Our defence has been a constant source of consternation amongst us fans since the season began in earnest three weeks ago.
After two defeats to Manchester City and Chelsea, we finally got our first points on the board last weekend, with a 3-1 win over West Ham.
In each of the matches, to differing degrees, we have struggled to get to grips with the opposition attack, with many hairy moments causing palpitations for Gooners in the stands and at home watching the action unfold.
City could have grabbed a hatful, but it was excusable, for many reasons. It was Emery’s first game in charge, it was a new lineup, included new players, and the tactics were far removed from what many in the squad were used to.
High lines, an effective press. One without the other will destroy our chances of a clean slate, and so it proved against Chelsea, were we created enough to drown the home team in an avalanche of goals, but our constant confusion whenever simple balls over the top were played, meant that Chelsea had the perfect ‘Get out of jail Free’ card, which they used to take the points..
Our last match ended far differently than the first two, as we coasted home to te tune of a 3-1 win.
The scoreline flattered us a little though. We deserved to win, but West Ham gave a good account of themselves, and Marko Arnautovic and Felipe Anderson especially, were cashing in their chips, running into channels and causing mischief.
The opinion after the game was that perhaps we rode our luck, but not many would have said we had improved defensively - which is exactly what we did.
Mustafi didn’t leave a chasm open at the back for West Ham to capitalise on. In fact, his work was pretty tidy in comparison to his first two games
Sokratis has made a very solid start to his Arsenal career thus far, and the deceptively speedy Greek has marshalled his troops, and has not swayed no matter the striker he is facing.
We gave away territory and possession, sure, but with our wing-backs pushed up ridiculously high that is merely a symptom of our style. For us to only concede one against a West Ham side who have plenty of talent in their ranks was an improvement.
They looked menacing, but in terms of chances, we kept them quieter than they should have been.
We are on the up, and if we can get our strikers to take the majority of chances we are creating, then the progress at both ends of the pitch will be abundantly clear.