Today’s 4-0 win over Watford was a welcome relief for Arsenal fans as we showed the clinical finishing that has been missing for most of our games since the New Year. It was also sweet revenge for our FA Cup defeat by the same time just three weeks ago, and Wenger thinks that we dominated both games just as much, but the difference this time was that we actually finished our chances.
Le Prof said after the game: “We played well. We had a good flow in our game and a good desire to play. Our technical quality was high and we combined the fact that we played well and that we could score as well. In the FA Cup defeat we had the same domination but we couldn’t score. That makes a big difference.”
The Gunners have now moved a little closer to the top of the table, at least until Leicester play tomorrow, but Wenger respects that the Foxes deserve to be where they are, but suggested that they were helped immensely by not being involved in any other competitions in the last few weeks. “The title is never there for the taking, you have to work for it. Everybody works for it and you have to respect the teams who have more points than you, and who have not played in as many competitions. We played Watford, then went to Barcelona on Wednesday and then to Everton on Saturday. It’s not the same [for Leicester City]. People on the outside think it’s easy but you have to earn your points, work well in every game and recently we haven’t made the most of the chances we’ve created. We paid for that.
“We want to focus on the way we play and keep the quality very high. Then we’ll see where we are. We will fight until the end to have a chance. The only way we can achieve that is by playing games with our team quality. That is based on our movement, on our technical ability to play at the highest level and at the highest pace.”
Is it a surprise that our return to form has coincided with the arrival of Alex Iwobi and Mohamed Elneny in the starting line-ups? Wenger has certainly been impressed with both of them. First of all he spoke about Iwobi: “We have values in our club that are maybe not rated always, but one of them is to give a chance to young people and educate them. Every year we bring players out and not many players can say that. I’m happy Alex is one of them. He arrived here at the age of seven or eight. He’s completely integrated in the way we want to play football. He’s worked with us since the start of the season and it shows because when he came in he was used to the way we want to play.
“[Fearlessness] It’s one of his qualities. He’s also very mobile and is a midfielder with creativity, but is also a finisher. The quality of his receptions is very good because he gets into good spaces.”
And this is what Le Prof had to say about Elneny: “He has brought something to the team. He is a very intelligent player who is also very mobile and works very hard for the team. He gives us tactical stability. He made a very good pair with Coquelin in terms of winning the ball back, and also in the distribution as well.”
Wenger ends up by telling us all to keep our feet on the ground and just carry on taking it one game at a time. “Let’s focus on the next game. We know what is needed and what is needed is to keep the quality very high. Next week we go to West Ham. It’s always a difficult place to go, so let’s prepare for that.”
The Hammers are definitely not going to pushovers like Watford were today. They are fighting hard to get past Man City into fourth place and can be expected to fight us hard next weekend, but if we carry on in this irresistible form there is no reason why we can’t get another three points.
Onwards and Upwards!