Nervy, scrappy, in the end, three points makes you happy.
It was supposed to be a game, on paper, where goal difference was to be built but against a team fighting for their place and with four men in midfield, it was billed to be difficult on the pitch. Breaking back-fives down has become some kind of problem for Wenger’s team but there were other lessons on the night.
Ozil is getting into gear
Clearly the best Arsenal player on the pitch, at least in the attacking sense. Long has been the anticipation of a deadly partnership between he and Walcott and had the English striker applied better finishing to Ozil’s eye-of-the-needle pass, we would be raving in ecstasy that he is finally paying on his huge fee. He may start on the wings but he has found a way to be as influential as possible from the middle and that will be crucial in the coming games, giving that Cazorla did have another suppressed game with not much influence, partly due to the midfield wall Nigel Pearson had put up – he needs a rest.
And Bellerin too
After successive revealing League performances against City and Aston Villa, there is some added weight of expectation on young Hector Bellerin to maintain a very high standard which he has set. He did not have the best of games at Spurs last weekend and he did get caught out a few times against the Foxes too. It’s similar to what has happened to Calum Chambers after the blistering start in the first half of the season. Both will have to keep juggling that position till Debuchy makes a second return – or till Gabriel gets to make his debut there.
If who Arsene Wenger will be setting out to get in the summer window is a ball-intercepting, composed ‘defensive midfielder’, he can safely put his chequebook in his pocket without any backlash from fans – Francis Coquelin is more than ably capable. Yet, we know the holding player can always have a more technical input to his games and while his passes rarely go astray, he seems not be yet trusted much by his teammates in terms of distribution. That should be the next line of development for the young midfielder over the coming weeks, the area where he remains some shades off the ‘dream’ Saints man.
Szczesny still has a chance
An odd thing to say as Ospina has not exactly put a major foot wrong. But Szczesny would feel he can still make a strong claim for his place having watched his deputy in the last two games. Ospina has basically made the saves you would expect but the parries have been a bit suspect. The FA Cup should see the Number 1 back in action and how he would love to have a very good game.
Boro Will Be a Welcome Distraction
With the ‘response’ to the last defeat now passed, relief will be the general feeling amongst all the players and they can afford to take comfort in the fact that the next League game will be played with a chance of pushing further up the table from fourth. Middlesborough will come with a different kind of challenge in the Cup by the weekend but it will be played with significantly less pressure.
The power shift didn’t last long… Spurs
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