Arsenal smash West Brom to hopefully set the tone for 2021 by Konstantin Mitov
Happy new year lovely Arsenal people! I wish you all good health and better Arsenal results and hopefully this result will set the tone for the entire year! We made it 3 wins on the bounce as we smacked a sorry West Brom, managed by none other than Sam Allardyce which made it all the better.
The hosts were extremely poor, especially in defence. Tierney was like Messi on the left hand side and his run past their full back, then a second trick and a powerful shot with his weaker right foot opened the scoring.
Then came the highlight of the game, when we made a slick move with a one-two between Laca and Smith Rowe and the latter giving it on a plate for Saka to double our lead. This goal was a reminder of the old times when this was a typical Arsenal goal and it also came from open play, which is something we’ve not done a lot this season.
After minute 30 we had to survive the bad weather and the crosses you could expect from a Big Sam side. We did it and we took our chance when a cross came in and a West Brom defender cleared it against their own post, Smith Rowe fired against their keeper and then Laca finished it.
To top it off, Laca finished another good attack from the wing and we finalised the score line 4-0. I don’t want to get carried away by beating a team who had a fourth consecutive game at home where they conceded at least 3 goals. Nevertheless there are a few things to take away.
One most obvious is that the youngsters did it again. Saka was immense, so was Tierney and so was Smith Rowe. His runs in behind create space which other players can thrive on. Lacazette scored again, twice this time. His link up play makes more purpose now, because there are runners and players to combine with.
Speaking of Runners, Bellerin has improved, since we put Saka in front of him. He makes runs with purpose and there is now cover from the wings when we need to defend. Even Xhaka, who is another player like Hector which I have heavily criticized looks better lately. He has targets to aim forward with the ball instead of sideways.
In stark contrast there are players who continue to struggle for form and none is more obvious than Aubameyang. His body language especially in the second half was really poor. He was strolling at some points, giving up too easily, and on some passes he looked uninterested at all. At the end, you could see the entire team trying to help him score and it never looked like happening for him.
With the way Tierney was ripping them apart on the left, imagine if we had Martinelli there as well? If he hadn’t had such a long injury he could’ve started the game, because on form right now I’d pick him any time in front of Auba on the left.
At the end we saw Willian, who can at best only tie Saka’s shoelaces, replace him and he didn’t offer too much as you could expect, but I see how we will want to protect our best player right now in a game where the jobs done.
I think a part of our recent resurgence that shouldn’t go unnoticed is Pablo Mari. We managed consecutive clean sheets and even though he gave a penalty away against Chelsea I think he was solid there too and it was more down to tired legs.
Now I wonder how long will the youngsters continue to carry us? I love how Smith Rowe did what Willock couldn’t and gave us a playmaker that creates space and chances, but I still think we need reinforcements there. The pressure can quickly pile on you at Arsenal and I don’t want us to burn out those players.
Then there’s the problem of the incredibly expensive players that don’t contribute to the squad. Kolasinac is out to Schalke and we all know we’re trying to get rid of a few more. Mustafi and Ozil will be gone at the end of the season for sure if we don’t find them a club now. Sokratis as well is heading out, which should clear out some budget. Luiz shouldn’t get another deal either.
And still there’s Aubameyang, Pepe and Willian. Can we get something out of those players, who cost us a fortune every week? Our recruitment and contract handling has been really bad. We’re trying to get Saliba out which is a riddle for me. A young player that cost us 27 million, who we brought home early from his loan to integrate him and we’re now letting him leave? I can’t think of anything else bar Arteta not liking him.
Regardless though, our squad is huge and removing players that don’t play is common sense, but we also need to invest and the freed wages need to be used smartly. Arsenal are kings of masking the real problems whenever things start going our way, just like the FA cup did last year.
We’ve only won 3 games in a row, that lifted us to 11th. The young players showed what was missing – bravery, desire, passion, confidence, energy and in the end ability. If we’re smart we will use this to build in a new direction, starting this January.
It’s premature to look at the table right now and start dreaming of the top 4 although realistically we are just 6 points off it with an extra game and just 3 off Chelsea who play Man City next.
I’m really happy with us winning again and our next 2 league games are Palace and Newcastle at home, so I can see the hype train rolling again, and I just want us to protect ourselves from that. After all our goal difference just got back to positive so there is a lot to be worked upon.
Thankfully, it starts to look like there might be something less shaky that resembles a foundation to actually build upon.