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How thoughtful of Alexis Sanchez to snatch the bill and settle payment so soon after arriving at the club. The battling Chilean International was on hand to finish off a good move as the first half was heading towards the end.

Jack Wilshere had picked up a loose ball outside of the Besiktas penalty area, he drove forwards and flicked the ball to the feet of Mesut Özil who had wondered inside from his left sided position. The German's reverse pass was intended for Jack before Alexis appeared out of nowhere to take charge and slot past the keeper for his first goal for Arsenal. Hopefully a first of many.

There has been a lot of talk of Arsenal needing a striker better than Giroud for a while now, meanwhile Alexis Sanchez must be stood there waving his hands frantically in an attempt to get some attention his way.

"I bought him to play as a striker, not to play only on the flanks." Wenger said post match and it is not the first time that the manager has spoken of his plans for Alexis Sanchez. Yet those words keep getting ignored because he doesn't look like the centre forward that some people crave.

He is a different player to Oliver Giroud and Yaya Sanogo but there is no reason why he cannot be a success as a centre forward. The team have to play to his strengths rather than Giroud's but why can that not become a positive. We could get more out of the team having someone who can receive the ball to feet or spin in behind.

At Goodison Park we didn't click as a team and Alexis was left sprinting all over the front line trying to close down opponents or make runs that were not being found. With the absence of Oliver Giroud Arsene had a choice between young Sanogo or Alexis, who would require adjustments himself as well as those around him in order to make our front line work.

Arsene kept faith in Alexis and that faith was repaid with a performance full of fight and spirit. The guys commitment in closing opposition players down is remarkable. I don't think I've seen anything like it so far. It is no surprise that Pep Guardiola paid such big money for him given the way they used to press when he was manager.

The exciting part is that Alexis still looks on a different wavelength to the other players at the moment. It took him a season to properly adjust to Barcelona so he will still need time but you'd have to be blind to miss what he can offer our team. Once he adjusts and gains confidence in a new league and team then we could have something rather special on our hands.

Jack Wilshere was back to his surging best last night. He had played his part in our goal and continued to create space by running through the Turkish midfield. Interestingly I read a comment somewhere about Jack's best performances last season and a vast majority of them happened when Aaron Ramsey was not available. It is a point that Christopher Overton observed in a recent article

Perhaps that is why Arsene has adjusted our set up to fit in Jack into the team. It's a little early to categorically say that Jack and Aaron cannot play together, I think they would be very good when we don't have the ball in the big games but time will tell how they get on togetjer when the team is much sharper.

Speaking of playing without the ball. How good was Santi Cazorla in that second half? Who needs a big beast of a 'DM' when you have little Santi scampering around throwing his body in between the opposition and the ball as he did so often last night. I thought he worked tirelessly for he team and it was infectious. I'd love him to find the form of his first season at Arsenal, a joy to watch when on song.

Debuchy has been impressive so far. Far more effective going forward than our former number 3. I feel like something might happen when he is running onto a ball slipped down the right where as I expected a poor delivery in the past. I love his commitment but he needs to rein in the aggression. Not that he deserved to be sent off for a challenge he quite clearly won in the second half.

He had saved our bacon in the first half with a last ditch tackle in the box. Jack Wilshere was somewhat more lucky when a Besiktas player tumbled in the box after what might have been a clip on the ankle.

But we restricted the opposition to very few chances and that was due to the work rate from the entire team. Demba Ba could have broke hearts late on but his view of the cross was blocked by a leaping Mertesacker.

It wasn't vintage (I've said that already this season) but what impresses me is that we do not have to play well to win games and that will put us in good stead when our game does improve, which it will.

Group D

Arsenal
Borussia Dortmund
Galatasary
Anderlecht

  • 15 Sep 2015
    So let me stop reminiscing of days gone by and let me focus on our Welsh wonder. Let me start off by saying that I think it is quite obvious that Aaron Ramsey is better in central midfield. His partnership with Mesut Özil, his running from deep and his underrated ball winning ability makes him a ...Read more