Well that was probably one of the most straightforward Arsenal wins I’ve ever had the pleasure of watching.
Excellent pressure, one-touch passing and movement from the first minute until almost the last. In fact, the only time we looked truly vulnerable was the very last minute when the post saved our blushes from a Middlesbrough goal.
There was great work all over the pitch, especially for the first goal, which looked like something out of a tippy-tappy footballing masterclass.
We found gaps against a defense who were happy to sit back and soak up the pressure, something we’ve had trouble with before, and never took our foot off the accelerator.
We also defended solidly with our new lad bedding in nicely.
A reassuring performance against a team who’ve cruised through the competition to this point and are looking to be promoted to the Premier League next season.
Wojciech Szczesny 8
It feels a bit odd giving him a high score because he didn’t really have anything to do but he also didn’t come needlessly gallivanting out of goal at any point or light up a cigarette on the pitch so credit where it’s due.
Calum Chamber 9
Excellent game; strong and mature. A particular moment which stood out was when he went head-to-head with the Middlesbrough leftback, fell over and still managed to come away with the ball.
Gabriel Paulista 8
Like a lot of our defence, he didn’t have a huge amount to do on his debut. Towards the end, however, he did take one for the team and picked up a yellow card while doing so. He also made a brilliant tackle minutes later.
Laurent Koscielny 8.5
Koscielny is one of those players who you won’t notice in the game until he makes a magical interception or wins a sturdy challenge out of nowhere. He’s always there to clean up though and rarely has a bad game anymore.
Keiran Gibbs 10
Honestly, Gibbs played like a player who’s been benched should be playing. He set out from the first second with a point to prove and continuously made marauding runs forward, got back quickly and even looked like scoring at one point. His energy and fitness were unreal and I don’t think I ever saw him stop tearing up and down the wing.
Mathieu Flamini 8
Held his position well and had a couple of cheeky shots. Extra points because he didn’t get booked.
Santi Cazorla 10
If I could give this bloke an 11, I would. What a player! As always, he was instrumental in almost every move from the first to last minute. He’s involved in everything. What a gift.
Danny Welbeck 8
I’m sometimes critical of Welbeck but today he played well. He was involved in the mouthwatering one-touch, build-up play, which led to our first goal and never hid. He just needs to calm down and learn to be more clinical in front of goal.
Mesut Ozil 10
Another near perfect performance from the little German. I could watch him twist and turn away from the opposition with about a millimeter of space all day.
Still not 100% back to his best but Alexis at 99% is still better than most.
His footballing brain is so quick, he doesn’t need any time to use his skill to get out of a sticky situation.
So many times he had the ball, was completely surrounded by the opposition, yet somehow managed the impossible and would simply shift the ball between his feet or find a ridiculous pass.
His touch was a little heavy at times but I loved that he got the chance to show off his speed today, too.
Olivier Giroud 10
I couldn’t begrudge this guy of his 10/10 score.
Two goals, one of which being an absolutely sublime volley that looked as if it was pure instinct, and great all-round play. Him and Ozil are linking up well.
Tomas Rosicky 7.5
Quick bursts of speed and agility, Rosicky manages to conjure creative play out of thin air no matter how long he’s on the pitch.
In the dying minutes he made an inspired forward pass to Walcott on the attack, which the winger failed to convert (‘unlucky Theo’).
Theo Walcott 7.5
His first touch has improved, he just needs to work on his finishing.
Chuba Akpom N/A
Only on the pitch for a couple of minutes and managed to get clattered. Luckily he seems like he can hold his own and I’m excited to watch him develop.