Arsenal secured their first Premier League win under new manager Mikel Arteta tonight as they beat Manchester United 2-0 at the Emirates. Nicolas Pepe was able to give his side the lead less than 10 minutes into the game before Sokratis Papastathopoulos made it two just before half-time, with United being unable to hit back in the second half.
This was the most polished Arsenal performance we've seen in quite some time. They were playing liquid football at times but they combined it with the sort of gritty determination that you need to succeed and establish yourself as a real top-six contender. They were composed on the ball, too, which is more than can be said for so many of their teams across the last decade.
There was an element of overconfidence that snuck into Arsenal's game which so nearly cost them several times. They looked more secure at the back but the nerves always seem to creep into their game as the minutes tick by, regardless of whether or not they're punished for it. They may have been clinical, but they could've had quite a few more if they were all at the races.
Manager rating out of 10
9 - Mikel Arteta seems to be really inspiring this team towards bigger and better things. He set the starting XI up with a really nice formation and structure, and the passion with which they were fighting for every ball was clear to see. His changes were daring and, in many ways, timed to perfection, which showcases the sort of potential he has as manager.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Bernd Leno, 7 - Bounced back from his mistake in the loss against Chelsea with a more composed performance, reaffirming why he's one of the best goalkeepers in the league.
DF Ainsley Maitland-Niles, 7 - His physicality and maturity on the ball has improved substantially over the course of the last few weeks.
DF Sokratis Papastathopoulos, 9 - Put in a really, really strong showing defensively and capped it off with a thundering goal to give the Gunners a 2-0 lead.
DF David Luiz, 9 - One of his best performances in an Arsenal shirt. Looked calm, confident and assured and didn't stray too far up the pitch.
DF Sead Kolasinac, 6 - Needs to work on his timing at the back but when moving forward he's able to add an entirely different dynamic to Arsenal's game. Played a leading role in the first goal.
MF Lucas Torreira, 8 - Looks like a different player under the tutelage of Arteta with great timing, stern tackles and pinpoint accuracy.
MF Granit Xhaka, 7 - Still needs to watch his temper but reassures this midfield unlike many other players within Arsenal's ranks.
MF Nicolas Pepe, 8 - Slotted home the opening goal of the game nicely and whipped in a great corner for Arsenal's second.
MF Mesut Ozil, 7 - Strong tracking back, pulled the strings as an attacking midfielder and rarely put a foot wrong all game long.
FW Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, 5 - Had a quiet and somewhat questionable day at the office from his finishing to his final ball.
FW Alexandre Lacazette, 6 - Busted a gut darting around the pitch and refused to give up, even though he couldn't quite grab himself a goal.
DF Bukayo Saka, 6 - Drifted back into a defensive stance when coming on and looked incredibly competent and assured in doing so.
MF Matteo Guendouzi, N/A -- Will continue to grow as he gets older but looks to be a step behind some of his competitors in the middle of the park right now.
MF Reiss Nelson, 5 - Was pretty quiet and had too many starring roles around him to really shine in any way.