5 things we learned from Arsenal's win over Leicester | OneFootball
5 things we learned from Arsenal's win over Leicester
Arsenal continued their excellent start to the season with a 4-2 victory over Leicester City at Emirates Stadium on Saturday, with Gabriel Jesus bagging a double in what was a sensational home debut from the Brazilian.
Leicester closed the deficit to just a single goal twice, firstly through William Saliba's own goal and then after James Maddison's low angled strike found it's way past Aaron Ramsdale, but the Gunners hit back in style on both occasions - Granit Xhaka first capitalising on a goalkeeping howler from Danny Ward before Gabriel Martinelli netted a terrific low effort.
The Gunners appear to be full of confidence, coming off the back of a steady pre-season, and there's a real feel good factor around north London that is clear to see in the way Mikel Arteta's players are going about their business.
Here's five things we learned about Arsenal from Saturday's fixture...
1. What a difference a top striker can make
Gabriel Jesus opened the scoring with a magnificent finish / Craig Mercer/MB Media/GettyImages
While you could say the Gunners were in control from the outset, they failed to start the game with the intensity and energy levels seen at Crystal Palace the previous Friday.The stiflingly hot weather conditions certainly made that a far more difficult task but it wasn't until Jesus' stunning opener that the hosts really clicked into gear.The Brazilian's sublime finish was reminiscent of something the Arsenal faithful may have seen from Alexis Sanchez in his pomp, a moment of magic that led to the all important opening goal. The 25-year-old followed it up just 12 minutes later with a poacher's goal to double his side's advantage. What a difference a top quality striker can make.
2. Granit Xhaka can play in an advanced midfield role
Granit Xhaka netted Arsenal's third of the afternoon / Craig Mercer/MB Media/GettyImages
The much maligned Granit Xhaka has dramatically improved under Arteta's management and while many doubted his ability to play further up the pitch, he has proved his doubters wrong in recent weeks. The Swiss international currently plays as the 'left number eight' meaning he often finds himself looking to impact the game in the final third. His instruction is to get up alongside the play in the attacking phase, primarily occupying the half spaces and occasionally slotting into alternative areas to facilitate the left-back's advances. He kept the ball moving brilliantly against Leicester, adding to the fluidity of the team's attacking play and contributed a goal from a position he'd have never occupied in seasons prior.
3. William Saliba is a future star at centre-back
William Saliba made his second competitive start for the Gunners at the weekend / Alex Pantling/GettyImages
At Crystal Palace last weekend, William Saliba was calmness personified - nothing seemed to faze him and despite his own goal on Saturday it was more of the same. The Frenchman got all the physical attributes a Premier League centre-half requires to succeed - pace, strength and a strong aerial presence. Perhaps more importantly than all of the above, after heading the ball past his own goalkeeper - halving Arsenal's lead at the time - Saliba was able to put it behind him immediately, regain his composure and played out the rest of the match flawlessly.
4. Oleksandr Zinchenko adds another dimension to Arsenal
Oleksandr Zinchenko put in a fine display / Craig Mercer/MB Media/GettyImages
Since joining from Manchester City the debate around whether Oleksandr Zinchenko will primarily play in defence or midfield has rumbled on. There's no doubt the 25-year-old's versatility was key in Arsenal's decision to sign the player and judging by Saturday's performance, he plays a huge part in the team's build-up regardless of where he starts on paper.He often tucked into the midfield to assist in the press, made overlapping runs down the left-flank and played passes through the eye of a needle in order to break lines and instigate attacking phases of play.There are still some questions regarding his defensive capabilities but there's no doubt that Zinchenko adds another dimension to the Gunners' attack.
5. The Arsenal faithful are fully behind this team
Arsenal fans were in great voice at the weekend against Leicester / Julian Finney/GettyImages
Arriving at Emirates Stadium on Saturday afternoon there was an air of anticipation and a feel good factor around the place ahead of the first home league fixture.It's taken some time but it finally feels as though Arsenal are back on the right path, a feeling that's been enhanced by the way Mikel Arteta has come across in the recent All or Nothing documentary. The crowd stuck with the Gunners and in particular William Saliba at the weekend. The moans and groans that could be heard frequently inside the stadium previously have since been replaced by vocal support.
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