That was just what we needed my fellow Gooners. A comprehensive win on our home deck in front of fans for the first time since forever. Young guns were given an opportunity, and players coming back from injury, the only thing missing was a clean sheet.
When the starting line-up was announced it was a sight for sore eyes. Pablo Mari was back in the first team after months out from his knee injury, Ainsley Maitland Niles was in what looked to be the number 8 role in our midfield.
Mo Elneny returned, Alex Lacazette was again deployed as the creative force and honestly, he had his best game in quite some time.
On the bench, Calum Chambers made his return to the matchday squad, Florin Balogun, Emile Smith Rowe, and Miguel Azeez were all named on the bench in what was a youthful-looking Arsenal side.
From start to finish it was almost like the Arsenal of old. Huge amounts of possession, moving the opposition from side to side, fluid attacking football and goals, yes the goals, four of them and in truth it should have been five or six and that is being generous.
Now the shine is taken off this result simply because of our opponent but a win is a win and boy did we need it.
Overall it was as close to a perfect game as you could have hoped for coming in. Pablo Mari looked reasonably comfortable for most of the night as he got through 90 minutes, Maitland Niles covered every blade of grass, Lacazette pulled the strings in his number 10 role and Reiss Nelson was his usual electric self.
Emile Smith Rowe again showed his class on numerous occasions as he pushes for more involvement in the first team, Eddie Nketiah got on the scoresheet to further boost his confidence in what was a great night for the club.
Takeaways from the game
Reiss Nelson must start against Spurs
For me, this is a no brainer, and it is given merit as Nelson was taken off with still 37 minutes to play in the second half, so we can safely assume he was being rested for his starting birth on Sunday. The same could be said for Elneny as well as Lacazette who were all taken off at the same time. Nelson was electric on the ball and made things happen for us yet again in Europe, the North London derby awaits.
Have we found Lacazette’s ideal role?
Now, this is just the second match in which the Frenchman has been deployed as the creative number 10. Tonight however he bossed proceedings, his neat build-up play, his ability to link the midfield and forwards, and let us not forget his thunderbolt from outside the box opened the scoring. It is early days, and he will have to prove it in the Premier League however with him being subbed off so early, it appears he very well could get his chance against Spurs.
Mikel Arteta must find a starting role for Maitland Niles
I have been saying this for weeks, give him a chance in his favoured midfield role. He got his chance, and he took it with both hands. He should have had a goal to his name tonight; however, an assist will have to do. Not sure what else he has to do to get a look in at the Premier League side. He impresses me with every game he plays, and he is putting pressure on Arteta to find him a spot.
Players are slowly returning from injury
Both Pablo Mari and Calum Chambers returned against Rapid and it is a welcome sight to our defensive stocks. Gabriel Martinelli is edging closer to a return as well as the young Brazilian is hoping to be involved in the U/23 side before the end of the year. At the time of writing, he is the only long-term absentee for the side.
David Luiz only missed as a precaution and is expected to be available Sunday and Thomas Partey could be a sneaky chance for the derby however the Ghanaian will have to train with the squad and pass several tests but slowly our medic room is emptying. Nicolas Pepe is only missing league action through his suspension.
It was just the tonic we needed after the 2-1 loss to Wolves, however, attention now turns to our most important game of the season, away to Spurs in the North London derby.
Our confidence returned against Vienna, but that result will mean nothing if we get blown off the park by Tottenham. The importance of the match can not be underestimated as we look to get our league campaign back on track.
Sunday can not come quick enough.