you want any other changes for our upcoming games?
@cvkurthukoti - I think we have a well settled starting 11. Apart from Xhaka i don't think we have to make any changes unless we are looking to rest someone. That being said I would also want to see a little more of Xhaka Elneny partnership which looked very promising against Nottingham Forest and maybe Perez upfront to give some rest to Alexis.
@mr_arsenaI - I'd like to see Gibbs get a run of games. Monreal's been sluggish as of lately, mostly defensively and Gibbs has done well this season on the two occasions he's been called up.
@niall_lawless - I would quite like to let this side get a run of games and build off the back of such a great performance. There is no need to rest Cazorla with the international break is coming up. Everyone else should be relatively fresh.
@Wodai - I've always imagined been in Wenger's shoes before now but for the first time I'm happy I'm not. Wenger's dilemma is dropping a talented, aggressive and strong Iwobi. How can you tell the young chap who has the highest assist that he can't play. We all saw the young lad against Ivanovic and Ivanovic came out worse all the time. And he seems to be everywhere in attack. The only downside of his game is that he goes missing defensively leaving Monreal exposed more often than not but when the game starts, he's a real asset to have up top. So for now, we have to plead for injuries to help us with the selection cos everyone in our first and reserve team deserve to start.
6) What did you make of the Kostafi partnership at the back? Can they make a good pairing together longer term?
@cvkurthukoti - "Kostafi" partnership was excellent. The way they coped with Costa and kept him silent was wonderful. Both of them have decent pace, stick to the players and are excellent in tackling. They are getting better with every game we play and they will make a good long term pairing
@mr_arsenaI - They are rock solid. Always aware of the opponent, dominant on the ball and in air. This partnership will exceed many people's expectation and definitely become the Premier League's finest.
@niall_lawless - They seem to be forming a good partnership but I do worry about how front footed they both are. If you set the team up to play in that way like we did against Chelsea then I think they could be great. My worry is that we may not approach every game like that, which could leave a lot of space in behind. Also Kostafi’s sliding tackles are great fun to watch but it seems inevitable the one he mistimes will be critical.
@Wodai - Kostafi partnership is pretty solid but they'll keep improving. Earlier Mustafi always failed to judge the flight of the ball but on the ground he's quite ruthless. More games will help strengthen their harmony and he'll learn from it.
7) Very early days and all that but do you expect us to challenge for the title this season?
@cvkurthukoti - We will challenge for the title this season. We will stay in the top three and put some pressure on Man City
@mr_arsenaI - Absolutely.
@niall_lawless - I do, the team is starting to click and all of a sudden we have numerous match winners. In the past two seasons we have been too reliant on one or two form players. Looking at this team we have at least two players that could get into double figures in goals with Walcott and Alexis, you also have two players who could get into double figures in assists with Ozil and Iwobi. That is before considering Giroud, Perez and Ramsey. That attacking productivity is something we have missed in the last two seasons.
@Wodai - Still early days but for the first time I expect (not hope) us to challenge this season. For the first time we have strength in depth which can easily key into our first team without killing the harmony or spirit of the team
8) In what areas do you expect this Arsenal team/squad to improve?
@cvkurthukoti - Our defensive shape when we don't have the ball and the partnership between Iwobi and Monreal. A very good team like man city will take advantage of the fact that Iwobi sometimes doesn't track back Monreal is isolated. We saw this a couple of times against Hull city. Hull city weren't good enough to punish us.
@mr_arsenaI - We've kept only 2 clean sheets so far, so I'd say I'm looking to see us improve defensively and stop conceding stupid goals. Otherwise everything seems great going forward now.
@niall_lawless - I’m hoping that this is the start of a good run form for Ozil. If he can get back to last seasons levels along with an in form Walcott, Alexis and Iwobi we have to be considered challengers. It will be interesting to see how Xhaka looks after a consistent run of games.
@Wodai - For the first time I'm optimistic that this team will go places. I don't expect us to add to the team. I'm ecstatic
9) Alexis Sanchez, 1st choice striker for the season yay or nay?
@cvkurthukoti - I always waned Wenger to give Alexis a run up front. He was not very convincing in the beginning as he got attracted to the ball and dropped deep too often. With Walcott Iwobi and Ozil making those runs into the box, Alexis dropping deep is working in our favor and i would want to see him play as a striker. His dribbling and finishing is excellent. He'll score a lot of goals and provide may assists in the coming games.
@mr_arsenaI - Yay, yay and yay.
@niall_lawless - At this stage I’m starting to believe. What Arsene said about him using unnecessary energy tracking back when playing on the wings makes too much sense. When he was first moved to striker I felt like we missed his playmaking qualities, but having Walcott move into those forward positions off sets this, as we saw with the second goal. I would still be interested in seeing Alexis right with Perez up top, but you can’t drop Walcott on current form.
@Wodai - Initially I belonged to the school of thought that wanted Alexis dropped to his traditional wing position but as evident by his performance thus far, I'm worried even for Giroud. Alexis's changed our dynamics of our forward line. He's hungrier, he's mobile, and he's efficient. Replay the return pass to Ozil for our third, he knew Ozil (who was in a better position) has opened up to receive it and returned the favour. Any striker's instinct will be to shoot. Even Luiz and Cahill expected him to shoot and so they stopped. For now, Alexis can do no wrong. I'll want him to remain up front.
10) Any other thoughts?
@mr_arsenaI - Thanks for the amazing 20 years, Arsene. Here's hoping to few more.
@niall_lawless - I’m so intrigued about Iwobi. It seems like there was such a little amount of hype for him in comparison to how impressive he looks. Usually when a player breaks through in the way he has, there would have been many predicting it. But I’ve never seen him feature in top young player lists. Maybe I’m mistaken but I find it very interesting.
@Wodai - I've looked at this team and our biggest undoing will be our treatment table. If these lads remain injury free, I expect us to compete on all fronts. Last year, even when we were flying high we still managed to lose against a hapless Chelsea side and draw a clueless Man utd side. Those inconsistent results summed up our Arsenal last term. This term, I think Liverpool met us at the worst time. I expect us to return the favour in Anfield...
Related Conetent: Chelsea (h) - A Performance We've Been Building Towards Since Pre-Season
Podcast recorded tonight and should be with you tomorrow at 12pm (GMT)