After Arsenal’s exertions in midweek against PSG in the Champions League, which somehow saw the club return with a point from France, it was pleasing to see the Gunners hit the ground running away at Hull. The Tigers had taken seven points already going into the game, so were not likely to be pushovers.
Theo Walcott, absent against PSG, was back from a knee injury and, as usual, before scoring was roundly abused by many. However, Theo’s valuable contributions would have been much appreciated by true fans, despite him losing possession on a few occasions, much to the frustration of some of the travelling supporters.
In fact, Theo had a hand in the first three goals. However, no one but substitute Granit Xhaka can take credit for the left-footed long-range screamer that made it 4-1 to Arsenal at the end.
Going back to the first goal, Iwobi’s deflected effort off Sanchez following a Walcott cross gave Arsenal the start they wanted. Arsenal were fully in control of the game and deserved their lead.
Another Walcott cross resulted in a penalty, after Livermore handled Coquelin’s shot. Livermore was sent off (controversially as it didn’t stop a certain goal), but was still on the pitch when the penalty was taken. Although Sanchez missed from the spot, if the rules were followed religiously then it should have been retaken.
Walcott’s dinked finish, following a one-two with Iwobi, was never an own goal, no matter what the BBC commentator said on ‘Match of the Day’. It was going in, so how could it matter if an opposing player touched the ball on its way in? It’s a personal gripe of mine that forward players don’t get the credit they deserve and this was another example of it.
It was Walcott again as his effort parried effort led to Sanchez scoring Arsenal’s third. Sanchez had mixed fortunes, missing a comparatively easy chance as well as the penalty, and many say he’ll never be an out-and-out striker. However, goals speak for themselves, so I’m loath to criticise Wenger’s team selection after a performance like this.
So how about the rest of the team, aside from Walcott, in no particular order?
Cech came out quickly to avert danger, early on. Later, he wasn’t as quick, conceding a penalty which Snodgrass converted.
Bellerin seems to snuff out a lot of danger on his flank, by pushing so far up the pitch that the opponents are constantly on the back foot. The same happened at Hull.
Mustafi appears to be growing in confidence, but is still prone to the occasional error.
Koscielny continues to look assured.
Monreal remains a worry, as teams seem to be targeting his flank when attacking.
Ozil wasn’t quite at the races and missed a sitter, failing to convert a rebound from Iwobi’s shot. He didn’t make the impact you’d expect from such a talent.
Cazorla was lucky to stay on the pitch, although many will argue he should have taken Arsenal’s spot kick. He got a deserved yellow early. A body check later could have meant his dismissal, as could another foul he committed.
Coquelin was slow to track back, but did offer more than normal going forward.
Iwobi is developing into a sensational player although, given his age, Arsenal fans should not get too carried away yet. He’s not shy to shoot, so the goals will come.
Sanchez is getting back to his best, so the Premier League had better watch out!