It certainly makes a change to be writing about Arsenal in a positive frame of mind, rather than either a wholly negative, or at best hopeful one. Yesterday felt, to me at least, like a win that could have come earlier, were it not for indiscipline, but a performance that was long overdue.
There have already been match reviews on this site and as usual and excellent summary of the game on allarsenalnews.com so I would like to consider the contribution of the Arsenal Youth to the win over Chelsea, and the lovely dilemma it gives Mikel Arteta.
We will never know if the manager would have made the selections he made yesterday, without being faced with the loss of his Brazilian trio but we can all agree the omission of Willian, was overdue anyway. The ex-Chelsea man arrived on the ack of a good 19/20 but for whatever reason he has not found his feet yet in North London. Martinelli, after a superb return against Man City was given the nod but also Emile Smith Rowe finally got his Premier League start in his favoured central attacking role.
The Tactical change that saw Lacazette move from the role behind striker, to his preferred role, also saw Nketiah move to the bench. This allowed Arteta to play with Martinelli and Saka as hardworking inverted wide-men and for Smith-Rowe to play his natural game. It certainly the seemed that exuberance and energy of those three behind the senior player rubbed off on the old man Lacazette, who had to raise his own levels to benefit from and link with them.
All three young players deserved to keep their shirts based on the Chelsea match, but will they? The drive and dynamism, Martinelli, Smith-Rowe and Saka offered, and to be fair Willock, when he came on, should embarrass the likes of Pepe and Willian. I hope it will ensure when both do get chance again, they learn from their junior peers, when it should be the other way around. I was genuinely pleased with the arrival of Willian and thought his experience and work-rate would help Saka blossom further this season, but in this poor run of Premier League form the young Englishman has stood out from the crowd, while the Brazilian may as well have been in the crowd. It was no surprise he was the Sky Sports MOTM.
In essence the one big decision for Arteta therefore is whether he brings in his fit and rested skipper, Aubameyang on Tuesday for the trip to Brighton. I am running a poll on Twitter, in which nearly 2000 have voted and the majority would bring the Gabon marksman back up top in a straight swap for Lafayette. It will be fascinating to see what he decides but a lovely decision to have on the back of a stellar performance without his talisman.
Tough decisions for MA for Tuesday in attack.
Would anticipate a reshuffle to accommodate Auba’s return but who misses out?
— Dave Seager (@goonerdave66) December 27, 2020
One option, given the games arriving thick and fast, would be to bring Aubameyang back in on the left, to rest Martinelli, who has played two quick high intensity matches after a long time our injured. The young Brazilian has showed us already, what we have been missing and how crucial he will be this campaign, so caution in the short term might be wise.
None of the front four deserve to be rested but I suspect one of them will make way for their captain. Whatever Arteta decides he does so from a stronger footing than he has in weeks and his team yesterday put smiles back on Gooner faces.
Passionate fifty-something Arsenal supporter who has been making the journey to N5 regularly since the early 1980s – although his first game was in 1976. Always passionate when talking about The Arsenal, Dave decided to send a guest blog to Gunnersphere in the summer of 2011 and has not stopped writing about the Gunners since.
He set up his own site – 1 Nil Down 2 One Up – in February 2012, which he moved on in 2016 to concentrate on freelance writing and building Gunners Town, which he launched with Paul in 2014.
The objective of GT was to be new and fresh and to give a platform for likeminded passionate Arsenal fans wishing to write about their team. Dave still of course, writes for the site himself and advises the ever-changing writing crew.