Vorskla Review: No Clean Sheet But Handsome Win

A comfortable win which in the end saw Arsenal claim three points in the opening group game. The scoreline flatters Vorskla thanks to two late goals – one so late in the game that there was momentary confusion over whether it stood – which wrecked the first clean sheet of the season we were cruising toward.

The headlines point to Aubameyang’s brace, with the second goal straight out of the Thierry Henry playbook in its’ graceful curled finish. Mesut Özil capped off the evening with his second goal in two games. Even dear old Danny Welbeck nodded home; it was that kind of evening.

Debuts for Bernd Leno and Lucas Torreira sated the desire to see £50m of talent from the kick-off; are we any the wiser on their value to their value to the squad?

In the Uruguayan’s case, the answer is yes. Torreira dictated play, recycling possession efficiently. He found a nice range in passing and a quick-thinking free-kick which found the side-netting remains a highlight. Not as much as trying to tackle with his head though. The added benefit of irking Robbie Savage and Chris Sutton makes him the first name on the teamsheet as far I am concerned.

Leno? It’s hard to judge given the lack of involvement in the game. His distribution was no better nor worse than Cech but his decision-making was better. Under pressure, the ball went long; no messing around on the edge of the area or unnecessary corners conceded. A positive.

Vorsalka’s two goals were self-inflicted to varying degrees. The first resulted from possession gifted to the visitors while the second was the inability to close out the game without fuss. Struck from similar positions, I don’t think Leno could stop either with the power beating him.

 

It’s All Greek To Me

Emery refused to blame Leno for either goal as well. “I think that we conceded two goals,” the Spaniard observed, “but not for a mistake [from him].”

It’s not enough to usurp Cech at the moment and I doubt that will happen before the end of the group stage of this competition. Unai noted Leno needs “minutes” so he’ll feature against Brentford as well.

The Man of the Match were I to award one would belong this morning to Sokratis. A pre-assist – yes, it’s a thing now – for Özil’s goal topped off the performance. After a slow start, he wasted no time in taking command of the back four to the point where at Newcastle and last night, he was the best defender on the pitch. And for a big old unit, he moves deceptively quickly.

Aubameyang’s opening goal was the spark of life the game needed. Vorskla pushed forward and were punished by on the counter-attack. The passing was slick and movement quick; Arsenal at their best. It was one of those nights where the first goal signalled the unlocking of the floodgates. Three more duly followed.

Welbeck capped a good passage of play with a header from close range while Özil volleyed off the sole of his boot; 4 – 0, thank you very much. In ‘old money’, the tie was over. At 4 – 2, the second goal meant a tricky affair in the return game in Kyiv. As a group match, the scoreline means little. It might count toward goal difference but realistically, we’d expect to win the group on points.

It was the sort of performance Emery wanted from the fringe players; staking a claim for a first XI place. Alex Iwobi was bright and inventive on the left while Mkhitaryan as well provided food for thought.

It’s Only Natural

A half-full Emirates reflects the four home games in a short space of time but also that group stages are tedious. European football isn’t all about Real Madrid or Bayern all the time but there’s more frisson knowing the team is establishing a lead it must defend in the next game. Five more group games to put it right? Fine when it goes wrong, routine for the remainder. The tension of a cup-tie is missing and that can’t be contrived by UEFA.

That isn’t a situation which will change any time soon, despite crowds around last night’s match showing significant numbers of empty seats.

And is irrelevant to Arsenal, for the moment. There was plenty of good food for the boss’ thoughts ahead of the visit of Everton. I don’t expect radical changes but some in the starting line-up, particularly in the centre of midfield, can’t be sure of their spot any longer.

My guess is that Guendouzi is the one to lose out. Last night was by no means definitive but Torreira brings balance to the side we desperately need. But really, we knew that already. I do think, however, Aaron Ramsey needs to be wondering if he is playing on Sunday. We looked better with more ‘natural’ wide players than the Welshman who, on the right, is a ‘square peg’ solution.

A win and plenty to think about for Unai Emery. The sort of evening he’d have wished for.

’til Tomorrow.

27 thoughts on “Vorskla Review: No Clean Sheet But Handsome Win

  1. If goals against can be nice to see -then last nights were pearls – lovely finishes….course should never have happened and would have preferred a more ‘professional’ closing out of the game….but we were still bombing forward….our goals were also nice to behold. Plenty of positives against a team that parked the bus…..but no real idea about how good either side really was..

    Nice to see some of the ‘stiffs’ get a run out – showed in some of the less cohesive elements of the play

  2. Last night showed we have got some depth to the squad apart from in defence. Monreal & The Sok were used because there is either no cover or a lack of trust in the back up.

    I don’t really understand letting Chambers go to Fulham after pinning him to a new contract, and letting Gabriel go last season looks a silly decision.

  3. Also interesting to see Sol Campbell sitting amongst the fans in the North Bank last night. Got a good reception on his way out of the Stadium. Can’t imagine he would do that at Spurs??

  4. Pete the Thirst,

    Mavropanos was injured, Kos and AMN are also both injured, additionally, there was always going to be one established CB playing. Holding did fine, so i don’t see the issue. Monreal only playing as two LB alternatives are injured and both due back in training start of October

  5. Didn’t think the game would be as easy as some were suggesting.

    These teams usually come here with very little to lose and additionally, we’re still building steam in premier league so couldn’t exactly risk going balls to the wall in terms of energy. We needed a controlled performance and we got that right up until 76minute when we all seemed to turn off. Overall, 4 games on the trot unbeaten with 4 wins AND 2 back to back away wins with Mkhi, Iwobi, Monreal, Welbeck, Mustafi, Auba, Laca, Xhaka and Ozil all having scored thus far. Sort the defensively issues out and it’s something to build on

  6. Letting Gabriel leave i agree, was an odd decision. I thought he was good….I don’t understand why wenger never gave him a run in team when he didn’t really make any mistakes. Especially weird since Per was made it clear he was retiring soon also and we’d need cover.

