Feature

#ARSWHU: Three things we noticed

SATURDAY SMILES

It's been a long time since we've been able to celebrate a Saturday win – not since the second game of the season back in August in fact.

We ended a run of seven Saturday games without success with this hard-fought, battling three points.

But at home we are on an excellent run for Saturday 3pm kick-offs, unbeaten since the opening day of the 2013/14 season – some 27 matches ago.

But the unbeaten run that means most at the moment is the eight-game streak we are currently on in the Premier League - longer than any other side – that consists of four draws and four wins, including the last three in a row.

That will surely be put to the test this Wednesday evening at the Etihad, but if Mikel Arteta can come away from his former employers with his 2020 unbeaten record still intact, we will be well-placed for the season's run in.


VAR-SENAL

It's been said that VAR has taken away much more than it's given during its first season of operation in the Premier League, but this time we were just about on the right side of the photoshopped lines.

Sian Massey-Ellis's flag was up as soon Mesut Ozil headed the ball into Alexandre Lacazette's path in front of goal, so the initial celebrations were cut very short, with our No. 10 deemed to be offside from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's initial pass.

A full two minutes later however – once VAR had scrutinised the goal in great detail – the decision was overturned, and the players could enjoy the moment.

Of course we've been on the wrong side of VAR's interventions as well this season, but this was the second time a goal disallowed for offside has been rescinded in our favour – following Aubameyang's strike at Old Trafford.

So justice was done in the end, but the length of time the officials took to come to the right decision frustrated the Emirates crowd, and is undoubtedly another teething problem of the technology.


PABLO'S PREMIER PERFORMANCE

Two games, two wins, two clean sheets - Pablo Mari has started life as an Arsenal player in perfect fashion.

After getting his first taste of English football in the tricky surroundings of Fratton Park in the FA Cup debut, his Premier League debut came against a West Ham strike-force buoyed by their 3-1 win over Southampton last weekend.

He was equal to it. Playing to the left of David Luiz in the centre of defence, he showed his aerial strength to make more clearances than any other player on the pitch (eight), and looked assured with the ball at his feet as well, attempting 82 passes, second only to Dani Ceballos.

Bernd Leno probably stole the show defensively though with some more big saves, but Mari played his part in combative, dogged display, and it means we've now kept three clean sheets in our past four league games, as many as we had in the previous 23.

 

 

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