Arsenal got a morale boosting 2-0 win over Stoke City on Saturday, their first win of the season at home; which also saw much criticized strikers Theo Walcott and Olivier Giroud getting on the score-sheet.
We now look at five major talking points from the match.
1. Coquelin is going to be an Arsenal great
Earlier this season, Wenger mentioned that Francis Coquelin was statistically the best defensive midfielder in Europe.
In a period where defensive midfield stars around are either silent like Morgan Schneiderlin or being criticised like Nemanja Matic, Coquelin has been a constant and consistent star performer for Arsenal, with the closest thing to a bad game he has had so far being a late substitution against Crystal Palace to avoid getting sent off after several altercations with Cabaye.
We have seen the defensive midfield battling greats in the past, but Coquelin embodies what Arsenal is all about in his game.
He makes tackles in ways that are so beautiful to watch, leaving you with the same feeling as when someone curves a nice shot into the net – take for example the tackle that led to Walcott’s goal.
Coquelin still needs to perfect his long passes though, but he is the real deal now.
2. Arsenal are getting back to their creative best
Yes we need Mesut Ozil in our team always, (obviously that was why Wenger bought him even when many of us thought he was a luxury we didn’t really need) we argued because we had Santi Cazorla who was fantastic the season before Ozil came.
But Wenger probably thought, “why don’t we have both of them creating for us?” and that’s exactly what we are getting now.
Arsenal have always been known as a team that creates lots of chances and on Saturday the team showed just that by creating chances at will against a normally difficult Stoke City defence.
The Gunners had 29 shots with a whopping 23 shots coming from inside the box.
Ozil and Cazorla were the chief creators, with the two midfielders ranking high on number of chances created in the Premier League – a table Ozil comfortably tops with 79 goal-scoring chances created this season already.
Walcott said after the match that we are getting back to the old Arsenal, which is true; except now we have a much better defence. And with abundance of chances like this, Walcott will have enough opportunity to practice and perfect playing through the middle.
If our strikers eventually get their clinical touch back, we could be in for a very interesting season.
3. We need to be more clinical in front of goal
Arsenal won comfortably, yes. Our two strikers scored, yes; but there is a huge cause of concern.
The strikers’ goal-scoring exploits didn’t hide their profligacy; we scored just two goals out of 29 shots!
Yes we won today, but as the season goes on, we would get games where chances won’t come plenty, that’s where we need to be much more clinical, not just those two strikers, but every attacking player – Ozil, Sanchez, Ramsey and Cazorla included.
4. Walcott starting and Giroud coming on is the way forward
It is worth noting that whenever Giroud comes off the bench or plays after a long while, he performs well, and he flops when he starts regularly.
On Saturday for the umpteenth time, he scored after coming on for Theo Walcott in a match Walcott also scored.
The transfer window is shut, and we are left with these two strikers; Wenger now needs to manage them in a way that he can get the best out of them.
And the way he used them on Saturday should be the way forward, with Giroud starting a few games, but being more of an impact player in every game we can get the best out of him.
5. Bellerin is a future star
What makes a star is consistency at the top level, and just few youngsters really keep that up after a rough start.
Bellerin has proven to be one of those few, after a difficult start to his Arsenal career, with morale sapping games against Dortmund and Stoke City last season, the youngster has consistently impressed so much that he has comfortably kept French international Matheiu Debuchy on the bench with no hope of slowing down.
And on Saturday, he added to that with a top quality performance against Stoke; marauding their left flank fearlessly.