Five reasons to be cheerful after Arsenal’s 2-1 win over Blackpool in Wednesday night’s Carabao Cup clash at the Emirates:
1: Emile Smith Rowe
The starlet added another goal to his tally for the club and earned a few more minutes to boot. Although there is much still to do before the youngster realises his potential at the club, it is encouraging to see him getting into scoring positions and prepared to show for the ball, like a young Aaron Ramsey.
2: There was no major panic
The Gunners have been prone to panic and disarray in similar situations in recent season so it was positive to see them get back on the ball and continue playing their game, even when the pressure was ratcheted up after Matteo Guedouzi’s red card.
3: Game management
A feature of play that has almost always eluded Arsenal sides has been a sound understanding and application of game management. How often have we seen teams take silly risks when the situation required a more cautious approach? Though there were a few moans and grumbles from the crowd in the closing 10 minutes, it was, on reflection, a sensible decision from the team to simply keep possession and kill the game, rather than risk attack and dispossession.
4: Another chance at silverware
It may only be the League Cup but a trophy is a trophy and what better way to begin Unai Emery’s tenure than with a little bit of silverware? If they can avoid a truly nasty draw, the Gunners have every chance of making it through to the latter stages of the competition, even if the fixtures can prove irksome and uninspiring at times.
Winning is as much a habit as losing so it is good to notch up a 12th win in 13 matches, an excellent run of form by any measure.
Liverpool was provide a much sterner test on Saturday but, for now, let’s celebrate a team that has found a way to put the ball in the net more times than the opposition has done in the last few months. Things have gone our way on occasion but, even so, there is much to be proud of in that run.
A few of the more romantic among us would hope that Carl would re-announce his arrival at the club and as a rival for Hector Bellerin’s starting berth with a barnstorming performance in defence. And while Carl was generally neat, tidy and fuss free, his limitations as a top level football were obvious, particularly in his attacking play. It was great to see him back but, you have to say, it may well be one of his last in the red of Arsenal.