The Arsenal looked better in yesterday’s game against Napoli than they have in years. The first half they played brilliant attacking soccer, in the second they played intelligent, patient defensive soccer, and were so confident that they actually looked relaxed- not a sensation recently twinned with Arsenal defense.
Napoli took the suckerpunch of the first 20 minutes hard, and looked disconnected and limp for the duration. This was an excellent side comprehensively outplayed… and the particular flavor of delight this brings is something I haven’t tasted as a fan in quite a while.
Özil was phenomenal. Ramsey, playing in the wide role in which he struggled a year ago, kept on being Ramsey, the guy announcers feel moved to describe as “swashbuckling” at least once a game. Flamini and Arteta were fantastic… actually everyone was good. It was, I think, a revelation of a performance, and while I doubt its heights will be reached frequently by the team, I was desperately happy to see where I’d been wrong in appraisal of certain players.
I always thought Ramsey would come good, but I never thought Giroud would be as good as he’s been lately- I thought he was a solid player, a good second choice, a guy you could rely on to put in consistent hard work, but his all-around game has made a massive leap from last year. He’s a bully, he has finesse, and he scores. It’s awesome. And despite the good streak at the end of last season, I didn’t think the defense, particularly the center backs, were capable of such an assured performance in the face of an attack like Napoli’s.
And the team isn’t near full strength: Cazorla, Walcott, the Ox sidelined, and Gnabry, a player everyone expected to be totally peripheral, has already begun to prove himself.
Wenger must be over joyed. More wins are on their way.