When your two main strikers grab two goals apiece and a fifth goal is an instant contender for team goal of the season, you know you have had a good day. That was certainly the case for Unai Emery’s Arsenal in the 5-1 trouncing of Fulham in what will undoubtedly be one of the best Arsenal matches of this season’s Premier League campaign. And if you bet on football the victory may even tempt you to have a few quid on the Gunners as an outside flutter for the top-flight title. Or if not, then certainly to be in contention for lifting some silverware in this, Emery’s first season in charge since taking over the helm from long-standing boss Arsene Wenger, who departed in the summer.
Both strikers Alex Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (as a second-half sub) nabbed braces and midfielder Aaron Ramsey — said to be on his way out of the Emirates after a big-money contract extension deal was withdrawn — grabbed the goals, but the triumph wasn’t about individuals. The emphatic win, a week ago before the international break, served notice to the rest of the Premier League that Emery is beginning to mould his side, his squad, the back-room staff and the fans’ expectations.
It can’t have been an easy task after such a dynasty under emperor Wenger, and, who knows, it may have lows aplenty before the highs of snaring trophies are achieved. But if you listen to the players, who are after all the most important components in former Paris Saint-Germain Emery’s regime, all is well right now.
One of those players is midfielder Granit Xhaka, who is aged 26. He has shown flashes of talent, especially with long-range goals, since he came to the club two years ago from Borussia Mönchengladbach. But under Emery the Swiss schemer has found a certain consistency, and he attributes his form to the Spanish coach’s influence.
Ever industrious Xhaka began the campaign sharing his midfield duties alongside summer signing Matteo Guendouzi, who is aged just 19. But of late Emery has handed the role to Uruguay midfield ace Lucas Torreira — and the combination, with flair players ahead of the duo of the calibre of Ozil, Aubameyang and Lacazette, has been a huge success.
And Xhaka said of his coach said:
“We needed some time to get to know the character and philosophy of the new manager. It is going well and I am improving but we can still improve.”
Arsenal fans hope the improvement can continue when they host Leicester City at the Emirates Stadium in the Premier League on October 22. They are the on the road once more with a game in the Europa League at Sporting Lisbon on October 25 before travelling to Crystal Palace on the Sunday on October 28.