Every now and then, life clicks. The variables that normally clash and crunch together, causing no end of problems and strife, suddenly meet harmoniously and your passage is smoother than a Mesut Ozil slide-rule pass.
One of these variables is the Theo Walcott, Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez triumvirate. All three have the qualities that benefit the other parts of the trinity, but thanks to injury and poor form, like a misfiring sports car, the full potential is rarely seen.
This game though, saw these three hugely talented players hit top gear and blast Chelsea with full force, and at half time, we were three goals to the good thanks to goals from all three.
It wasn’t just the goals that made this game perfect viewing. Even in the mundane activities, we managed to rub Chelsea’s nose in it. We made them look ordinary, we did everything right. Even the match stats were wildly in our favour. Simply because in every minute, on every patch of the pitch – we were better.
The first half is perhaps the best football that we have materialised for quite some time. The aesthetically pleasing Wengerball has been remiss for a while now, but it rose up into our eyeline like a majestic salmon, and chants of ‘Ole’ were ringing around The Emirates as our team toyed with Chelsea like a disintered cat pawing at a mouse that had quite clearly taken too many hits and was willing the pearly gates to appear.
What can we take from the game? So many things, as this game will be talked about for some time. It was so pleasing to see the passing formations come to fruition, and Chelsea’s approach was made irrelevant, as if they had brought their much fabled bus, we would have simply ripped it in half.
Iwobi played on Tuesday in the EFL Cup, but no fatigue was prevalent, and he buzzed around the pitch. Mustafi and Koscielny are blooming together – any partnership that contends successfully with Costa has cause for celebration – and Hector Bellerin looks to have come out of his own mini-slump.
In short, our team was on fire. For our fourth League win on the trot, we picked the best opponent to unsheath our finest play!
There was simply no stopping us in this game, but here are five key points from the game –
This display will be used as a yardstick, and a stick to beat us
Much like Oxlade-Chamberlain, we know what we are capable of, so to see us underperform is frustrating. Now we have witnessed our excellent parts work as a beautiful machine? Well, we now want that in most matches, and when we fall below this bar, then criticism will follow. We played football that was packaged in pure silk, and it was used to bludgeon an opponent that had given us many scars. This performance gives us hope for the season, but it could also be a horrible reminder of what we could be. Let us hope for the former.
Coquelin still has a place
Before going off with injury in the 31st minute, Francis Coquelin was enjoying every minute, gleefully running around the blades of grass and destroying every part of Chelsea’s build-up play. He has his uses, and we all know his limitations toward attack, but in terms of his strengths? Not many in the league, never mind in our team, does what he does better. Let us hope he is back soon. Xhaka may be the present, and the future, but Coquelin is a player we need in our squad.
Ozil is back on form.
The best players, even when the inevitable dips in form occur, can still contribute towards the game. Ozil has been well short of his own particular standards so far this campaign, but this could well rank as one of his finest 90 minutes in our shirt. His touch was pure sex, his awareness is derived from the gods. He was clearly enjoying every minute, and he was more than pumped for this game. He deceptively covers more ground than most people think, but he was tracking back with as much fervour as Alexis at times. His goal, which he started by making Kante look like a lost little boy, needs to be watched repeatedly to remind any doubters what he does. We love you Mesut.
Alexis to stay as a striker, for now
This issue has garnered much debate, but the results speak for themselves. Alexis may feel more comfortable on his native left, but he has the building blocks for a striker, and his numbers are evidence. As long as he continues to hit the net, then Giroud and Lucas may be twiddling their thumbs for a while longer. His finish to open the scoring was sumptuous, and answers any queries regarding where he can play. The little Chilean can play where he wants!
Theo is back
Theo divides opinion like Moses parted the Red Sea. He has had long periods, even seasons, when his form has seen him put in displays that have no part at the club. This season though, he has gone back to basics. Used his main strength in the right way, and he has made one simple change. He is working harder. As a result, he has stayed in the team, and is making things happen. On a consistency basis, Theo has been one of our best players so far this campaign. Like Marmite, whether you love or loathe him, you cannot argue he is effective. He may still lose the ball a little too much, but so does Alexis. Keep doing what you’re doing Walcott, and you will easily surpass your best ever season. Keep working hard.