Well that was a pleasant surprise. A really hard working win, away against a team that is lauded for their organisation and solidity. It was a victory based more on endeavour than skill, but as Mikel says, that type of endeavour is non-negotiable if we are to get consistent results. He is clearly starting with the base before he starts putting on any icing. His philosophy is possession-based free-flowing attacking football, so I am happy to wait for it to emerge.
We scored two good goals and restricted them to one shot on target. No one can legitimately suggest that we didn’t both earn and deserve the victory.
Luiz, Mustafi and especially Xhaka, were magnificent. This isn’t an exaggeration, much as it must infuriate the hissy fit brigade.
No point me going over events you will all have seen, so I’ll just point out a few things that I think went slightly under the radar.
Tierney struggled. Now a I know he’s flavour of the month, but he really does struggle with his positioning when trying to stop his winger. He looks much better going forward than defending, something I’m sure he and Mikel will get right. His attitude seems exemplary.
AMN made a huge difference when he came on, at left back. Yes, left back! He is way more talented than he gets credit for. We rightly wax lyrical about Saka’s versatility, but Ainsley’s seem to go unheralded.
Aubameyang puts in an unbelievable shift, but his hold-up play and passing leaves much to be desired, that won’t change at his age, and maybe explains why Arteta is reluctant to play him as CF? Let‘a not forget though how brilliant he is on the left. It’s not like we lose his goals.
Saka, despite his fantastic goal, struggled on the right. He got better but it was still a struggle. It seems he was shoehorned into the eleven but even if he was, it can only help with his development. He is a mouthwatering prospect.
Sead is terrible at passing the football. I know Mikel is desperate to have a left-footed CB, but he can’t be other than a very short term solution.
Ok, that will do from me, have a lovely Sunday and be careful out there.