In a sensational performance, Arsenal pummeled Chelsea 3-0 on Saturday afternoon. Here are five things we learned from the battering.
Wow! In one half of football Arsenal simultaneously dismantled an apparently defensively astute Chelsea side, cemented themselves as genuine title challengers and left Antonio Conte with many questions, ultimately leading him to changing his system early in the second half. It was a blistering start from the Gunners, and thanks to goals from Alexis Sanchez, Theo Walcott and Mesut Ozil, they wrapped up the three points in a little over 40 minutes.
Here are five things we learned from Arsenal’s emphatic victory over their London rivals.
5. Granit Xhaka Fits Right In
The role of one Granit Xhaka has come into question over the past few weeks with Arsene Wenger repeatedly choosing to overlook his new £35 million man in favour of the tried and trusted pairing of Santi Cazorla and Francis Coquelin. Nonetheless, while the Swiss international still faced many questions at kick off, by the time the full-time whistle was blown, he had provided all the answers.
Coquelin, the man who many see as the player currently – and wrongly in some eyes – ahead of Xhaka limped off injured after coming off worse in a strong challenge, blocking N’Golo Kante’s shot in the 31st minute. The Swiss international duly came on in his stead, and although his side were 2-0 up at the time and cruising, his performance from then on displayed an ability that should see him fit right in in North London.
What was particularly encouraging was Xhaka’s tendency to get the ball forward quickly. His awareness and intelligence without the ball allowed him to be decisive with it. Combine this with an excellent range of passing, as evidenced by a couple of beautiful passes, one to Theo Walcott and one fizzed into the feet of Mesut Ozil, and the perfect Arsenal midfielder is made. Xhaka may well get a run of starts with Coquelin’s impending absence. Early indications are very positive indeed.