A Brace of Braces
A brace for Alexi and a brace for Giroud off the bench is the forward performance that the fans have been dreaming of for years. The Sunderland match over the weekend magnified the squad depth that we are still getting used to utilizing. The rotation that Arsene has allowed us to have this season is a sight for sore eyes. Just as we enter the dreaded month of November, we see Ramsey and Giroud return to the side!
The commentators made a good point during the match, stating that Arsenal is at a status where every player who comes in needs to improve on the last. The fact that the players in the squad know each other and the club so well is allowing for seamless replacement. We are now able to rotate for form instead of solely trying to mitigate injuries! This was seen over the weekend with Kieran Gibbs and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain stepping into the starting lineup.
Monreal has found it very difficult in the last two weeks, with pacey wingers getting in behind him. It may have been opposition tactics, and he may have been tired, but Gibbs was more than capable of stepping in and he played extremely well! He dominated their right wingers, and as always, was very good going forward with an eventual assist. Oxlade-Chamberlain also had a huge impact on the match. He started ahead of Walcott today and put in the full effort on attack and tracking back. He seemed to be constantly on the ball, which is a great indicator of desire and positioning.
It’s fantastic to see, with the likes of Cazorla and Xhaka unavailable for this match, that we have perfectly substantial replacements in Elneny and Coquelin. Ramsey even looked pretty comfortable when he got on the pitch. Unlike the Ox, Iwobi seemed to get lost in the back nine of Sunderland’s defense. He played well, but at such a young age I think he may need a rest in the coming weeks.
The substitution of Giroud for Iwobi is an absolute tactical weapon for us. With Iwobi positioned as a winger, Giroud will give us more of a 4-4-2 and drag that tight back line apart toward the end of a match. This is especially true when Oli delivers like he did! Both of his goals were the touches of an in-form striker. It’s nice to have him back and it’s great to have an option for a parked bus of an opposition!
We leave this match with a confident side and a brace for both, Sanchez and Giroud. It’s onward to the North London Derby!
EFL Cup - Reading
The Arsenal rebounded from a disappointing weekend with a solid performance from the youth side against Reading. Both of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s goals were slightly fortunate, but he made the individual effort to get into the position to take the chances. It is disappointing to see Lucas go down with an ankle ligament injury just as he was starting to work his way into the side.
Ainsley Maitland-Niles has worked incredibly hard over this last year. I watched him very closely in the preseason and youth matches, and his performance against Reading earned him an appearance in the Premier League this weekend! Huge credit must also be given to Rob Holding for yet another solid performance overall and his effort to keep the ball in play before the Giroud assist.