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When the line up was announced on Twitter, many Gooners were having a fit that Francis Coquelin was starting the game in place of Granit Xhaka. But I think Coquelin was exceptional in the opening stages of the game, he was one of the guys that set the tone he was part of the reason we imposed ourselves on the West Londonders. His injury, picked up close to the 30 minute mark looks serious and could rule him out for a long time. He looked visibly distraught as he limped off the pitch. Arsene has shown incredibly amounts of faith in Coquelin this season when it looked like he may have fallen way down the ladder, we have to hope that the injury is not worst case scenario stuff but it looks bad.

Ainsley Maitland-Niles has played at right back twice before in his career apparently, he looked like a typical modern day Arsenal right back. Granted he was not tested defensively as he would against better teams but he stretched the pitch and combined very well with the Arsenal players around him. It will be interesting to see if he is played as full back in the youth sides after this performance. Debuchy is almost certainly heading out of the club and Jenkinson’s future is unclear. A path could open up for him to get a place in the Arsenal squad as a back up right back but it’s very very early days. He will need to gain experience and consistency before any of that.

Coquelin’s role in our build up has been a cause of frustration in recent games from Arsenal fans but I don’t think that acquisition can be levelled at him yesterday. He received the ball in tight spaces between the lines and recycled quickly. He also passed between the lines without any issues. He is no Iniesta but he was fantastic yesterday. Cazorla too played an important role yesterday and linked up very well with Mesut Ozil in particular. He tired a little in the second half and was on a knife edge in regards to his early booking but it begs the question

We did not manage to create many clear chances with our possession but that was largely because they defended much better than we did throughout the game. Mesut Özil was far from his best but 13 minutes from time he showed his quality with a lovely check back from the left of the box. Most players in the world are crossing that ball into the box but Özil does not need to cross the ball, he passes from all angles of the pitch and it was his pass that landed at Iwobi who lashed in a shot that Areola could only manage to push out to Alexis who came in late to scuff a shot off the turf and past the keeper.

Watford were not able to get Igalho and Deeney into the game for that very reason. We had a lot more of the ball and whenever Watford gained possession we forced them into mistakes.
The penalty was a definite penalty even if I did’t know it had been awarded at the time. Not a fan of penalties being stuck low down the middle but I’m a big fan of Arsenal penalties going in so I’ll more than take Cazorla’s early strike.
The penalty was all about the quality of Mesut Ozil. We needed the breakthrough at Leicester City last weekend but missed Mesut’s brilliance, this time his left footed floater was heading towards Alexis before the Watford player stupidly lead with his elbow on our forward.

So the question is, do Koscielny and Mustafi stop Liverpool's goals? It's impossible to say really isn't it? Obviously it does not help having an inexperienced centre back pairing but I think it fits the narrative of not spending a little too conveniently. When we dropped off our intensity in winning the ball high up it looked like absolutely anybody could walk through us and create shots on our goal, especially from wide. That was not down to our centre backs. When we defended as a team in the first half there could not be a bad word said of either Chambers or Holding. In fact, I thought to myself during the game that one of the highlights of this half was Chambers


The centre back pairing is one of the obvious and it was no surprise to see the experienced Gabriel start the game. new boy Rob Holding was the chosen one to partner the Brazilian. The midfield combination was also of much interest. It seems as if Arsene is looking to start Coquelin alongside Xhaka in the first game of the season. Without going back through the games, I think Coquelin has played whenever Xhaka has. Given that Xhaka is the deepest of the midfielders it leaves Coquelin in somewhat of a box to box role and I am not quite sure how much I like the idea of that

  • 15 Sep 2015
    So let me stop reminiscing of days gone by and let me focus on our Welsh wonder. Let me start off by saying that I think it is quite obvious that Aaron Ramsey is better in central midfield. His partnership with Mesut Özil, his running from deep and his underrated ball winning ability makes him a ...Read more