The sample size for this new reconfigured Arsenal side has widen slightly further after a 4-0 victory at home to Watford. We had produced a good performance in Barcelona if not the result we wanted, that was followed up with a dominating victorious display at Everton. This time the team who had recently dumped us out of the FA Cup was taught a footballing lesson.
We haven't seen this energy, cohesion and fluidity in an Arsenal team on a consistent basis since October of last year and I have been yearning for it to return. It may well be a little too late, only time will tell but it certainly seems as if the tweaks to the team have made significant differences to our game.
We have been far more front footed and quicker in our passing. It is no coincidence that we have scored early in both of our last two games. At Goodison Park it took us 7 minutes and yesterday we got off the mark in the 4th minute. Iwobi's inswinging cross from the left floated perfectly onto the head of Alexis, Gomes got a hand to the header but could not recover in time to prevent Alexis scoring the rebound.
How much better has Alexis been on the right? I mean, he looks a completely different player since switching. Before the game I thought it was more down to form rather than position, that was until Theo Walcott came on late in the game and Alexis moved back to the left. There were a few incidences where we saw him cut inside and lose the ball. On the right hand side we have been able to see Alexis get in behind the opposition far more consistently. Because of this he is far more productive in the final third. Since moving to the right he has scored at Tottenham, assisted for Elneny at Barcelona and now scored and assisted for Iwobi yesterday against Watford. If Alexis can continue at that rate then we should have little problems scoring goals again, especially with Welbeck's constant probing of the opposition defence and Iwobi's desire to score goals.
Alex Iwobi made it two with a fantastic team goal, a typical Arsenal of old goal. One where the opposition cannot handle or predict the movement of the Arsenal players until the ball is rolling around the back of the net.
Two in two for 19 year old Iwobi, he doesn't look out of place at all. A few misplaced passes aside, I thought he had a very impressive match once more. His youth role as striker makes him a very intriguing wide player. He could give us a bit of everything. Physicality, awareness, work rate, goal scoring the whole caboodle.
Loved this touch
Nothing complicated but his awareness of those around him and his willingness to choose the right option is remarkable for a player with such limited top level experience. *Disclaimer - something about not getting carried away, young player etc etc*
I wrote pre match about how I hoped to see Welbeck on the score sheet and that didn't quite happen this time, that said his overall contribution is very important to the way the team plays. His movement into wide areas which allows the likes of Alexis and Iwobi to take his place in scoring positions. The pressure he puts on defenders and the keeper as you can see below is infectious.
Elneny and Coquelin in the heart of the midfield? Ooh yeah!
They hardly misplaced a pass for the entire match between them, the speed of which they (and the defenders) closed Watford down and intercepted the ball to start our attacks was great to see.
Look at the following example. First Coquelin and then Elneny taking turns to stop Watford from having any time on the ball.
It is so hard to look at it without mumbling 'what if' to yourself. But the difference between our team with Coquelin and Elneny compared to Ramsey and Flamini is night and day (and quite possibly the afternoon too)
Bellerin who was part of the intercepting gang scored the third with a deflected shot. Arsenal visibly grew in confidence after that as the game was pretty much sealed. Özil floated around the pitch and produced some lovely pieces of skill and body swerves. Allan Nyom clearly took exception to this and chopped down Mesut which earned him a yellow card. 'Oooh that guy is too skilful for us, it's insulting so I'm gonna kick him' FFS! grow up. Pathetic really.
Walcott added a late 4th after some good work from Joel Campbell.
6 goals in two games, 0 conceded.
So far so good, let's keep this going and hope that Leicester City can go the same way as Tottenham and drop some points today.