It would be remiss not to look at the trashing that Arsenal handed to Chelsea due to not only the history of the matchup, but the completely different play and style that came from the two sides compared to last year. Arsenal has been unbeaten to start the Premier League season but have not looked very fluid or impressive to say the least. Mostly beating down on smaller prey like Watford and Hull City, the game against Chelsea showed that the side may be poised to take down bigger game in the league.
In years past, Arsenal has rarely fared well against the crosstown rivals. In fact, Arsenal has not won against Chelsea in the Premier League since 2011, and had not even scored in the league since 2013. However, the game this weekend showed Chelsea was not the same club it has been. Diego Costa’s antics couldn’t work as they usually do in these matchups, and Chelsea’s backline looked absolutely horrendous. Even last year when Arsenal was playing their best football, they were unable to best the side.
Saturday was a different story, however, and players such as Kieran Gibbs and Theo Walcott who have been lackluster in recent years managed to connect with the rest of the team and play to a high level, including one Walcott goal. Not only that, but the big names also showed up together to absolutely knock the defenders off their feet. Alexis Sanchez’ first goal showed him at his best as he used his quick pace to strip the ball and score one on one. When he assisted Ozil for the third goal, you could see how cohesive the two have become. They are a threat that could absolutely shred teams in the league this year. Arsene Wenger has clearly been playing Alexis in a more central position as a type of striker recently, but it left people skeptical as he did not look to fit in the role. In the past few games this has completely changed and I think it would be smarter to play him in a dual striker role with Giroud or Welbeck.
Arsenal is looking at to have an easy road in the coming months, facing Burnley, Swansea City, Ludogorets Razgrad, Middlesbrough, Reading, Sunderland and Tottenham. If the side can continue to impress with the whole team working as cohesively as they do now, the side could really become the only ones to challenge Pep’s Manchester City. While City look to be the clear favorites this season; the side has a history of falling out of the race and Arsenal could have a real chance to contend. Having a strong partnership between veteran Laurent Koscielny and recent addition Shkodran Mustafi at center back could be the key to picking up confidence and momentum heading towards winter break, and the two have already shown impressive ability to work with each other. As long as Arsenal continues to grow as a team, stay healthy and push through these next months, they should be capable of taking down Guardiola later in the year.
This was talking soccer.
Joe Burns is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.