There are very few Arsenal fans that were impressed with the 2-0 away win at Sunderland this weekend, but the fact that we came away with all three points should alert us to the fact that we kept a clean sheet and capitalised on Sunderland’s defensive errors.
Mikel Arteta worked alongside Matthieu Flamini in central midfield to protect the defence and he thinks it was good for the team. He told Arsenal.com: “We wanted to give a bit more freedom to Alexis, playing a bit behind Danny [Welbeck], more like a 4-4-2, which we haven’t played for a while. It worked – I think Alexis did very well today so we’re happy for him.”
It may not have been pretty but it was only Arsenal’s second clean sheet of the season so far. A fact which didn’t escape Arsene Wenger’s attention. He remarked: “If you’re not capable of keeping clean sheets, you don’t move forward because if you always have to score three goals to win a game, at some stage it doesn’t work, so I’m happy,”
Perhaps Wenger has finally realised that the defence needs more protection this season so will keep this formation for the next few games at least. And if this more defensive setup allows Alexis to act as a number 10 as well as roaming the pitch at will, then surely that can’t be a bad thing for Arsenal?