Arsenal beat Sevilla 2-0 in the Champions League and continued their positive form with a 3-1 win against Burnley in the Premier League. The Gunners are now third in the Premier League, only one point behind Manchester City. This is an encouraging development after two consecutive losses. Let’s dive deeper into these wins.
Arsenal 23-24 Matches 17-18: Arsenal’s Defense Was Quite Good Overall
The Gunners’ defense is very good in general and that was clear to see in both games. Arsenal stifled Sevilla’s attack and only allowed a single shot on target from the Spanish side. Even that was hardly threatening and David Raya made a routine save. The Arsenal defense consisted of Ben White, Gabriel Magalhaes, William Saliba, and Takehiro Tomiyasu against Sevilla. All of them played well and contributed to Sevilla’s attack doing very little.
Ben White’s injury is concerning and forced Arsenal to change up the defense a bit against Sevilla. Gabriel Magalhaes and William Saliba remained in their usual positions, but Tomiyasu shifted to right-back and Zinchenko started at left-back. Still, the defensive performance was still quite good.
Burnley managed five shots on target but rarely seemed too threatening. The one goal that they scored was due to an unlucky deflection. Tomiyasu could have done better to prevent that goal. Still, the Arsenal defense overall deserves praise in these two games. Saliba scored Arsenal’s second goal against Burnley and Zinchenko scored Arsenal’s third goal against Burnley in fantastic fashion to seal the win.
Oleksandr Zinchenko is the Man of the Match against Burnley. He defended well, contributed all over the pitch, and scored a fantastic goal to secure the three points for Arsenal.
The Gunners’ Midfield Dominated Possession and Controlled Both Games
Dominating possession is nothing new to this Arsenal side. Arsenal did it against both Sevilla and Burnley. The Gunners had 62% possession against Sevilla and 63% possession against Burnley. Jorginho stepped in for Thomas Partey and played well in both games, contributing to Arsenal’s first goal against Sevilla. His pass to Saka allowed Saka to get the space to provide the assist for Trossard’s goal.
Declan Rice continues to impress in Arsenal’s midfield. He controlled the midfield, made some great passes, and made some good runs to support Arsenal’s attack. Naturally, he shielded the Arsenal defense expertly, as well. Rice’s consistency is frankly astonishing, but it is great to see Arsenal’s significant investment in him already begin to pay off.
Kai Havertz is the only member of the Arsenal midfield who barely contributed in these two games. Havertz has struggled overall since joining Arsenal. Hopefully, he will improve soon and contribute more.
Arsenal’s Attack Was Efficient in Both Games
Arsenal’s attack is quite potent and can overwhelm opponents at times, as we have seen this season. The Gunners’ attack didn’t overwhelm Sevilla or Burnley, but it was still efficient in front of goal. Arsenal had three shots on target against Sevilla and scored twice. Gabriel Martinelli and Leandro Trossard both played well against Sevilla. Trossard has adapted to his new role at center-forward well. However, Bukayo Saka is the one who stood out the most in Arsenal’s attack against Sevilla.
Saka had a good assist and a great goal. He is the Man of the Match against Sevilla.
The attack was efficient again in the game against Burnley. Arsenal scored three goals from six shots on target against Burnley and could have scored more. Defenders might have scored two of Arsenal’s three goals against Burnley. However, the front three of Saka, Martinelli, and Trossard still played well.
Trossard had a goal and an assist against Burnley. He is a strong contender for Man of the Match against Burnley. Trossard has three goal contributions in two games since moving to center-forward for Arsenal.
Arsenal 23-24 Matches 17-18: 8/10 Manager Ratings for Arteta in Both Games
Arteta did a good job in both games and deserves praise. He receives an 8/10 manager rating for the game against Sevilla. Arsenal defended very well in that match, dominated possession, and were efficient in front of goal.
Arteta also receives an 8/10 manager rating for the game against Burnley. Arsenal defended well overall in that match aside from one moment, dominated possession again, and had the same efficiency in front of goal. Starting Trossard at center-forward is another decision that Arteta got absolutely right, as well.
The Gunners Will Return to Action after the International Break
It is now time for another international break. This break is perhaps well-timed for Arsenal, given both the club’s positive momentum in terms of results and lengthy injury list. Hopefully, some injured players will return to fitness during this break. Arsenal will play Brentford away in the Premier League once they return. I would bet on Arsenal winning that fixture once again, given Arsenal’s overall excellent away form this season.
Check back next week for more Arsenal content.