Match Report and Ratings v Chelsea
By Matty Sadler
September 19 2017
I was expecting a classic "Arsenal at the Bridge Whipping" to be honest, even before I'd seen the starting eleven, but that just made me even more pessimistic. I'm not sure whether it came from the manager, or the players themselves, but there was quite obviously a change in how we usually approach these games. It reminded me of that away game at the Etihad a few years ago, where nobody gave us a prayer, but we went with an Alexis-Ramsey- Coquelin-Cazorla-Oxlade-Chamberlain midfield, ran them off the park and won 2-0.
Instead of Wenger's usually "we concentrate only on our own game" b*llocks, which sees full backs bombing forward without a care in the world, midfielders/ wingers allowed to do whatever we like and massive gaps in our shape, it appeared that some thought and planning had gone into our approach. Our defence and midfield remained close together, our wing backs showed discipline, and Welbeck and Iwobi did an excellent job supporting the midfield. Aside from the opening 10 minutes, and Pedro's one-on-one, I thought we were comfortably the better side and, on another day, could've won the game.
Of course I'm not celebrating a 0-0, but it was a nice surprise. I've never had any doubts that the players are capable of such a disciplined performance, but it obviously isn't what they're instructed to do most of the time. Of course, all of this will mean nothing if it isn't put into practise in future big games. I thought the back three were excellent, as were the wing backs. Xhaka did well and Ramsey was superb. More of that please.
Cech - 7. Good save from Pedro in the first half, also dealt with a hot Monreal back pass well. Quiet second half, but handling exemplary throughout.
Koscielny - 8. Quality. Can only imagine what he could've achieved playing under a better manager.
Mustafi - 8. Real battle against Morata but he came out on top and played well overall. Will start every week if he carries on like that, but whilst his "tight" style of defending was idea against Morata, I wouldn't fancy him trying it against a faster forward.
Monreal - 8.5. Faultless throughout. My second choice for MOTM.
Bellerin - 7.5. Back to his best in the first half. More reserved in the second half.
Xhaka - 7. Good in possession, strong defensively. Clearly benefited from our more considered approach.
Ramsey - 9. Covered every blade of grass, strong defensively, quality in possession. Hit the post. MOTM.
Kolasinac - 7. Shaky first 10 but recovered well and offered energy up and down the left throughout. We're very lucky he didn't he didn't suffer a bad injury.
Iwobi - 6.5. Mature, disciplined performance without the ball, which was key to why we didn't lose, but very poor in possession, which was disappointing.
Lacazette - 5. Missed a sitter, looked slow and passing was sloppy. Disappointing.
Welbeck - 7. Disciplined and hard working, just didn't offer a goal threat. Hope he isn't out for long.
Alexis - 6. Lively, and showed great dribbling, without making much of an impact.
Giroud - 5. Put himself about without getting any service.
Elneny - 4. Honestly, shocking. Just compare his impact to Bakayoko's...
Sorry this is late. Hope you've all been well!
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