Arsenal collected their first clean sheet of the season when they defeated Marco Silva’s Everton 2-0 in London on Sunday evening. The win marked their fifth consecutive win in all competitions.
The Gunners got off to a rather torrid start to their campaign, losing to Manchester City and Chelsea in their opening games.
Although they lost 3-2 to the latter, their performance underlined their quality. They bounced back to score two goals in four minutes after conceding two in less than 20 minutes and looked poised to claim a win at the Stamford Bridge only to concede a Marcos Alonso goal in the dying minutes.
Since the London derby loss, however, they’ve played exceptionally well or, perhaps, they’ve managed to secure results. It’s a truism that they’re expected to win the games they’ve done given the difficulty level of those games, but none would disagree that they desperately needed the wins to create a positive atmosphere around the Emirates Stadium.
Defeating West Ham United, Cardiff City, Newcastle United and Vorskla surely helped the players and media be invested in Unai Emery’s plans. In a somewhat dire situation, the wins was enough reason for the fans to search for positives.
The club, having seen the fans actively nitpick for the entirety of Arsene Wenger’s second part of his Arsenal career, the shift in mentality has been a welcome change. Even the AFTV regulars, even those who denied singing One Arsene Wenger on his final day at the club, now back the new manager fully.
The road to their fifth consecutive victory hasn’t essentially been a bed of roses, though. In fact, certain aspects of their game raised concerns over the quality of the side. Petr Cech’s ball-playing, Mesut Ozil’s attitude, Hector Bellerin’s defending, Lucas Torreira’s absence and Granit Xhaka’s movement were all identified as Arsenal’s weaknesses.
In the recent weeks, however, Arsenal have been able to work on their weaknesses.
For instance, the 36-year-old Arsenal goalkeeper has improved his passing to a great extent and has been as good a shot-stopper as he’s ever been in an Arsenal shirt. Plus, Matteo Guendouzi has helped his manager ease his Uruguayan midfield colleague, who effectively stabilizes the midfield, into the team rather seamlessly.
Defense continues to be an issue for Arsenal, but their first clean sheet of the season, against Everton, in Sokratis Papastathopoulos’ absence no less provides ammunition to the belief that their defensive game has been improving since the start of the season.
“We finished the match with a smile on our face,” said the Arsenal manager in the post-match interview with Sky Sports, with a reassuring smile on his face. It’s established that Arsenal aren’t going to usurp Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City or Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool to win the Premier League title this year, but they definitely need the positive environment they’ve been able to build as they look to rebuild the club both on and off the field.
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