Arsenal players dominated the London Evening Standard Team of the Week, and after underwhelming performances by all of their London rivals it’s not hard to see why.
After a hard-fought victory over Crystal Palace, we recorded our first win of the season; a refreshing display after the frustrations just one week ago.
None of the other London-based sides managed to win their respective fixtures as Tottenham managed to squander a two-goal lead at home to Stoke whilst Chelsea were comprehensively taken apart by Manchester City at the Ethiad.
There were five Arsenal players starred in the XI, and it could have been more.
In goal, was Palace’s summer signing Alex McCarthy. He made a few important saves at crucial flash-points to deny the likes of Sànchez and Giroud going forward, and deserves his place.
The back-four consisted of two Arsenal players, a West Ham newboy and Palace’s only goal-scorer at Selhurst Park.
Joel Ward’s low bullet seemed to have given Alan Pardew’s men hope of stealing all three points but despite a solid defensive display, Ward ended up on the losing side.
Angelo Ogbonna was one of very few positive points for the Hammers as they succumbed to defeat against Leicester at home. His robust defending and tactical awareness caught the eye.
Koscielny and Monreal were the two Arsenal players at the back, and justifiably so after a solid 90 minutes away from home. Admittedly, Koscielny could have dealt with the danger more effectively in the build-up to Ward’s well-taken strike but he made up for it with a few important interceptions and tackles when called upon – especially as the hosts cranked up the pressure in the last 30 minutes.
Monreal has consistently been the epitome of solid since asserting his first-team credentials last season. Against Palace, he was the same – solid defensively – and ensured he was not easily fooled by the constant switching of flanks between exciting duo Yannick Bolasie and Wilfred Zaha. His crosses were also probing and he constantly asked questions of the Palace defenders on the break.
A surprise then, would be in the holding midfielders selected. Moussa Dembele, who seems to be a forgotten man at Tottenham – and Cesc Fàbregas.
Dembele was unspectacular but did the job asked of him by Mauricio Pochettino, however his inclusion is a surprise at the expense of Cazorla, who put in a tireless shift when it was most needed for Arsenal.
Fàbregas was the most surprising inclusion considering he was rather poor and looked out-of-sorts against City. Defensively he is poor, and his impressive assist tally overshadowed that last term. He was mainly a passenger and despite a few neat touches occasionally, his presence is eye-catching for all the wrong reasons.
Next up is Spurs’ Christian Eriksen. Undoubtedly one of their best players, the Dane showed flashes of individual brilliance against Stoke but was often too unselfish, which is often his downfall.
Then finally, three more Arsenal stars to sweeten the team; Ramsey, Özil and Giroud.
Ramsey added bite in midfield. He’s been criticised for trying too much at times, but even so, he’s a pleasure to watch – not least when he creates chances out of seemingly nothing as he did against Palace.
Özil. The magician weaved his magic and was in his element, looking at his most dangerous and the hosts couldn’t manage to snuff him out of the game.
Last but not least, Giroud. With plenty of transfer talk surrounding a new striker, it’d be natural for the French forward to feel threatened. He opened his goal-scoring account for the new campaign in some style, and could easily have scored a hat-trick if McCarthy was not also enjoying a good game.