The old criticism that Arsenal don’t turn up against the big teams has been blown out of the water once again as the Gunners cruised without fear for most of the game against Man City. They certainly didn’t look like they had an inferiority complex against the expensively assembled City side.
Wenger was obviously happy with the commitment to victory shown by his side, and although it gives us a four point gap over City now, Le Prof thinks it’s too early to say Arsenal are title favourites. “I’m not sure what sort of message that sends but for us it was a vital game.” Wenger said on Arsenal.com. “It is a game you come out very happy as we have shown all types of ingredients you need in these big games. Good organisation, strong solidarity, high work rate, moments of brilliance and moments where we needed to hang on because that is important as well and overall because we could kill the game and we had the chances to do it. When they came back to 2-1 we were a bit under pressure but I believe it was very intense for both teams. You had times where you had players on the ground at both sides of the pitch because of that total commitment.
“It is too early to say to we can win the league but it strengthens our belief. You come out and realise you have earned your right to win these games and for us it is important. We have to be ready to fight like that in every single game and you do that quite [often]. It is quite interesting on my side there is real life in the team, real togetherness and real solidarity, so let’s take care of that.”
The assist king Mesut Ozil yet again was the orchestrator for Giroud’s decisive second goal, and Wenger revealed that the the German’s performance was even more remarkable as he had been sick most of the week leading up to the game. “Football, you need at the end of the day someone who gives the guy the ball who scores the goal. In our team most of the time Ozil is this player. When you look at this and the guys that see, make you win and he is that.
“He is much more mature and is much more keen to take on responsibility. I personally think he is built on his physical attributes and commitment. You see his desire to win, he plays to win the games and maybe this kind of talent is exceptional. He realises he can help us in every single game.
“He had a chest infection for the week and was in bed. he had only one training session yesterday and for a guy who could not prepare well he has done very well physically. I’m a bit cautious because we have lost three or four players recently so I have to be cautious a little bit.”
So Arsenal may not be top at Christmas, but for most of us fans it is important that we have a lead over the Big Four, and especially Man City. Pelligrini’s men have a few more away games coming up so if we can keep einning we can only open up a bigger gap into the New Year.
Onwards and Upwards!