Connect in the back of the net

Arsenal defeated Hull City, a side who had not conceded more than a single goal this season until Saturday evening, 4-1, courtesy of a brace from Alexis Sanchez and one goal apiece from Theo Walcott and substitute Granit Xhaka.

Here are the five major talking points from the game that has lifted the Gunners to third place in the Premier League table.


Has Shkodran Mustafi justified his transfer fee?

Shkodran Mustafi received mixed reviews in the wake of his less than stellar showing against Paris Saint-Germain, but he definitely made amends for his lacklustre display with a dominant performance at KCOM Stadium.

Although he had a few communication issues with skipper Laurent Koscielny, he was the best defender on the pitch (according to WhoScored ratings).

The German international was impeccable on last-ditch tackles as he pulled off four tackles that toppled the attacker.

Registering three interceptions and four clearances, he complemented Koscielny’s playing style as the Frenchman’s only (statistical) defensive contribution came in the form of interceptions.

He has all but justified his £35 million transfer fee.


Has Theo Walcott nailed a starting berth?

Walcott had a solid game as he bagged Arsenal’s second of the game and his 100th goal for club and country.

His involvement in the first three goals shall mean his confidence has snowballed.

For a player, who has been censured for the most of his career and for a player who is striving to rebuild his career, such performances are crucial.

Although he was outmuscled by the Hull defenders at times, his immaculate low crosses, sprints that complement the striker in Alexis Sanchez, and the desire to prove his doubters wrong should serve to help him nail a spot in the starting lineup, even after the return of Aaron Ramsey.


Should Francis Coquelin still start games?

Francis Coquelin had been getting a lot of stick for taking up an advanced role, but against Mike Phelan’s men, his attacking contribution was as pivotal as his destroyer instincts.

With 110 touches and a 98 percent passing accuracy, he gave the defending Hull players a run for their monies.

However, with him taking up an advanced role, Santi Cazorla enjoyed limited freedom, and his short and unimaginative passes rendered Arsenal’s buildup predictable.

Despite his shortcomings, he proved on Saturday night that he could hold his own.

Whether he has impressed his manager enough to garner yet another league start remains to be seen, especially with Xhaka scoring a screamer past Eldin Jakupovic in the dying minutes.


What has gone wrong with Mesut Ozil?

Mesut Ozil had yet another game to forget as he registered just two key passes and prolonged the wait for his first assist of the 2016/17 campaign.

He seemed out of place, with his ludicrous first-half miss bearing testimony to the fact.

Much like his performance against PSG in the midweek, his performance in front of the travelling supporters who chanted his name throughout the game saw him make many horrible touches.

Having said that, he had the most touches of any Arsenal player at 117.

Given his undoubted prowess, it will not be long before he breaks the duck. However, the concerns over his form have now reached an alarming proportion.

Perhaps, the return of Olivier Giroud and moving Alexis to the wings may work wonders for the Gunners’ record signing’s form.


Should Alex Iwobi keep his place?

Alex Iwobi promptly recuperated after a poor showing in the French capital with a Man of the Match performance in the city of Kingston upon Hull.

Although he was unlucky not to claim the opening goal, his two assists have taken him to the top of the assists chart in the league.

His ability to switch places with Walcott and Alexis often tantalized the Hull defenders, and his excellent composure on the ball should see him leapfrog Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in the pecking order.

However, his defensive work-rate left a lot to be desired.

Should he intend to keep his place even after the returns of Giroud and Ramsey, he shall offer a little more backing to Nacho Monreal.


Written by Praveen Paramasivam

Follow Praveen on Twitter @49Praveen

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