LONDON, ENGLAND – SEPTEMBER 29: Alexandre Lacazette of Arsenal stands dejected during the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Watford FC at Emirates Stadium on September 29, 2018 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
Arsenal’s win against Newcastle was gratifying for a lot of reasons, not least of all that Alexandre Lacazette hasn’t even been unleashed yet.
Arsenal‘s 1-0 win against Newcastle is not the kind of win we’re used to. Not only was it a clean sheet away from home, which we notched all of zero of last year, but it was just a nasty, gritty match that required some serious mental solidity to win. And factor in thatAlexandre Lacazette, our player of the season, didn’t even play.
There wasn’t a lot of fluid attacking play in this one. The Gunners won by boasting superior defense (yes, really), and a midfield that was able to control possession, especially late in the game, and kill the match off. The attack was a rotating cast of characters, all with something to prove, andPierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who obviously won us the match.
Winning is gratifying in and of itself, but when you’re able to win in different ways, it just feels like it’s worth more. How many games did we win last year because of solid defense? I can count the total on one hand, and I don’t even know if I’d need all my fingers.
Whatever success we found last year was found through superior attacking abilities. We scored more goals and didn’t care so much about what we surrendered. Lacazette was our player of the season for a reason, not Koscielny or Leno or Xhaka or Sokratis.
The attack drives this team, and against Newcastle, our best attacker wasn’t even used. Which, to me, is such a wonderful bit of icing on the cake.
Lacazette was warming up to come onto the pitch when Aubameyang slotted home. Just like that, Lacazette took a u-turn to the bench and didn’t get onto the pitch at all. Our first away clean sheet in over a year and we did it without our best player.
Of course, we also did it withoutNicolas Pepe, our record signing, and in the aftermath, Aubameyang was gushing about how epic this attack would be when the three were united in one attack.
And, more importantly, I’ll add how exciting it will be if our defense and midfield can remain as stoic as they proved against Newcastle.
But hey, even if not, this attack is built to take on the world, and if we only missed Champions League football by a point last season, then this attack alone should be able to make up the difference.