Never a two nil game but based on the pre-match musings on what surprise Boro would spring, no one will complain about the goals not being more. Goal difference doesn’t count anyway, but some good points were picked from what was a comfortable FA Cup victory.
Easier done in the first half
Remember those games in August and September when the Gunners will drudge through 45 minutes only to finally get one or two as we approach 90? Times have radically changed that you now definitely expect Arsenal to score in the first 10 minutes of every game and while that has not always been the case, it’s now eight games in a row in which Arsenal has taken a first half lead, losing just one game at the end. This game deserved four or five today, but like we already said, you don’t top the table in the FA Cup on goal difference.
Cazorla can be Arsenal’s Xavi
In Ramsey’s absence and without Wilshere, the ever-dazzling Spaniard was paired in the deep midfield position with Flamini and it was the same as though he had been playing further up the pitch, playing a perfect diagonal through to Gibbs for Giroud’s first. His influence looked even more from that position, with more touches of the ball and given his proficiency in keeping the ball, that could be a position where he could yet play in the long term for the Arsenal team if he is to stay longer into his 30’s at the Emirates. Wilshere and Ramsey will have to continue their competition for space in the treatment room for that to become permanent.
Ready for Monaco
Bradford, Blackburn, Preston, it won’t matter what the quarter-finals draw throws up for Arsenal. As far as this coming week is concerned, Wednesday’s date with the Principality club is the only thing that will seriously occupy Wenger’s mind on Monday. It is the kind of draw every Arsenal fan has wanted for the past five years and all focus will now be on driving through with the momentum that has been built at the Emirates to pierce through to the quarter-finals of the Champions League. The Emirates crowd have not tasted defeat in a long time now, and Boro win will be another step to a tenth on the bounce.
Gabriel looks good
His yellow card was the only stain on the whole team’s performance. The former Villareal man showed confidence and calmness all afternoon. The early second half substitutions of Lee Tomlin and Patrick Bamford would suggest the new boy was not tested much but it is always good to get off on a very impressive footing.
Giroud may never score a hat-trick
The disappointment was written all over him and I bet Wenger had to apologize bringing him off for Akpom. It looked today would see him finally score a first Arsenal hat-trick to crown two sweetly taken goals. Denied in the end, will his day ever come?
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