Arsene Wenger was understandably pleased with Arsenal’s 5-0 win over Aston Villa, but he singled out the improvement of Olivier Giroud and Hector Bellerin in recent times, and was very happy with Chuba Akpom on just his second appearance for the Gunners first team.
Giroud has been outstanding since his return from injury and has conributed five goals in his last six games which has coincided with Arsenal’s overal improvement. “He’s much more focused, technically he has improved, his feet have improved, his movement has improved and he has a big presence in the game,” Wenger told Arsenal Player. “It’s no coincidence that when he comes back, you feel strong.
“He got a kick during the game and I was a bit cautious with him,” added Wenger. “We could give another opportunity to Chuba Akpom and he has shown that he has quality when he comes on as well.
“Chuba looks dangerous and you can see that he will score goals.”
Hector Bellerin has also grown to stake his claim for a regular starting spot, and Wenger admitted he was surprised by the young Spaniard. “It’s great – I’m pleased for him,” Le Prof continued. “He grows from game to game, he’s more confident and he has that electric pace even in the last minute, to go past people and to get crosses in. Defensively, he has improved a lot.
“Considering his first game, at Dortmund, and what I think of him today, that’s credit to him, because he had a bit of a nightmare away from home in Dortmund.
“When you see what he has produced today, you can only say ‘well done and continue to keep your priorities right – defend well, go forward when you can,’ and he’s doing that well.”
He certainly is Arsene, and it’s great to see another youngster break into the first team from the academy. Yet more proof that ‘Arsene Knows Best’ lol!
Bellerin capped his fine performance by getting his first professional goal for the first team, and he was buzzing afterwards. “It was an amazing feeling,” he said. “It’s my first professional goal so I’m really happy. Thanks to all my team-mates, all the coaches and all the fans for the support they’ve given me. I’m really happy and really pleased for the team.
“We’ve been working on our free-flowing football for a few seasons and the team is now showing what we’re learning, what we’re practising, and it’s coming out now,” he added. “I’m really happy and I want it to continue in this dynamic because it’s really coming on.”
I have a feeling Bellerin is going to be part of the Arsenal first team for a long time to come. Akpom may have to be more patient to get his chances, but he certainly didn’t do any harm to his cause against Villa. All I can hope is that yesterday’s performance persuades him to sign a new contract and doesn’t move to smaller team to play regular football….