Without Santi Cazorla out of the game, Arsenal were getting battered from all sides by Tottenham and not getting any service to our isolated forwards, so Per Mertesacker was very pleased when Matthieu Flamini replaced Santi at half time, and even more pace was injected into the team when Kieran Gibbs entered the attack force.
It was very important not to lose ground on Man City before the international break, so to come back from a losing position keeps us up at joint top in the table. Per is pleased that the substitutes helped them to regain some energy to fight back. “We want to be involved throughout the season, competing at the top until the last second,” the BFG said. “We promised ourselves to do better than last season, not to drop a lot of points too early.
“It’s an interesting position but we still have room for improvement. When you look at the first half we need to manage to play a lot better. We lost our creativity and our way to play a bit, but how we came back shows that we have got a good mentality and level of character in the squad. That’s important for the Christmas period coming up.
“Santi felt unwell in the first half and that was a bit of a disappointment for us, that he couldn’t continue, but what Mathieu and Kieran gave us when they came on is what we need. It’s really important that, even if we suffer sometimes, we can come back. We showed mental strength.
“The energy and creativity those players who come on give sets the tone and gives us goals. That’s massively important. Hopefully in the next couple of weeks we’ll get more energy because it’s important while having injured players.”
It is always an advantage to have fresh legs on the bench, and the contribution of Flamini and Gibbs was a very pleasant (and very welcome!) surprise. If they would like to assume the role of supersubs this season, that will be fine by me (and Mertesacker).