1) The Scoreline – Arsenal scored 3 goals, Chelsea did not score. Pretty simple really.
2) The midfield battle – Francis Coquelin and Santi Cazorla dominated the first part of the game. Coquelin playing high up the pitch, pressing, Cazorla having the freedom of the park. When Coquelin got injured, Arsenal were able to replace him with Granit Xhaka. Not since being able to replace Gilberto with Edu have we had such a class midfielder on the pitch. And Xhaka continued where Coquelin left off. Destroying the Chelsea midfield. And winning the battle against N’golo Kante.
3) Mesut Ozil – Often criticised for not stepping up in the big games, Ozil showed why he is a world class player. They way he turned Kante on the edge of the Arsenal box, ran the length of the pitch, leaving Kante in his dust, and then got to the far post to volley it in was magnificent.
4) Alexis Sanchez – When we signed Sanchez, their was talk that he would be a striker at Arsenal. Recently Arsene Wenger was quoted as saying that Sanchez could be a mix of Suarez and Aguero. Many scoffed, saw it as reasoning behind Wenger not buying a striker. But this is a player, remember, who plays upfront on his own for his country, and led them to victory in the last 2 Copa America. His pace and power upfront is a threat. And with 47 goals goals in 100 games, he certainly knows how to find the back of the net.
5) Theo Walcott – Over the summer, most wanted him out, I wanted him out, but yesterday he put in a performance that we have not seen for years. In 2012/13 Walcott was excellent. 21 goals and countless more assists. He looked like he had finally arrived. Then he had 3 years of injury and uselessness. This season he seems to have turned it around again. Yesterday was his 3rd goal of the season. As a comparison, Joel Campbell has 3 league goals in his Arsenal career. If Walcott keeps it going, it will be testament to both his change in attitude and Arsene Wenger’s man management skills.
6) Hector Bellerin – Is there a better right back in world football at the moment? He had Eden Hazard in his pocket. He can defend and attack. And can start 20 meters behind an opponent, catch him up and win the ball easily with space to spare.
7) Arsene Wenger – A lot will say that yesterday was partly to do with Antonio Conte getting his tactics wrong, but let’s give Wenger some credit, he got his tactics spot on. From playing Sanchez up top, encouraging him to drop deep pulling David Luiz out of place, Coquelin’s high press, Bellerin pushing tight on Hazard and Cazorla playing deepest of the midfield giving him the time and space to dictate the game. Even Wenger’s subs worked out. Xhaka, whilst forced, showed strength on the bench. Gibbs tightened the left hand side, and Olivier Giroud gave us a target man upfront and extra height at corners. Wenger got it right.
8) John Terry – You need a leader at the back. In recent seasons Arsenal have struggled without Per Mertesacker. Man U have not found one since Rio Ferdinand retired. Man City with Kompany look leaderless. And Chelsea showed without John Terry that they are clueless at the back. Sanchez’s goal came from a Gary Cahill mistake. And Ozil’s was by both Cahill and Luiz going towards Sanchez leaving Ozil free at the far post. Without Terry, they did not have someone who could direct play.
9) Calm Costa – Not exactly Diego Costa being calm, but more the Arsenal centre backs being calm around Costa. Koscielny and Mustafa look a partnership already. Both won the ball, cleanly, off Costa, but went in hard enough to leave him on the floor moaning. towards the end of the game, Koscielny once more left Costa in a heap, Costa reacted running half the length of the pitch to confront both the ref, than Koscielny. The Frenchman laughed it off, Costa got booked. It was an uncompromising performance by Arsenal’s new centre back partnership. And a captains performance by Koscielny.
10) Selfies – Finally, Rio Ferdinand “slammed” Arsenal for a post match selfie. Yet a year ago, he said Roy Keane was “out of touch”
Up the Arse