Laca’s London record, short corners, Bosscielny is back and Sokratis – here are the four things we learned from our derby win against Chelsea:
Laca loves London
Another London derby, another Alexandre Lacazette goal. When the France forward opened the scoring with a superbly-taken strike in the 14th minute, it was his fifth goal against our capital rivals this season. Only Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (6) has scored more in derbies, and it capped off another excellent display from Laca, who could also have had an assist for Auba early on with a fine ball across the six-yard box. Lacazette’s 10th of the season was a thing of beauty, and set us on track for a big victory.
Short corners cause chaos for Chelsea
One of the most noticeable aspects of the Unai Emery era so far has been the variety we have added to our set-piece routines. In this match, we clearly set out to cause issues with short corners and, after nearly opening the scoring with one when Sokratis headed wide, we had more luck second time round when Granit Xhaka and Lucas Torreira found Hector Bellerin, who picked out Lacazette in the box, and he did the rest. It was not the last time we would try the tactic, and it caused chaos in the Chelsea area – and was another tactical success for Emery.
Bosscielny is back
It has been a long, arduous road back to full fitness for Laurent Koscielny – and this was the performance that proved he really is back. The former France international was in imperious form, making 13 clearances (seven more than any other player on the pitch), making three interceptions, and finishing with a 100 per cent tackle success rate. His goal – his first for 351 days - may have had an element of fortune about it, but considering what he has been through over the past nine months, it is one he richly deserves – along with the man-of-the-match award he picked up.
Sokratis stands firm
Arsenal fans of a certain vintage will still shudder at memories of the days when Didier Drogba used to terrorise our backline, but we faced a very different challenge on Saturday with Eden Hazard playing as a false nine for Chelsea. The Belgian international is one of the world’s premier players, but got nothing out of Laurent Koscielny and Sokratis. The latter clearly love defending and his performance here exuded controlled hostility whenever the visitors threatened. One tackle in particular, on Willian in the area, just before the hour mark brought the Clock End to its feet in appreciation and Sokratis pumped his fists in celebration as if he had scored himself. It was another rock-solid performance from the 30-year-old.
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