Good morning Positives old and young,
There is a concept much bandied about by the punditti of “Winning Ugly” which, on most occasions as far as I can see, involves a team playing poorly, having a slice of luck, clinging on like grim death to fortune’s undeserved award and making off with the points.
Well last night I think our lads may have coined/created the new concept of “Winning Beautiful”. Let me elaborate. I have in mind Arsenal were playing football of the highest quality from the start of the match, dominating the opposition all over the pitch for 92 minutes, scoring two delightful and entirely deserved goals. There was no fouling, diving or cheating, and we earned an entirely justified reward. Every man of the 14 who played was a credit to the club, to the fans and to their old Mums. So Mr Shearer, Mr Murphy and Mr Lineker poke that up your collective pipe of inane jargon for future reference.
Of the game itself I had the advantage of not seeing it live and suffered no distractions from social media. Santi buzzed like a hornet and I doubt he has had a more influential game in the past three seasons. Hector showed an attacking, creative flair that makes me wonder whether a Philip Lahm style move forward into midfield might not be in his future ( if of course we did not have such a plethora of talent across our middle regions). Another defensive masterclass from Kosc and Mustafi, with it taking an hour for the Swiss to land a shot of goal, and even that was from outside the box. Credit to Ospina, called from his slumber just once but his sharp Colombian hand saved the one decent effort from the Toblerone toilers.
But you are waiting for me to come to the two men on whom our evening pivoted, nay I would say “pirouetted”. I think we now all know why Arsene decide to persevere with Alexis as a striker don’t we ? The system just about clicked perfectly into place last night, with balls wedged over the top of the Basel defence to the Chilean, not too hard, not too soft, just perfect. And when it did not go over the Basel defence, Sanchez dropped short and went through them. It has taken five/six games to really work as well as it did last night, and for Santi, Mesut, Theo and Alex Iwobi to find the right wavelength but the reception as clear as a bell last night.
And top of the class our reborn right winger, the man of the moment, who can’t stop banging then in Theo Walcott. He absolutely terrified the Swiss left back Traore from the first whistle. The visitors never found an answer to his running. What struck me is there was so much confidence in the player last night, a certainty that when he took on man he would pass him, or hit a shot it would be on target.
For our visitors Vaclik was outstanding and the reason a 2-0 win was not 5.
It would have been pleasant to see a score that reflected our dominance, and the one irritation of the evening was the number of presentable chances that were not converted. Sanchez hoofing the advertising hoarding in frustration on 89 minutes indicated that he was not satisfied. That may however be a feature of “Winning Beautiful” – less is more.
Highly competent referee – young chap, just 33 – Danny Makkelie – I bet we hear more of him.
So onward to Turf Moor on Sunday and no doubt a rousing, meat and potato pie throwing welcome from Lancashire’s finest. A little rotation in order you ask ? We shall see. One tinkers with such precision engineering very carefully.
Enjoy your week.