All Arsenal fans will be more than happy to see Francis Coquelin and Alexis Sanchez fully recovered, and after seeing them both back in action in yesterday’s game against Burnley we can be pretty relieved that they now look rested and ready to guide Arsenal through the crucial second half of the season.
Wenger revealed that he was being extra cautious by giving Coquelin and extra week to recover fully. “He was quite available for the Chelsea game but I thought it was a bit early.” Le Prof said. “Today he looked quite comfortable and without any problems.
Wenger has also been cautious with Alexis, who has had a very long lay-off, but we all knew that the Chilean needed a good beak, having played nearly constantly for the last two years. I was worth the wait as he chipped in with an assist as well as his well-taken goal. “[It was his first start] for eight or nine weeks. When I saw Derby against Burnley, I had a little hesitation to pick the three [Alexis, Coquelin, Elneny]. But the fact that we played at home, I thought we could manage to get away with it. With Alexis, I was not too much worried about on the fitness front because I kept him out two weeks ago and he was already there physically. We had some worries about his muscle but today he came through well and you could see that physically, he is ready.”
The third of that trio was Mohamed Elneny who made an impressive debut and certainly looks worth the outlay. Wenger admitted the Egyptian was a little rusty but he will definitely improve for the run out. “I felt he started a bit cautious, played a bit secure. He became more adventurous, he had some good shots on goal. His mobility, his work rate was exceptional and for the rest, he needs to adjust to the power of the game in the Premier League. This was a good welcome today and certainly he has learnt a lot today. It will take him some time to adjust to the power side of our game here, but the intelligence, the mobility and the technical level are good.”
All in all it was a very satisfactory day for Arsenal, although Giroud seemed to be very out of sorts and Walcott really needed to put that last chance away, but we are through to the fifth round in our Cup defence which is all we wanted.
Onwards and Upwards!