In his first summer transfer window as Arsenal boss, Mikel Arteta was handed two new toys to play in the shape of Brazilian pair Willian and Gabriel Magalhaes.
And the Gunners first-team manager wasted no time in making the most of them.
In the season-opening victory over Fulham, both Willian and Gabriel made their Arsenal debuts.
The former was brought off after an excellent 76 minutes in which he claimed two assists, while Gabriel played the full 90 minutes in the heart of Arsenal’s back three and was named man of the match.
Before the game, there were questions about how the new signings would slot into the side. Gabriel only arrived two weeks ago, while neither featured in the Community Shield win over Liverpool.
Despite the doubts, they impressed greatly, displaying why Arteta was keen to bring them to the Emirates and how they might play a crucial role as the season progresses.
Willian will receive plenty of the headlines.
In the first half, the former Chelsea man was especially neat and tidy. Playing on the right side of a front three but with the freedom to drift into central pockets as Hector Bellerin bounded down the flank, he helped knit together many of Arsenal’s attacking moves.
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While his one-on-one attacking play left a little to be desired – he failed to beat Joe Bryan on several occasions and his crosses were regularly blocked by the Fulham defender – his overall influence was extremely positive.
Routinely, he received the ball on the half-turn, drove forwards, and then looked to play incisive, probing passes into Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
It was his lay-off from a central zone that allowed Arsenal to move through the middle third in the build-up to Lacazette’s opening strike.
Willian then burst into the six-yard box, pounced on Tim Ream’s failed clearance, and got a shot off at…