Isaac Lundall Wednesday, 16 August 2017
Congratulations to Yasien Jaffer who won the first gameweek in our FPL mini-league, winning 5 ZARs and bragging rights for the week. His squad was imperious, beating second placed Ilhaam Geduld by 18 points. The secrets to his success were a prolific back and front line and his captaining of Romelu Lukaku. The complete standings for the gameweek are as follows:
|8||Kevin van Staden||71|
|8||Cedric De Wet||71|
|11||Wessley Van Der Nest||69|
|30||N K Ncube||55|
|38||Matt Van Heusden||51|
|49||Irfaan Allie Jaffer||28|
Hopefully not too many gooners have heart conditions because Friday night's opener against Leicester City was a rollercoaster of emotion. The team got off to the perfect start with Alex Lacazette heading Elneny's speculative cross to make it one nil to the Arsenal. It was his second touch. His first was the kick-off.
Most observers expected the Arsenal team to go on to rout Leicester, and the Arsenal team did dominate possession, but defensive disorganisation on the Arsenal's part and Leicester's direct counterattacking play and clinical finishing soon saw them equalise and then go on to take the lead. Danny Welbeck's equaliser just before half time was therefore a relief at the end of quite a frustrating half for gooners around the world.
Gooner's renewed half-time optimism would be curbed soon after the break, though, with Leicester making it 3-2. As the clock wound down, the Arsenal was looking down the barrel of an opening day defeat until Arsene Wenger grasped the nettle by bringing on Aaron Ramsey and Olivier Giroud. The substitutions were inspired, as Ramsey equalised before Giroud headed in the winner.
It's pleasing to note the positive performances from new signings, Lacazette and Sead Kolašinac. Besides his brilliantly taken goal, Lacazette also came close by striking the post, and it was apparent why he was as prolific as he was in France. He also showed great industry in the mould of Alexis Sanchez, which prevented Leicester from ever settling in possession. Sead Kolašinac dominated in defensive areas, was strong in the tackle, and made purposeful attacking runs and dribbles. Getting into attacking positions allowed him to assist Danny Wellbeck's equalising goal. Other positives include the Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain's wing back performance in both an attacking and a defensive sense. The midfield engine room of Xhaka, Elneny, and Oezil also kept the Arsenal's passing game at a high cadence, with one touch football being the order of the day at times. Despite the defensive frailties, Skodran Mustafi should be back against Stoke, with Koscielny returning to the team in the following game, so things should improve in this area also.
All things considered, there is reason for optimism this season. Let's hope that the lads pack their adamantium shin pads for the trip to Mordor on Saturday and that everyone returns to Ashburton Grove in one piece, and with a win in their back pockets.