Feature

#ARSLEI: Five things we noticed

Aubameyang and Ozil

Arsenal made it a perfect 10 wins in a row with victory over Leicester City on Monday night, and here are some of the standout aspects of another hugely enjoyable night at Emirates Stadium.

OZIL INSPIRES

The playmaker was handed the armband during our win over Watford in our previous game at Emirates, but this was the first time he had been named captain from the start for Arsenal, and the responsibility seemed to inspire him to yet new levels. 

Included in the 'leadership group' that Unai Emery assembled in the summer, Ozil is clearly central to the head coach's plans, and was straight back in the team after missing the trip to Fulham due to back spasms.

But like the team, he had struggled to get going in the first half, before taking the game by the scruff of the neck just before the interval.

He changed the tempo of the game with a storming run before the equaliser. Granit Xhaka spread the play to him on the halfway line, and he steamed forward, finishing a one-two with Hector Bellerin with a tremendous first-time placed shot.

It laid the platform for a dazzling second-half showing. His pass for Hector Bellerin to set up the second goal was arguably the pass of the match, and his dummy in the build-up to the third was only surpassed by the flick to lay the ball on a plate for Aubameyang to score. 

Despite being withdrawn on 80 minutes Ozil made more passes in the opposing half than any other player on the pitch (50), completing 90 per cent of them.

Ozil may have turned 30 last Monday, but he shows absolutely no sign of slowly down.

Mesut Ozil celebrates his equaliser

Mesut Ozil celebrates his equaliser


EMERYBALL TAKES SHAPE

Aaron Ramsey's goal against Fulham in our previous game led to some fans declaring the Goal of the Season competition over already. After our third on Monday, they might have to reopen the polls. Alex Iwobi was the only player not to touch the ball in the build-up. Twenty-one seconds and nine passes after Bernd Leno had the ball at his feet, Aubameyang was converting a superb Mesut Ozil cross.

The other two goals were very easy on the eye too, and the second-half performance especially repeatedly brought the Emirates faithful to their feet.

As well as winning 10 in a row, Arsenal have also scored at least twice in each of the past 11 games now – it's been more than 20 years since they last managed a similar run.

Unai Emery

SECOND HALF INSPIRATION

This was our seventh consecutive Premier League win, and in all of those games, we were level going in at half-time.

Leicester took a deserved lead in the first half, and in fact it could have even been even worse for the Gunners in the opening 45 minutes. Rob Holding could have conceded a penalty - and picked up a second yellow card - for an apparent hand ball in the box, while Bernd Leno made a superb save to keep out a Harry Maguire header.

But Arsenal were transformed after the break. Emery's habit of making early substitutions played a huge part. It was a bold move to move Granit Xhaka to left back when bringing on Aubameyang and Matteo Guendouzi on the hour mark, but the switch to 4-4-2 brought instant success. The game was over as a contest just six minutes later.

Ozil and Auba

AUBA'S MINUTES PER GOAL RATIO IMPROVES

Since joining Arsenal in January, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has scored 16 Premier League goals at a rate of one every 105 minutes. Only Liverpool's Mo Salah has netted more in that timeframe. In his last 57 minutes on the pitch, Auba has scored four times. 

He's netted eight goals from eight starts in all competitions this season, and is now on 18 goals in all competitions for the Gunners.

What will be interesting to see now is whether Emery reverts to starting with both Lacazette and Aubameyang in the same lineup, or whether he keeps one of the strikers as a weapon from the bench.

Aubameyang

 

ZECH MEDLEY 

For the first time in his Arsenal career, teenage defender Zech Medley was named in the matchday squad for the first-team. Standing at 6ft 5in, the 18 year old joined our academy midway through the 2016/17 season from Chelsea, and has been starring for our under-23 team this term.

Primarily a centre back, Zech was also on the bench as cover for the left-back role, with both Nacho Monreal and Sead Kolasinac unavailable. He didn't get his chance tonight, but he would have been encouraged to know he's in Unai Emery's thoughts, and he might have further chances to stake a claim later this month, when we host Blackpool in the Carabao Cup, and continue our Europa League campaign.

Medley