2-0 won doesn’t answer all the questions for Arsenal

It was like watching an Arsene Wenger side against Sam Allardyce’s Bolton.

Watford are a big, physical, athletic side. They place close to the line, often stepping over what is considered legal. Pull backs, clips, trips and body checks. All behind the referees back to try and gain an advantage.

For once it did not work as Arsenal ran out 2-0 winners.

Since returning to the Premier League, Watford have been a 70 minutes side.

They are physical with a high work rate, but die in the last 20 minutes. They did it against Spurs mid-week, they did it on Saturday against Arsenal, and they will probably do it in the league.

I expect them to continue a fine start to the season – this was just their XX defeat – until about February. At that point they will have enough points to stay up and will collapse in exhaustion, having put so much energy and effort into the first 5 months.

On Saturday, for much of the game, their dirty tactics worked as Anthony Taylor waved away late challenges and off the ball incidents. The fact the referee decided to book Shkdoran Mustafi for asking for a corner, whilst not giving Trot Deeney a justified second yellow for a crude and late challenge summed up what Arsenal were up against.

But like at home against Bolton, we got through. We got the 3 points. We made it 7 wins in a row. And with Chelsea and Liverpool drawing 1-1, we sit fairly pretty in the league.

The game changed in its substitutions. Not the one where Petr Cech went off for Bernd Leno, but the two late ones.

Firstly on came Alex Iwobi for Aaron Ramsey.

The game passed the Welshman by, and not for the first time this season. You can see by that performance, how he struggled to fit in, why Emery, Sven and Raul are now unwilling to make him our second highest paid player. He was ineffective.

Iwobi meanwhile is proving a lot of people wrong this season.

Physically he has it all. He is big, strong and quick. He has silky skills but just needed the confidence and vision to match his size and strength. This season he looks a new player and he changed the game.

Always busy, always direct. It is easy to forget that he only turned 22 at the end of last season.

Danny Welbeck also came on with a fine cameo. He is so good in these situations. Able to both hold the ball up, win headers, and stretch teams. He and Iwobi showed why those who called for Eddie Nketiah and Reiss Nelson to be in the Arsenal first team squad ahead of them are premature.

What Emery has done in his short Arsenal career so far is make the right substitutions depending on the situation.

In recent weeks we have seen Mesut Ozil and Alexandre Lacazette pulled off. Saturday it was the turn of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Aaron Ramsey. The Spanish manager is clearly not one for reputation. It is all about winning the game.

One man who can be concerned about his future – alongside Aaron Ramsey – is Henrikh Mkhitaryan.

The early goal keeper change meant that only two outfield options could be used to change the game. Emery went for Iwobi and Welbeck ahead of the Armenian.

He might have been coming back from a slight knock (again) but it is hard to see how he fits in with what Emery is trying to do.

Emery does have some decisions to make before next weekends games against Fulham (why is this on at noon on Sunday?)

Aubameyang looks ineffective out wide. Playing him to the side of Lacazette does not work.

Likewise Ozil does not influence the game on the other wing, with Ramsey inside him.

We looked a much better side with Welbeck and Iwobi our wide and Ozil in the middle.

It could be time to make the two ultimate decisions. Ozil or Ramsey; Lacazette or Aubameyang.

It suddenly feels like I am being very negative.

7 wins in a row. With Qarabag and the Fulham, we can make that 9.

The future is bright.


1 thought on “2-0 won doesn’t answer all the questions for Arsenal

  1. Charles Charlie Charles

    The Emirates should be renamed Disneyland London. Full of tourists, overpriced food and drink, no atmosphere until the fireworks at the end.
    The only difference between Euro Disney and the Bowl, is that Euro Disney is a lot cheaper. Seriously thinking of giving it all up and becoming an armchair supporter.



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