  7. MesutsLeftFoot,

    Spot on, the signs are there and we just need to continue ti build and I think defensively it will come together but going forwars, especially if Iwobi is confident and replaces Ramsey on the RW, we look very much like we can score.

  8. C,

    Ramsey, imo, isn’t mentally there. I think he knows the chance of a bumper contract is minimal, so unless he’s got confirmation there is a team out there that WILL pay him that i don’t see his angle.

    He’s been fully of energy but sloppy.

    Interesting fact, we’ve only concede two goals whilst Torriera has been on the pitch. 8 without him

  9. Good stuff Yogi.

    4 goals and Aubameyang grabs a brace is always good for both player and club. Iwobi for me was MOTM (though it was tight between he and Sokaritis), just thought he was bright and dangerous everytime he received the ball and his ball to Aubameyang for the first was brilliant along with the work he did to help setup Welbeck’s.

    Torriera really is the balance that we have been lacking in midfield.

  10. MesutsLeftFoot,

    Agree about Ramsey (though I never thought he was more than a barely above average passer for a midfielder) and I think his chances of getting that bumper deal with Arsenal left when Ivan left. It will be interesting to see what happens in January or even worst, if/when he gets an injury.

    I think he simply doesn’t suit Emery’s style because as a pivot you have to stay disciplined defensively and your focus is on covering and linking play and as a 10 you dictate the attack but all based on possession. I wonder who would be willong to pay him?

    Another interesting fact, with Sokaritis has been on the pitch fir every goal conceded…..

  11. Agree RE: Socratis. He’s starting to look like what we need now and like a good example for the younger defenders. I must confess, in pre-season and the first few games, I thought he looked like a rip-off, even on a free.

    To compete for any trophy this season, we need to become defensively more solid but at least it looks like we might get there now. A convincing clean sheet against someone half good would work wonders, you feel.

  12. C,

    We said much the same before the game about Rambo, but seeing the team operate in his absence nailed it home.
    If Iwobi can keep his nerve, then he’s got to be a starter. I particularly enjoyed the first half passages where Tory and Mo kept feeding Iwobi out wide, he had a couple of failed dribbles and a few back passes, but then sucked in his man and burnt him twice in succession. Rob the Bruce stuff.
    he’s a young gun ,and last year I think the fan tension got to him more than most.
    Puts in a good shift too. MOTM for me.

  13. ferkov,

    It was almost like the team saw Iwobi was brimming with confidence and was able to beat his man so they found ways to pass and feed him. If he can find consistency in his play, I agree, he has to start outwide and if not him than Mhkitaryan.

    Not just the fan tension but I also think the way he was handled: have a goid game and get dropped, have a poor game and then play on. I think Iwobi, like Bellerin are players that will benefit the most under Emery’s guidance because its definijg their roles and coaching them up.

  14. MesutsLeftFoot

    I can’t see that there is a team out there willing to pay Ramsey the money he wants from Arsenal. The timing isn’t good for him either, plus you have to think he is only a groin away from a spell on the sidelines. It’s not that much different from Wilshere – holding out for a better deal, leaving, and now on the sidelines for at least 6 weeks. I just don’t think Ramsey is getting good advice from those around him; it’s not as if he’s the spark-plug of the team or anything like that. A few years ago perhaps, but not now.

  15. C:
    MesutsLeftFoot,

    Has Monreal as well ?
    Agree about Ramsey (though I never thought he was more than a barely above average passer for a midfielder) andI think his chances of getting that bumper deal with Arsenal left when Ivan left.It will be interesting to see what happens in January or even worst, if/when he gets an injury.

    I think he simply doesn’t suit Emery’s style because as a pivot you have to stay disciplined defensively and your focus is on covering and linking play and as a 10 you dictate the attack but all based on possession.I wonder who would be willong to pay him?

    Another interesting fact, with Sokaritis has been on the pitch fir every goal conceded…..

  16. C:
    MesutsLeftFoot,

    Agree about Ramsey (though I never thought he was more than a barely above average passer for a midfielder) andI think his chances of getting that bumper deal with Arsenal left when Ivan left.It will be interesting to see what happens in January or even worst, if/when he gets an injury.

    I think he simply doesn’t suit Emery’s style because as a pivot you have to stay disciplined defensively and your focus is on covering and linking play and as a 10 you dictate the attack but all based on possession.I wonder who would be willong to pay him?

    Another interesting fact, with Sokaritis has been on the pitch fir every goal conceded…..

    Has Monreal as well?

  17. Hello all good day from TrumpVille USA. Good win i guess, disappointing no clean sheet again. Defense wasnt really troubled too much and the first time Vorksla came forward we counter-attacked and scored. Agree that Iwobi looked decent and hope he can push on. Has always had a good dribble in him, last night we saw few good turns of pace combined with dribbling and he was a threat offensively.

  18. O yea, and James Cundy is a proper cunt. He said Ozil is the reason Arsenal haven’t won anything since his arrival but then praises Cesc haha. Last I checked Cesc won fuck all while he was here yet Ozil was massive in our 3 FA Cups and in Germany winning the World Cup.

  19. consolsbob,

    We will agree to disagree. Wish Ozil was afforded the talent around him that Cesc had. Its a shame to think that with a better striker we could have won title when Ozil was set to smash the assist record if not for Giroud being out main striker

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