Our first European game of the season and that was in Europa league after many years. The game was marred by dramatic scenes as Köln fans went rampage in london and game was subsequently delayed for an hour. Some 20k Köln fans came to london after buying tickets in the Arsenal end of the stadium after only 3k seats were allotted to them & then created chaos around and inside Emirates which was largely suffered by Arsenal fans only. Some even bought Arsenal jerseys, memberships just to enter the stadium while some didn’t even had tickets. Poor stadium management was also reflected.
Team selection had some debatable choices as we started the regular 3 at the back , with iwobi & maitland niles starting out of position but it was understandable as we had to rotate the squad for this game. My only issue with the team selection was Wilshere & maybe young Nelson as i wanted them to start.
We began the game brightly only to concede in the ninth minute of the game due to ospina’s poor clearance & a great finish by cordoba. After that we largely suffered in the first half & Köln were looking dangerous on the break. Most of our players struggled in the first half as we went into the break a goal down as emirates faithful booed the first half performance.
Fast forward to the second half , wenger made an important substitution and a tactical switch to 4 at the back as Kolasinac replaced Holding who was largely struggling in the game. Wenger’s tactical changes only started the massive turnaround in this game. Kolasinac ( MOTM on the day) levelled the score just after 3 minutes into the second half after a good run by Walcott. Then we started dominating the game and created many chances. Alexis Sanchez scored a worldie in the 67th minute as we made our domination count, thats what he can do even on his off day. Long awaited appearance by Mr. Arsenal , Jack Wilshere came after 68th minute when he replaced iwobi and looked really sharp. We dominated in crucial areas after he came on & created a lot. We further increased our advantage in the 81st minute when Bellerin scored after Walcott’s shot was saved brilliantly by Köln’s GK Horn. Much awaited home debut of Arsenal prodigy Reiss Nelson came at 82 minutes after he replaced Walcott. He then looked great, combined well with Wilshere. We finished the game 3-1 after a massive turnaround & some brilliant play in the second half. On to the Ratings now :
FIRST TEAM :
Ospina – 6
Was at fault for the goal we conceded. Made some good saves but looked shaky at times too.Needs to be more commanding.
Holding – 5
Struggled in the first half maybe due to a knock he was carrying or his current poor form. Needs to improve, we need develop him correctly without pressurising him. Was substituted at the break.
Mertesacker – 7.5
Had a good game, made some crucial tackles & clearances. Organised the defence very nicely. Struggled a little with pace in the first half but was largely solid throughout.
Monreal – 7.5
Mr. Consistent had a very good game. His interceptions & passes were very good. Köln’s attack didn’t trouble him much.
Bellerin – 8
He had a good game like on Saturday & was convincing both offensively and defensively. Wrapped up the game with a goal after some good instinct & finish. Looks like he is coming back to his best.
Elneny – 6
Looked anonymous in the first half but his passing was good. Played better in the second half but didn’t have much impact.
Iwobi – 5.5
Hardly any impact by our academy product but was played out of position in first half. Assisted the Sanchez goal but that was largely due to latter’s brilliant play. He has to improve to get more starts, was substituted later for Wilshere.
Maitland-Niles – 6
Was played out of position, didn’t do much in the game but his passing & runs were good at times.Improved when he was moved to CM in the second half. Way to go for another young talent.
Walcott – 7
Was mostly offside in the game. Missed 2-3 easy chances & many things didn’t go his way but finished the game with 2 assists. Made some good runs & his pace caused problems for the opposition.
Giroud – 6
Didn’t influence the game as he would have liked to but some of his hold up play was impressive. Linked well with the team sometimes but can certainly do better.
Sanchez – 7
Had a bad first half & was dispossessed many times in the first half. Had some redemption in the second half as he scored a World class goal.Could have had more later. He will cause all sorts of problems for opposition once he is back to full fitness.
Kolasinac – 9 ( MOTM)
Man of the match on the day. He changed the game completely after coming on as a substitute in the second half. Scored a bullet to level us & always looked dangerous. His best performance in an Arsenal shirt. This guy truly is a beast.
Wilshere – 7
Looked very sharp after coming on. Played some beautiful football & had a positive influence. His dummy for the 3rd goal was superb as he took out three players from the game with his intelligence. Needs to start more as he is one of the best players we have.
Nelson – 7
Had a positive home debut as he looked dangerous with his movement & intelligent play. Way to go for the young lad.
Thats all from my review & ratings. I hope you liked it . Thank you for reading. Your comments are all welcome. Happy Gooners!🙌
Tejasvi Bhandari ( @SaviAfc on Twitter )