Nacho Monreal and Alex Iwobi scored either side of the break to bag all three points against Brighton & Hove Albion on a historic day for Arsene Wenger.
A sparkling display from Alexis Sanchez and a goal apiece from Nacho Monreal and Alex Iwobi helped Arsenal to an easy 2-0 win over Brighton & Hove Albion at the Emirates on Sunday. This made it four straight wins for the Gunners in all competitions. And they look to build momentum and put the gloom from the start of the season firmly behind them.
Against a struggling Brighton Arsenal had the time and space to settle in and build-up their attacks almost at leisure. And with Sanchez fizzing around as he has been lately, Brighton were often left scrambling in the wake of the Gunners’ attack.
Granit Xhaka and Aaron Ramsey had a good game in midfield, controlling proceedings for the home side. If Arsenal have been left wanting in one area in the past couple of years, it’s the centre. Santi Cazorla was a reassuring presence even through the lack of an accomplished defensive midfielder.
Alexis Sanchez has now recorded 11 Premier League assists since the start of last season; more than any Arsenal player.
Classy back heel. pic.twitter.com/jLjgMLrDkG
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) October 1, 2017
But his nightmarish struggle with injuries over the past year has meant that Arsene Wenger has lacked serious quality in the area, leaving his side with a soft core so easily exploited on occasions. However Xhaka and Ramsey finally look to be growing into their roles. And while sterner tests await the duo, Wenger should be well pleased with their display in recent games.
But perhaps the most curious aspect of Arsenal’s revival and their most recent triumphs, is that the manner in which they’re purring along without Mesut Ozil. Considered one of the only two heavyweights in the squad alongside Sanchez, the German playmaker has more often than not come under heavy criticism for his apparently poor work rate – particularly in high-stakes fixtures. Whether this is mere coincidence or more revelatory, fans will know once Ozil returns from injury.
Arsenal continue building on unbeaten streak post the debacle against Liverpool
Reaching a remarkable 21st year at the helm at Arsenal wasn’t the only feat Wenger accomplished on Sunday. Brighton became the 45th club in the English top division that has fallen to the Frenchman in his term. That’s more than any other manager – even Sir Alex Ferguson, who’s been there five years longer than Wenger.
However, milestones aside, it would be Arsenal’s continued winning streak that would buoy Wenger more than anything else. The Gunners have been unbeaten across competitions since the 4-0 hammering at Anfield. And this fourth consecutive takes them back into the top five, breathing hope yet of re-entering the mix for the top.
Happy anniversary, Arsene Wenger!
— Match of the Day (@BBCMOTD) October 1, 2017
Arsene Wenger isn’t quite out of the woods yet when it comes to the fans haranguing for his head. But he has steadied the ship as it were after a rocky start. And from the looks of it he seems to be navigating the tiring fixture spread of the Europa and PL fairly well. With relatively easy fixtures scheduled for October, Arsenal could well be expected to build a head of steam into November. And that’s where the going gets tougher, against the likes of Man City and Tottenham.
Reactions to Sunday’s game
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger looked back on his time at the club and the changing landscape of the game through the years:
“In this job you only look for the next game. When you look back you see the distance you have made. Overall, football changed a lot in this 21 years.”
On the win itself on the day:
“We kept the clean sheet and of course got three points. We’ve played more fluent than today but playing Monday, Thursday and today, it was important to get three points. We eased off in concentration and decision-making and then it becomes a bit harder.
— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) October 1, 2017
“The question mark is there when you change so many players, can you keep cohesion? It was a difficult week because the game at BATE was a difficult game. I am pleased.”
Brighton & Hove Albion boss Chris Hughton on the loss and what he takes away from his side’s performance:
“It was a spirited performance. I can’t accuse the lads of not giving everything. It is always going to be difficult here, levels of concentration have to be for 90 minutes.
“The only disappointment in the game is that we could have shown a little more on the ball and been a little more adventurous on the ball. You have to look at the positives.”