Well what a win that was.
Yes, we did it the hard way, inviting the pressure, conceding the inevitable goal with less than 10 minutes and holding on at the end. But who cares? It is a brilliant victory which keeps us holding onto Leicester’s coat tales going into the festive period.
I have a headache this morning after the beers last night. But it is well worth it!
Wenger’s Tic Tac’s
For a long time, and quite frustratingly, people have always claimed “Wenger doesn’t tactics”. It infuriated me. And was incorrect.
It was a line that was rolled out every time we lost a game. Easy to blame the manager and his tactics.
As this season has shown, teams lose games. Does Luis van Gaal not tactics when losing to Norwich? Does Manuel Pellegrini not tactics when failing to score against Aston Villa? Does Jose Mourinho not tactics in any of the 9 games Chelsea have lost this season?
And then you look at someone like Barcelona. Is Luis Enrique a tactical genius? Winning 5 trophies. Playing Neymar, Messi & Suarez upfront?
Against City, Wenger got his tactics spot on. Allowing City’s defence and midfield to have the ball, he knew that none of the back 7 had the ability to pick out a killed pass. It was only when the ball went into David Silva, Sergio Aguero or Kevin de Bruyne did Arsenal put pressure on.
And to a large extent, it worked. Whilst in the first half City had a lot of position in Arsenal’s half, they did not have a single shot in target.
On the flip side, it was Arsenal’s lack of pressing that caused us to concede a goal, but it was a glorious strike by Yaya Toure.
Wenger got his game plan right. And should be praised for it.
I will happily admit when I am wrong.
I felt we missed a trick after the World Cup by not flogging him whilst his stock is high. And this summer, after another average loan spell, we should have just cashed in. He looked like a headless chicken every time I saw him play. Continually running nowhere with his head down.
And how wrong I was. It shows perhaps that Arsene Wenger does just know what he is doing.
He is still very rough round the edges, but he has ability. Skill, pace and a good work rate.
I still do not feel he has the talent to be a regular long term starter for The Arsenal, but as a squad player, he could be key.
The fine run of form he has been in since breaking into the team has forced him ahead of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in the reckoning.
I am more than happy to be wrong when something positive is happening at Arsenal. I am honest enough to swallow my pride and admit that I was wrong. Now if only some people were the same with Mesut Ozil.
And now you better believe us
In what has been an unpredictable season so far, you would be stupid to predict that Arsenal will be top by New Years Day. But I am stupid.
Leicester next two games are at Liverpool before hosting Manchester City. Whilst Arsenal travel to Southampton before a home game against Bournemouth. It would not be a surprise if Leicester lost both, with Arsenal winning both. Then again, I am probably setting myself up for a fall and a lot of mocking.
What is for certain is that Arsenal are competing. Over the years it has been what we as fans have been calling for. We do not expect to win the title every year. No one has that divine right. But we do expect to be competing.
2 points off top going into the festive period is certainly competing. It still grates a lot that our lack of transfer movement has probably cost us a few points this season. For every point Petr Cech has won us, you have to wonder how many we have dropped by not having the options and squad depth. But that is over. For now.
With January coming up, we need to get the signings right to help us push on. We are still a defensive midfielder short with Francis Coquelin out – although Flamini has performed well. And with last nights news that Alexis Sanchez is out until mid January, coupled with Danny Welbeck’s extended absence, we still need a striker to ease the burden on Olivier Giroud.
We make the right January signings, and continue the great run of form we have had over the last 14 months, and we will be crowned Champions.