Daily Archives: October 20, 2016
Arsenal 6-0 Ludogorets
Since that disappointing opening day defeat to Liverpool in August, Arsenal had gone 10 games unbeaten with eight wins on the trot. The new-look formation has come to stay but one of the major improvements has been the introduction of Shkodran Mustafi to the side, and he has forged such a great understanding with the team’s leader on the pitch, Laurent Koscielny. This new look side has played so many games together but the manager hinted that he would rotate the side a bit without changing the core of the team. This paved the way for Kieran Gibbs, Francis Coquelin and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
The visitors had earned a point on their last European travel to Switzerland, so they were brewing with some sort of confidence, and their passing play was quite impressive but Arsenal hit them on the break and the opening goal was a thing of sheer beauty. Sanchez sprang through on goal, left a defender for dead, noticed the goalie was off his line and he executed a delicious chip Carlos Vela would have been proud of. The away side responded to the setback with some good attacking play but the Gunners had David Ospina to thank for a flurry of good saves. Just before the break, Arsenal doubled their money from the man on fire, Theo Walcott. After receiving a pass from Mesut Ozil on the edge of the box, the Englishman swerved in a curler that beat the goalie before smashing the back of the net. His confidence is sky high at the moment and he’s getting everything he deserves from his outstanding play this season.
The Gunners went into the break in high spirits and didn’t take their foot off the pedal. At the restart, they made it three when the Ox latched onto a loose ball to sidefoot it beyond the hapless goalie. Then we tuned into the Mesut Ozil show. The first came from a brilliantly executed counter attack that saw the German break the offside trap and he used his right foot to place the ball past the goalie. Wenger summoned new boy, Lucas Perez, to replace Walcott, and he fed the German with two key passes that led to his first hat-trick in Arsenal colors. For the first assist, Lucas raced onto a loose ball and teed up Ozil with a one-time drilled effort, allowing the German to show off his technique by blasting the ball which skidded off the surface before beating the goalie. The final goal of the game was from more great work from Lucas and Ozil was there again to fire the ball home.
The German tried to return the favor to Lucas but they weren’t in the same wavelength. Besides the goals, there were some outstanding performers on the night. Francis Coquelin had a stormer, with 93% pass accuracy, 54 passes, eight tackles won, six interceptions and one block. The ‘Kostafi’ combination was all shades of awesome, and David Ospina showed why Wenger favors him over Petr Cech in this competition. In three Champions League games, Ospina has kept two clean sheets and he had to earn those shut outs because his goal was well under threat on some certain occasions.
At this stage last season, Arsenal had played 12 games and scored a meager 15 goals. This term, Arsene Wenger’s men have 32 goals in the same amount of games. The team is firing on all cylinders and this sentiment was shared by Mustafi. Credit has to go to Arsene Wenger for finding a formula that has worked brilliantly for him. Rotating the squad was a good move to keep the players fresh and I would expect an overhaul for the Reading game after the team hosts Middlesbrough over the weekend.
With PSG beating Basel, Arsenal will need to keep piling up the victories to ensure they finish their group phase campaign in top place. Till then, let’s bask in the euphoria of such another resounding and satisfying victory.
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