Relentless Arsenal hardly shifted out of second gear to beat Luton

  • Martin Odegaard opened the scoring for hosts before Daiki Hashioka’s own goal
  • Mikel Arteta’s side moved one point ahead of Liverpool at the top of the table 
  • Arsenal have FINALLY grown up… they used to be soft and you can’t say that any more – It’s All Kicking Off 

The pendulum of power has swung in Arsenal’s favour again. But for how long? Liverpool will have the answer tonight.

But, at least for the time being, the Gunners are back sitting pretty at the summit. Back in pole position, where many believe they’ll finish.

Following Sunday’s reserved display at Manchester City, normal service resumed here against Luton. Two goals and a clean sheet. It could easily have been more. But Mikel Arteta will take this victory and move on.

At this stage of the season that’s all that truly matters.No time to dwell. Game after game. Point after point. Victory after victory.

Manchester City have perfected that approach over the years. Liverpool are ominously operating in a similar manner at the moment.

Martin Odegaard's precise finish gave the Gunners the lead in the 24th minute of the contest
The Arsenal captain arrowed his finish into the bottom corner of Thomas Kaminski's net
Luton defender Daiki Hashioka (left) turned the ball into his own net following Emile Smith Rowe's low cross into the area

In fairness, so are Arsenal. This victory was their ninth in 10 matches, the only blot in that sequence arriving in Sunday’s goalless draw at the Etihad Stadium.

It’s a run that has fired Arteta’s team back into serious title contention following a mid-winter blip that saw many question their credentials.

Time will tell whether they can avoid a second dip in form that could cost them their shot at glory. But, for now, there are no signs of Arsenal relenting. In fact, they are relentless right now.

Against Luton, they hardly shifted out of second gear as Martin Odegaard and a Daiki Hashioka own goal ensured the Gunners cruised to three points.

And, pertinently, they did it without host of first team regulars with Declan Rice, Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Jesus among those rested amid five changes from Sunday’s stalemate.

‘I look at my players in a different way, I want to maximise and utilise the squad,’ said Arteta.

‘It was the right moment to rotate and they did really well. When you have the moment you have to take it and they certainly did that today.’

Arguably the most notable of Arteta’s alterations was the inclusion of Thomas Partey in the starting XI for the first time since August.

There are many at Arsenal who still believe, even with the £105million arrival of Rice, that Partey remains the club’s most complete central midfielder.

If – and it’s a big if given his disastrous fitness record – the Ghanaian can stay available for the run-in his return could yet emerge as a decisive factor in the title race. Because what a super footballer he is. Exudes comfort, incisive passing to break lines, never flustered.

A central midfield of Partey, Rice and Odegaard has an allure that will have Arteta and the club’s supporters drooling in anticipation.

Here against the relegation-threatened Hatters, the 30-year-old eased his way back into fold with the poise and control you’d expect. Larger tests lie in wait but the signs, for the first time in a while, are looking rather positive for Partey.

Luton head coach Rob Edwards hasn’t such luxuries. The Hatters were missing 13 players through injury last night. All things considered, Luton gave a refreshing account of themselves. Yet their fight against relegation has suffered two hefty blows this week.

Emile Smith Rowe's pressing was crucial to Arsenal's first-half dominance and led to their opening goal before he assisted the second
Luton were improved in the second period and enjoyed more of the ball in spells, thanks to the poise of Ross Barkley (right)
Ross Edwards would have been delighted to see his team's response but defeat extended their winless run to 10 games
Mikel Arteta had made several changes to his starting line-up but was able to give some of his regular starters minutes ahead of their hectic run-in

Nottingham Forest’s win over Fulham on Tuesday night and this loss sees Luton three points adrift of safety with seven games left to play.

But the very fact they remain in with a realistic chance of survival is testament to Edwards’ growing reputation. Make no mistake, he’ll be on the radar of a host of Premier League sides in the coming months.

Edwards’ team were far from embarrassed here. Arteta would be the first to echo those sentiments. Ross Barkley, as he often has this season, rolled back the years with the sort of strong running through midfield that typified the early part of his career.

Andros Townsend, too, offered a degree of attacking thrust down Luton’s right side. But you knew what was coming before it even arrived; the only real surprise was that it took 23 minutes.

Ultimately, Odegaard will take the credit as he crisply dispatched Kai Havertz’ square pass. But Emile Smith Rowe, on a rare start, instigated the move by dispossessing Pelly Ruddock Mpanzu.

It was big moment for the Arsenal academy graduate, who’s endured a frustrating personal season. It will hearten Smith Rowe, however, that he was front and centre of all of Arsenal’s best moments last night.

His role in Arsenal’s second was crucial, too – his pass across the face of goal turned in by Hashioka, who was under pressure from Reiss Nelson, just before half-time.

Credit to Luton, the didn’t crumble. They spent much of the second period in the attacking ascendancy, but were getting little change out of an Arsenal defence emerging as one of the most formidable in European football.

The iconic back-four assembled by George Graham in the late 1980s will continue to be revered in this part of north London.

Mikel Arteta's side will be hoping for a slip up from Liverpool when they face Sheffield United on Thursday

But the current incumbents: William Saliba, Gabriel Magalhaes, Ben White and Oleksandr Zinchenko are building their own reputation.

The seismic disparity between the two squads was laid bare as Arteta threw on a quartet of international footballers as the tie simmered.

Rice, Eddie Nketiah, Takehiro Tomiyasu and Jorginho were all introduced as if to rub Luton’s face in it.

All Arsenal can do is keep on winning. They kept to their side of the bargain, routinely dispatching of Luton.

They’ll turn on their TV’s on this evening hoping Liverpool aren’t as clinical.

 

Related Posts

Justin Bieber's father-in-law reposted a post praying for the singer and his wife

Earlier this week, 57-year-old actor Stephen Baldwin reposted an Instagram post by All Things Could Ministries founder Victor Marx, including a video of Justin Bieber playing guitar and singing along to the song I Could Sing of Your Love Forever. “Christians, …

Great battle between MU and Liverpool: Van Dijk has not forgotten the defeat in the FA Cup and is determined not to repeat the mistake

Van Dijk said he and his Liverpool teammates will decide not to repeat the loss to MU in the recent FA Cup. Liverpool travels to Old Trafford this Sunday night (9:30 p.m., April 7) to meet Manchester United in the Premier League. …

Latest football news at noon April 12: Kane's family had a traffic accident

The Kane family had a traffic accident. The German press said that striker Harry Kane's three children had a traffic accident in Bavaria but only suffered minor scratches. Kane's three children, 3-year-old Louis, 5-year-old Vivienne and 7-year-old Ivy, were in a car…

Football commentary Arsenal vs Aston Villa, 10:30 p.m. April 14: Gunners collect debt

Premier League 2023/2024 Match Schedule Premier League 2023/2024 Rankings Latest football commentary Constantly updated football odds Arsenal vs Aston Villa performance analysis When the season enters the sprint phase, …

MU is about to have a new transfer boss, Man City suddenly looks for someone to replace Guardiola

MU leadership will assign a person to be in charge of the transfer process, while Man City is preparing to find a replacement for coach Pep Guardiola in the future. Hot news clip Football 24H April 12 At the end of the 2023/24 season, MU promises to have a change…

4 English players lead the top scorers + assists in the Champions League

On the morning of April 11, the final two matches of the first leg of the 2023/2024 UEFA Champions League quarter-finals took place. True to fans' expectations, all 4 matches of this round will bring top heroic performances with a rain of goals and breathtaking drama…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *