Arsenal made it 4 wins out of 4 for the very first time since 2004(part of the invincible run) with a comeback win against west London rivals Fulham.
Coming into the match, the gunners were heavily favored to continue their 100% start to the season having never lost to the whites at home. However, that run was definitely on the line as visitors took a shock lead against the run of play through Aleksandar Mitrovic who pounced on a calamitous error by Gabriel Magalhaes. Not the first time the Brazilian’s error has directly led to a goal. He is far from poised on the ball, very un-Brazilian like. Luckily for him and the gunners, he made up for the error by scoring a tap in from a corner which former Arsenal goalkeeper Bernd Leno could not take control of. Here is a look at the 5 talking points from the game.
1. Atmosphere at the Emirates
There has been plenty of positives at Arsenal this season. Arguably none more so than the intimacy between the fans and the players. This was highlighted today after Fulham took the lead when the fans were louder and cheered their team despite going behind. Arsenal fans are notoriously known to be agnostic after going behind and rightly so. Arsenal won just one game last season in the Premier League after going behind. That win against Wolves was a one off. The gunner have already matched it and you could smell the comeback was coming in this game. The rapport between the fans and the players had disappeared in recent years especially since the departure of the legendary manager Arsene Wenger. It is a sense of pride that Arsenal fans are falling in love with the club again. Props to the players, coaches and everyone involved with the club.
2. Century for Mikel Arteta
Mikel Arteta is only 1 win behind Wenger after 100 games. Some of the 31 losses during this time were painful, specially late last season when missing out on the champions league. However, he has seemed to turn things around surely but surely. At this stage last year, he was favorite to be axed after a torturous start to the campaign. With the backing of the board, owner and some fans, MA has slowly managed to turn things around. These 4 opponents so far are not world beaters but you can only beat what’s in front of you. I really liked his post game interview when he said be humble and be hungry. Well said.
Arsenal under Arteta in the Premier League: Played 100, won 53, drew 16, lost 31
3. Martin Odegaard
One man that typifies Mikel Arteta’s reign at Arsenal, its the Norwegian maestro. He initially struggled on loan but has slowly developed into one of the first names on the team sheet over the last year and has time on his side as he’s just 23. The captain was simply unplayable at times today and was unlucky not to grab a couple of assists. That lofted pass to Nketiah deserved a finish. The equalizer was nicely taken although deflected. He seems to have added that killer instinct in him, shooting way more than he usually does. And with that sweet left foot of his, he needs to be a regular goalscorer if he wants to take that next step.
Last season he had 7 goals & 4 assists in the Premier League in 36 games. This campaign, he already has 3 goals and if the forwards start taking chances, he’ll definitely eclipse last years tally.
4. Squad Depth
Squad depth in terms of quality is much better than last season. Luxury to be able to bring on Tomiyasu to see out the game and the likes of Smith Rowe, Vieira waiting in the periphery is a good headache to have for Arteta.
As reported earlier this week, Arsenal are trying to sign Neto, the Portuguese winger, a proven 21 year old Premier League player. Will be a great backup winger to have. No brainer if I am honest. Arsenal are tired of trying to find a game changing winger in France (Pepe, Gervinho etc.).
5. Bernd Leno
The former Arsenal shot stopper kept the gunners at bay for an hour with some decent saves and good goalkeeping. It felt like one of those days where a former Arsenal goalie comes back to make a determined performance to frustrate the Emirates faithful. Luckily, the German conceded through a defected Martin Odegaard short, with no fault of his own and the second, a questionable decision making for Gabriel’s winner. Agent Bernd, some Arsenal fans called him.
It is certainly interesting to see former Arsenal goalkeepers in the Premier League. There were times where Arsenal struggled to field a proper/reliable goalkeeper back in late 00s. Gone are those days and Arsenal are gifting custodians to the Premier League teams.
Lukasz Fabianski(2007-2014): West Ham United
Bernd Leno(2018-2022): Fulham
Wojciech Szczesny(2009-2017): Juventus
David Ospina(2014-2019): Al Nassr