Slavia Prague Review – Arsenal were perfectly clinical and dominant

Clinical Arsenal cruise to the semis by Konstantin Mitov

Good to see you lovely Arsenal people. That was more like it! We had to win, we were under pressure and we did it and it was honestly comfortable.

I was encouraged by the starting line up. Smith Rowe, Saka and Pepe behind Lacazette and it worked again. We had hunger, we had desire and we had quality.

We were unlucky to be denied a goal after Smith Rowe tapped in after a ridiculous save from their keeper from a Saka effort. And even though it was reviewed like 2 minutes and it was disallowed we didn’t let our momentum slip.

Some slick feet from Smith Rowe fed Pepe who showed immense composure to score the vital goal. Then another lightning move saw Smith Rowe look for Saka, who was brought down in the box and Laca slotted it in for 2:0.

To cap it off Saka scored after another drive down the right and we hurried past them in 6 minutes. Then we just sat back and it never looked like we were in real trouble. Laca finished a good move in the second half to finish the score line. It could’ve been more, especially when Martinelli drove 1:1 with their keeper but missed it just wide.

The line up for me was what did the trick. The young players that have grown in our academy know what it means to play for this club. Laca is a player who always puts in a shift. Pepe has a point to prove. I must say I enjoyed Chambers at right back again. Pablo Mari was solid as well.

Credit to Arteta today, because it looked like we really wanted it. And I will give credit where credit is due, because he knew he was under pressure and the players he picked didn’t let him down. He was helped a little bit by injuries, just like he was before the Chelsea match. Did anyone miss Willian? Bellerin is most likely leaving this summer and wasn’t really missed. I hope Aubameyang recovers soon from Malaria, but we didn’t need him either.

My point stands that when we play players who aren’t here only for their big salary and pension fund, we are actually better than a mid-tabled team and we showed today that we can take care of a team like Slavia Prague with no problem if we put the right attitude and mindset.

Today we were clinical. Something that hasn’t been always the case this season. I think we scored 4 goals from 5 shots on target and we also had a goal disallowed. This is the kind of accuracy we will need in the 2 or possibly 3 remaining games in this competition to make the miracle happen.

Unai and Villarreal are next. It will be spicey for sure, but how hot will it be to battle United for the cup in the final? I hate to get ahead of myself, especially with Arsenal, but that thought excited me, and the Europa League games mean something because of the reward that sits at the end if you win the whole thing.

Now, I’m not usually into superstition and magical gut feelings, but this team has showed that in a cup competition it can pull it together for a few games. Also, we’ve somehow survived Befica. We made it a tough fight against Olympiacos, but pulled it together. We were pegged back by Slavia in the final minute, but today we crushed them. It just could be our moment…

This win gives some meaning to the league games as well, because if you want to be in the starting 11 and you aren’t Willian or one of the other Arteta favs you need to perform well. All in all it was a job well done tonight. Fulham next and I wouldn’t mind a good winning run in the league to keep the spirits high!

Konstantin

11 Comments

  1. Pepe says:

    What a great performance
    Credit to the manager and everyone for putting in a great performance last tonight.
    Many here have always said how crap and a poor man’s team we are but that has never been through even with the injury we still have a very good team. This team has been let down by the way they are set up to play,formation, players position and tactics..
    We have seen how well we have been playing in the last two games just with a little twist. Kudos to Arteta he was spot on and everything seem to have clicked….
    I always say that looking at our overall squad there is no way a decent team is not within it when the so called realist keep saying we have loads of cr@p of players I never bought into those idea that’s where I criticized Arteta because I always knew we have this performance and players within our ranks.. I give him all the credit for the last two games it has been an enjoyable performance
    Up gunners
    Unia you’re next

    1. ozziegunner says:

      Pepe, the issue has never been purely about the footballing abilities of the Arsenal players, many are internationals after all, but their mental strength, determination and application on a consistent basis that is lacking.

  2. PJ-SA says:

    2 good games in a row, 2 relatively “easy games that we completely dominated.

    I mentioned already that I like Chambers and Xhaka as they sit a bit deeper than normal fullbacks. This allows Partey to sweep effectively in front of the back 4 and allow Cellabos and ESR almost free roles on attack.

    We’d have to see how it goes against better opposition though to be able to gauge properly.

    On another note. Why are we either blistering hot in a game or abysmal, we need to find a consistent game plan that we can apply most games.

    P.S. makes a big difference when the disinterested players aren’t on the pitch!

    1. gotanidea says:

      Asking the fullbacks to stay back more often works for now, but it won’t work all the time. I believe our last two oppositions expected our fullbacks to bomb forward and we surprised them with different strategy

      The unpredictability is one of some elements I like about Arteta’s tactics. Our positional play is also great, hence we gave the oppositions no chance to shoot in our penalty box

  3. Dan kit says:

    Great performance and all round decent player displays ,but this is a team that would struggle in the 1-2 division in England so this should have been all over after the first game .that as been the problem all season ,some decent games and some complete embarrassments now onto Villarreal which we should dominate and I expect nothing but an easy win ,if he can’t beat The spainish big Sam then he shouldn’t be here next season and probably half the players aswell .
    This is the Europe league not the champions league we should expect to be in the semis
    Every time we enter .
    Now 3 more games and just maybe Arteta might save his job

    1. ozziegunner says:

      Dan, if you compare the quality in the two squads, Villarreal shouldn’t be able to compete with Arsenal, but the same could be said of some teams currently above Arsenal in the League.
      There is nothing to say Roma can’t beat Manchester United either, if Man U have an off day. Small margins at this level.

  4. MartinelliTheBench says:

    Going to be a cracking game against the Yellow Submarines. May the best team win over the two legs.

    If we make the finals I’d rather play Roma than ManU.

    COYGs

    1. ozziegunner says:

      👍

  5. Sue says:

    So much love for ESR and Saka 🥰

    What a spirited performance and I loved every second of it! A very proud gooner today – now let’s go all the way!!

  6. Kobin says:

    Last time we play Villareal in the Semis we made the final in Paris. Classic game, oh that Requilme’s missed Pk. Lost to Barca in the final. I hope we win Unai’s men and the final this too.

  7. Innit says:

    I hope we win against Villareal
    But will be tough
    Unai has won EL 3 times and took us to the final

    But we can win with the right lineup and tactics

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