Look, I know that “it’s just Burnley,” a side inked in as relegation fodder after just 12 matches in, but we still came away with an important result. Despite their dire form of late, they’ve been a bit of a bogey side of late. We’ve only won twice from the last six outings, and this was by far the most emphatic. Taking the longer view, it wasn’t so long ago that we’d struggle to see off smaller sides, hamstringing our aspirations in all sorts of ways. While this result is hardly the sort that champions are made of, there are still some insights to be gleaned. Let’s get to it, then…
Please play Trossard through the “middle”…
I’ve made this case before, even as recently as a few days ago, and I will submit my request informally now and by affidavit later. Trossard, aside from being one of the most valuable signings ever (no hyperbole whatsoever), is probably the best deputy for Jesus that we have. Like Jesus, he finds the seams. He’s deft with the ball at his feet. He likes to drift wide to the left, creating space for Martinelli to sluice in and under. For as much as we’d like to see a more-traditional striker such as Nketiah succeed, playing Trossard through the middle makes more and more sense by the matchday.
Saliba ain’t the perfect CB…or is he?
Saliba is quickly emerging as one of the best CBs in the Prem if not further abroad, but there was a moment…just a shadow of a glimpse of weakness when Saliba hesitated, allowing Gudmundsson a glimmer of a chance. Raya was up to the challenge, but it was perhaps the first time that we’ve seen Saliba indecisive, even exposed. Here’s my theory: Saliba, sensing that he’s built a reputation as a Rolls-Royce of a defender, wanted to invite a degree of doubt so as to set a trap for attackers. He wants to lure them in before springing the trap. Oh—he’ll also pop up here or there with a goal.
Havertz continues to underwhelm…
…at least if you focus on goals and assists. He continues to make himself useful even if his critics will focus rightly or wrongly on the headed chance he fluffed in the 30th minute. He continues to do the donkey-work that others would eschew; he’s like Giroud without the end-product…but he’s knocking on if not kicking down that door. Keep in mind that he spent three very formative years in the maelstrom that is Chelsea. For as fashionable as it might be to bash our signings of Chelsea players, Kai is cut from a different cloth. It’s only a matter of time before he convinces. Get behind him.
VAR is correct as often as a broken clock
Fabio Vieira was guilty. He went into a challenge studs up and was fortunate to escape a Shawcrossian legacy. Even if Brownhill did his best Neymar-esque performance, few could argue against Oliver showing Vieira a straight red. In his post-match presser, Arteat insisted the he be asked “about VAR because today it was good. I hope that i’m on TV saying the referees are so good and I’m completely with them and being very constructive.”
That’s it for now. We go into the international break on a bit of a high, but we have to know that we’ll have to hit the ground running when we return to our commitments. For now, rest easy in the knowledge that we’re atop the Prem (pending the result of Man City’s trip to Stamford Bridge). All in all, as ever, it feels good to be a Gooner.