Was Arteta resting players or experimenting for Thursday?
A comfortable win should put us in the best position possible for Thursday, right? Well, last time out we went into our second leg against Slavia Prague on 1-1 yet it was on the back of a comfortable 3-0 away win against Sheffield United that boosted our confidence and helped us beat Slavia 4-0 and 5-1 on aggregate!
So, if things are meant to be, then we will have the same comfortable scoreline at home given how we are going in on the back of a comfortable 2-0 over Newcastle.
And I, for one, hope Arteta was experimenting with the team he put out because the whole team barring Ceballos who is suspended, is more than capable of getting the job done on Thursday.
I thought the team played well, showed togetherness, willingness to get forward and determination. There was creativity and chances and we got unlucky to come away with only a 2-0 win.
A few players caught my eye and shone in the game, and for me the most impressive was Mat Ryan, Mohammed Elneny and Gabriel Martinelli.
Ryan was not afraid to come for the ball, made some good saves and despite a few nervy moments seemed confident in goal. Something we need against Villarreal no doubt!
Elneny did the job in midfield, defended well and attacked with purpose. He got his first goal in the Premier League for Arsenal and could have gotten a second, but his goal was well deserved, and his performance surely earns him a place on Thursday given that Ceballos is out.
And finally, Martinelli who for me was a thorn in the left side of Newcastle. He worked well with Xhaka down the left, wasn’t afraid to run into the box and take players on, and even put some good crosses in, getting an assist by setting up Aubameyang for our second of the game.
The whole team worked well and this is the type of team and performance we need on Thursday! If we can come out of the blocks as quick as we did against Newcastle, then we have all the chance to get to the final.
The boys just have to believe, persist and work as hard as they ever have this season to grind out a win and get to the final!
Here’s hoping hey Gooners!