It was a North London derby but the Gunners made a mince meat of it. Coming hot on the heels of a league win against Manchester United at Old Trafford, Tottenham were expected to give Arsenal a stern test but it wasn’t to be as the Gunners had a comfortable evening all through the match. The defence coped well with the threat of Adebayor with Fabianski been on break for almost the entire match, if my memory serves me well, he only had one decent save to make and no anxious moment.
The midfield was also comfortable as they contained the threats of Eriksen and Dembele quite well. How about the attack, it was a jolly ride for them as they created chances at will but thanks to profligacy, they could only score 2. Arsenal ran away 2-0 winners thanks to goals in either halves from Cazorla off a Gnabry pass and Rosicky off a Rose’s gaffe.
Here are six things I learnt from the game.
Super Gnabry – the young German attacker proved his mettle that he is indeed ripe for more first team opportunities. In the match, he was one of Arsenal’s liveliest players despite the fact that all of Arsenal’s players were lively on the night. He got an assist and could have gotten more. His pace, skill, sheer strength and eye for a pass means the Gunners might have found a genuine winger in the lad. I used to hope for an addition on the wings should Wenger fail to get a striker but with Gnabry in the ranks I don’t think Arsenal need another winger. The Frenchman can confidently rest Walcott for the small games because Gnabry is just good enough to fill in.
Walcott passed striker audition – in this match, there was another striker audition. Against Cardiff, it was Podolski who took the centre stage but failed to impress in that role but against Tottenham, Walcott got the nod and did well. His movement and runs were impressive though he didn’t score. That said, he is still not a Giroud and would struggle in that role against teams that park the bus and have towering defenders but could prove very effective against sides that try to play attacking football like Tottenham since they will leave holes at the back to explore.
Matured performance – it was a matured performance for all the players and the entire team. Arsenal were at their fluent best while the defence also stood rock solid. They gave no room to error. If we must win the league, that is the kind of performance we must churn out on weekly basis.
Sparkling Cazorla – I can’t but say the Spaniard hit form at the right time. With Ozil needing rest and Ramsey injured, apparently, we need another player to step up and probably deliver goals too. Against Spurs, he was full of running, tricks and flicks. In this form, I am looking for his combination with Ozil and Walcott, bet it would be juicy.
Is Walcott injured? – that is certainly the question on the lips of everyone. Wenger said it is ankle complaint but don’t have the precise diagnosis just yet. But he doesn’t look seriously injured despite been carried off on the stretcher. He didn’t look to be in any pain as he was sharing banters with the fans and taunting Spurs’ fans. Why then was he carried off the stretcher? That I can’t really say and I can only hope he isn’t injured. Like I posited earlier, we might not really miss him on the wings as we have Gnabry stepping up and Chamberlain coming back but we might miss him as a back-up to Giroud especially if Wenger fails to get a striker.
Agile Rosicky – the Czech star was full of running. He was one of Arsenal’s agile players yesterday, for his goal, he showed awareness to spot a room for a forced error and pace to run straight at the goalkeeper while his finish was simply sublime. Rosicky is a vital old head to have around as we hope to build a team that will make success a habit. Yesterday’s game was his 19th of the season and he needs to play at least twenty five games to get another year at the club. Barring injuries, he should get at least 6 more games either as a starter or from the bench. He really deserves it.