Alexis Sanchez Is In Full Flow Now
It took him a while to click into gear, but after the hat-trick at Leicester City last weekend we were again treated to moments of excellence from Alexis Sanchez, who played like a man possessed in the opening 20 minutes.
Drifting in from the left as he loves to do, his two goals showcased the two different key facets of his game. The first was all about finesse, and the second was all about power.
Put them both together and you’ve got one of the best talents in world football.
And Theo Walcott Is Thriving Too
He didn’t score, but Theo Walcott was involved in two of the goals as Arsenal made that lightning start, with his pace and movement suggesting that Arsene Wenger was right to ignore the many, many claims made over the summer that he needed to sign a forward.
Combining so well with those around him, Walcott delivered one of this very best performances in an Arsenal shirt, enough to suggest that Olivier Giroud is going to have to get used to bench duty.
But Arsenal Still Need Petr Cech To Save Them From Themselves
After Aaron Ramsey missed a glorious opportunity to make it 4-0 just after the half hour mark, so began a period where the Gunners seemed to be reflecting on what it was they’d just gone and done.
They were pinned back by United, who could have reduced the deficit with big chances for Anthony Martial and Bastian Schweinsteiger either side of half-time.
On both occasions, though, Petr Cech was able to make smart saves to deny the visitors, thereby reducing the possibility that angst could take over at the Emirates Stadium.
And no-one does angst quite like Arsenal fans.
Not Picking Morgan Schneiderlin Was A Bizarre Decision
A recurring theme of Arsenal’s stunning first half was the amount of space they were able to find in front of the United defence, with Schweinsteiger operating in a bizarrely high position and Michael Carrick simply getting overrun.
A penny for the thoughts, then, of Morgan Schneiderlin, who watched all of this unfold on the bench against a club that many felt he was going to join in the summer.
Not picking the Frenchman from the start of this game might rank amongst the weirdest decisions of Louis van Gaal’s United reign, up there with making Phil Jones take corners and grabbing the microphone at last season’s awards ceremony.
United’s Faltering Full-Backs Are A Real Weak Link
The horrific injury to Luke Shaw last month was a huge blow to Van Gaal and his team following the Englishman’s impressive start to the season, but ever since it happened the Dutchman has got it very wrong in the full-back positions.
After Matteo Darmian was substituted at half-time in the recent win over Southampton, it was Ashley Young who started at left-back here, and he ended up looking horribly out of position during that dizzying opening spell.
With Darmian also experiencing a dip in form from his good start to the season, United were simply inviting Arsenal to attack them down both flanks, and that’s certainly what they did.
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