This great club was once renowned around Europe and the world for playing some of the most explosive football: fast, dangerous and creative. All could be used to describe Arsenal of old. But this past season some of the beautiful football we know and love about the club was missing, in other words, we had run low on powder to fire our famous cannon. As sad as this reality seems, there is always more powder to stock. Alexis Sanchez for all his wonderful memories he has given me as an Arsenal fan, I believe he was one of the reasons we were firing blanks. He was often sloppy on the ball in the middle of the park, with his dispossession stat being one of the worst in the league. He would also cling onto the ball for too long and try the difficult pass; opposed to the quick, one touch passing and fluidity of Arsenal’s play normally, Alexis, would turn us into a predictable, one dimensional team. So, with the departure of Alexis, what does this spell for Arsenal?
In short, a new era. Whilst Alexis’ time at Arsenal was short, it was his era at the club. He was the main man, often greedy, but nonetheless, the main man. His goals and assists were influential in our times of success, but, he never lead us to a Premier League title; his contribution on the grand scheme of things was minimal and he will soon be forgotten and lost to the vast history of our club. The new era without Alexis has started brilliantly. A thrilling 4-1 win against Palace offered the fans a first half of free flowing, pass and move football. There was no Alexis holding onto the ball or giving it away in dangerous areas. We played as a team, the Arsenal way. After all, this is Arsenal FC not Alexis FC. By this I mean, before we played the Alexis way, now we are playing the Arsenal way again, there was a sense of freedom that the players exhibited and it was truly a joy to watch. Alexis is involved in a swap deal with Manchester United. It is a straight swap between Alexis Sanchez and Henrikh Mkhitaryan (with the potential of Arsenal also getting cash and Mkhitaryan). Mkhitaryan is an Arsenal mould of player. We tried signing him in 2016 following his extraordinary season in the Bundesliga. Now we have finally got our man. He is a playmaker, he can dribble past players, as well as, see and perform the final “killer” pass. In my opinion, although he will not replace the amount of goals Alexis provides the team, I think he will improve the team. He is a team player, he passes at the right time and will play the Arsenal way. Something Alexis didn’t. I can’t wait to see Mkhitaryan in an Arsenal shirt, he is an extremely talented player and admires the Arsenal brand of football. He will offer more to Arsenal’s fluid, sinuous style of football and he will make us a better team.
But, this is only restocking the powder, what will be the spark that lights the cannon?
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, together with Lacazette. Arsenal will have one of the most deadly strike force in Europe, having waited so long to replace RVP with a world class striker, soon they will have two. Aubameyang and Lacazette, two of the most clinical strikers in the world playing together in front of Ozil, Wilshere, Ramsey and Mkhitaryan. This is the lighting of the cannon. Aubameyang: strong, fast, good in the air and clinical. Lacazette: fast, great hold up and link up play, intelligent movement and clinical. In an Arsenal system that will rotate on the pitch and be fluid, interchanging positions and moving the ball quickly with no one to slow it down, any defence in the world would fear and struggle against such a team. This is how Arsenal Football Club will light the cannon once again and display the explosive attacking football to get fans off their seats, and the song, “Whose that team they call the Arsenal, whose that team we all adore, they’re the boys in red and white, and they’re f*cking dynamite, they’re out to show the world just how to score”, will actually mean something once again.
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