Arsenal: Wenger reflects; starlet's summer exit not club's choice; Serie A youngster linked

Arsene Wenger said Arsenal’s first-half performance against Chelsea was close to perfection, as the Gunners thumped their London rivals 3-0 in a convincing home display. Alexis Sanchez, Theo Walcott and Mesut Özil scored first-half goals, as Arsenal cut through the visitors with pace and slick interplay. It was The Gunners’ first win over Chelsea in the league since 2011; going into the game, they hadn’t even scored a league goal against them since January 2013.

Wenger’s side have an attractive set of fixtures in October, and will be trying to build on their emphatic triumph and get closer to league leaders Manchester City. In his post-match press-conference Wenger said:

“I feel, especially in the first half, we wanted to play with high pace, put them under pressure, play at a very high collective connection and speed of passing – it worked quite well. It’s one of those moments in your life as a manager where you think ‘today is a great day’. In the first half, I think it was nearly perfect. In the second half it was a bit in-and-out but in the first half, we have shown great quality. We played with style, with pace, with movement – and that’s the kind of football we want to play.”

 

Scoring the first goal is something Arsenal have failed to do against Chelsea for some time, and it makes a huge difference to how the game pans out. Typically, the Blues are the team with numbers behind the ball tying to play on the counter attack, but Arsenal were able to do that once they were 2-0 up inside 15 minutes.

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In previous encounters they had Olivier Giroud up front against John Terry and Gary Cahill, a physical confrontation that played into the hands of the England pair. Yesterday, Arsenal took a leaf out of Liverpool’s book and disturbed Chelsea with sharp movement and slick passing.

Elsewhere, in the lead up to the Chelsea game, Wenger admitted that Arsenal did not want to sell Serge Gnabry to Werder Bremen but were forced to as he entered the last year of his contract. Gnabry joined the Bundesliga outfit for £5 million in the summer, and was Germany’s best player at the Olympic games in Rio. It was something of a surprise that Arsenal let Gnabry, Jack Wilshere and Joel Campbell all leave this summer, but the strength of their second string against Nottingham Forest last week shows an immense amount of squad depth.

 

Finally, the Gunners are reportedly looking at Frank Kessie, a 19-year-old Ivorian forward who has scored four goals in his last five games for Atlanta. Kessie has been compared to fellow countryman Yaya Toure, however he is not the first and he won’t be the last promising Ivorian player to have this comparison thrust upon him.

Chelsea and Juventus are also interested, with the player’s agent confirming that Arsenal had sent scouts to watch him:

“They [Arsenal] were here in Italy to watch him”, Kessie’s agent said.

“Arsenal are a good team but there are a lot of teams interested in him so they’re not the only possible destination.”

Featured image: All rights reserved by Emrah Partal

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