First off, apologies for the four-day break in posts on TremendArse. My adjustment to new working commitments is taking a little longer than I envisaged but hopefully normal service should be resumed from today.
With it being the final stretch of the international break, we didn’t miss much anyway before Arsenal returned to action by hosting Watford yesterday afternoon, when an unchanged side picked up where they’d left off in the league against Everton a fortnight ago by securing three points and keeping a clean sheet.
Alex Iwobi made his second-ever Premier League start and just like he did in his debut at Goodison Park, marked the occasion with a very well-taken goal to cap another impressive personal performance. Indeed, this time the Nigerian international also created a goal – our first after just four minutes for Alexis Sanchez.
Iwobi’s perfectly flighted cross from the left was headed goal-wards by the Chilean, who then tapped home with his left foot after Heurelho Gomes had saved his initial effort. It was a deserved opener for the Gunners after a bright start and having dominated the first half, we doubled our lead seven minutes before the interval. This time roles were reversed as Sanchez’s right-wing cross was expertly converted by Iwobi as he swept it home first time before wheeling away and reproducing that gun-firing celebration he introduced against the Toffees.
The game was all but over as a contest just three minutes into the second period when Hector Bellerin’s left-footed strike was deflected past Gomes after our Cockney Catalan had linked well with Sanchez on the right. Then at the death, Joel Campbell crossed for fellow substitute Theo Walcott to tap home at the near post and complete the scoring.
So overall it was a pretty comfortable day at the office for Arsene Wenger’s men, built on a very effective midfield base of Francis Coquelin and Mohamed Elneny and with a forward quartet in Iwobi, Sanchez, Mesut Ozil and Danny Welbeck, who seem to have the perfect blend of attacking attributes between them, combining well and functioning far more fluently than most other combinations we’ve tried this season.
Tottenham’s two dropped points at Anfield yesterday added to the feel-good factor but Leicester’s fourth consecutive one-nil win today leaves them needing four wins from their final seven games to be crowned champions, so it’s very hard not to feel it’s all too little too late as far as our own recent wins go.
Yet Iwobi, for one, is still contemplating winning the title. He said:
It’s crazy, a mad feeling. When you’re young, you dream of this and this is like a dream come true, winning with this team. Winning the title would be amazing but we’re taking each game as it comes, game by game, and we will see where we end up come the end of the season.
Meanwhile, Arsene explained why the win pleased him and praised the impact of Iwobi, saying:
I am very happy because it was a good performance. We scored goals and didn’t concede, and kept the game having a good flow even at 3-0 up. I am pleased with Alex Iwobi’s talent but even more with his attitude and his willingness to learn and to contribute with his teamwork.
Last year it was Coquelin, earlier this season we had Campbell, and now as we near the end of the campaign Iwobi has emerged from nowhere to make himself first-choice and it’s fully deserved. If he can keep playing like he has these last few games, there’s no reason why he can’t stay in the side long-term like Coquelin, rather than drop away a little like Campbell.
He’s got the ability to go it alone as well as play the intricate pass and move football we like so much and it’s possessing that combination of skill-sets that gives him an edge over more established team-mates for a regular starting berth in my opinion.
See you next week.