15 Feb Arsenal’s assault clicks with Aubameyang, Odegaard exhibiting better of Arteta’s concepts vs. Leeds
LONDON — Maybe Arsenal supporters can start to count on the sudden once more. One persistent criticism of supervisor Mikel Arteta is the Gunners’ rigidity in attacking positions that has typically led to an incapacity to translate possession into clear goal-scoring alternatives. Leeds United could have been prepared accomplices at Emirates Stadium, however Sunday’s 4-2 win featured a extra attractive imaginative and prescient of what Arteta is aiming to implement — simply not in the way in which many anticipated.
– Report: Auba hat-trick leads Arsenal to massive win vs. Leeds
– Arsenal’s Europa League recreation moved
It appeared when Martin Odegaard arrived on the membership on mortgage from Actual Madrid that he would find yourself in a rotation with Emile Smith Rowe, who has seized his alternative within the first team with nice aplomb, however couldn’t moderately be requested to hold a heavy artistic burden in his breakthrough season. But Arteta opted handy Odegaard his first begin alongside Smith Rowe, the previous as a No. 10 in a three-man superior midfield with Bukayo Saka on the best behind central striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in a 4-2-3-1 form.
What adopted was one in every of Arsenal’s most dynamic attacking performances of the season, with Aubameyang clearly revelling within the creativity supplied by his supporting solid. “I believed [the creativity in the final third] was significantly better,” stated Arteta. “We have been far more environment friendly and we have been composed. We took our time when it was wanted. We had motion, runs in behind, folks within the field and arriving into the field. Our decision-making was significantly better and our effectivity, we have been hitting photographs and plenty of of these have been on goal. That was the distinction.”
Odegaard and Smith Rowe interchanged positions with spectacular fluidity, Saka menaced Leeds by a combination of tempo and cool-headed decision-making within the remaining third and Aubameyang helped himself to the primary Premier League hat-trick of his profession.
Solely West Brom (55) have conceded extra objectives than Leeds’ 42 within the prime flight this time period, and the worth they’re prepared to pay for exhibiting such relentless attacking intent is an openness that prime sides can exploit. The Gunners haven’t all the time appeared able to taking such alternatives, however they did so right here in what little question felt like one thing of a cathartic launch after irritating defeats to Wolves and Aston Villa.
These video games contained VAR-related controversy (a David Luiz pink card at Molineux, which the membership tried and didn’t attraction, earlier than being denied a person benefit of their very own for a foul on Bukayo Saka, and later, a powerful penalty shout at Villa Park). On Sunday, it appeared third time unfortunate. Aubameyang had already put Arsenal in entrance with a low 13th-minute drive by the point Saka burst by on objective, solely to go down underneath contact from Leeds captain Liam Cooper. Referee Stuart Attwell pointed to the spot, however reviewed the choice on the pitch-side monitor and judged that Cooper did not make contact adequate to make Saka fall.
Arteta was livid on the touchline, however Saka continued unperturbed, urgent goalkeeper Ilian Meslier right into a mistake as he dallied on the ball, profitable a spot-kick past competition. Aubameyang transformed and Arsenal established a management they by no means actually seemed like relinquishing, with Hector Bellerin smashing residence a 3rd after some wonderful work across the field from Saka and Dani Ceballos. It was the primary league recreation this season by which the Gunners scored three first-half objectives.
Smith Rowe arrange Aubameyang’s third with an excellent ball two minutes after the restart, earlier than Leeds struck twice by Pascal Struijk and substitute Helder Costa to take somewhat sheen off the Gunners’ victory. The latter phases have been somewhat extra uncomfortable than Arsenal could have appreciated, however parity by no means seemed to be restored.
Aubameyang walked off with the match ball, having vowed in his programme notes to “repay all of the love” proven to him throughout a tough interval by which he missed video games whereas caring for his sick mom. He did that after which some right here, netting his 200th league objective in Europe’s Prime 5 divisions within the course of and reaching 36 Premier League objectives for Arsenal. Solely Jamie Vardy (46), Mohamed Salah (42) and Sadio Mane (37) have scored extra since Aubameyang made his debut in February 2018.
“It has been a troublesome time for me, however now it is time to get the smile again and win video games and rating objectives, that is it,” stated Aubameyang. “All people across the membership was giving a variety of like to me, my mum and my household, so I am actually, actually completely happy and I am actually proud to be a part of this household. I am actually completely happy at the moment, the win and objectives — that is for them.”
Mentioned Arteta of his center-forward, “He had an amazing efficiency not just for the objectives, however the way in which he labored with out the ball.”
Aubameyang added efficiency to the aim injected by Saka particularly, who continues to excel; it was Gabriel Martinelli who set the tone for this team upon his return to the aspect, however as of late Saka is performing that position with outstanding consistency. His kind is so good that Willian and club-record signing Nicolas Pepe are amongst those that should reply to earn a spot within the team.
The problem for Arsenal now, because it has been throughout prior purple patches, is to play with such ingenuity in opposition to higher opponents. Arsenal’s subsequent 4 video games are each legs of their Europa League last-32 tie in opposition to Benfica, in addition to difficult clashes in opposition to Premier League leaders Manchester Metropolis and high-fliers Leicester Metropolis. These opponents is not going to be as accommodating as Leeds, however Arsenal now have a chief instance of their expressionism on which to construct.