Arsenal were champions the last time we were second on Christmas day! by KM
Boom! Just like that Theo Walcott goal yesterday, the Arsenal team delivered the perfect Christmas gift for all Gooners out there! The crowd was buzzing, the ground was rocking and Santa is all in red and white!
Jumping onto the game, we started by letting City have most of the ball and they enjoyed possession, but they didn’t create much bar a Silva shot going really wide. In the space of 72 seconds the gamed rolled from De Bruyne missing 1:1 with Cech to a Theo thunderbolt out of the blue.
A spectacular goal, good enough to crown any occasion we opened the score from our first shot. What I like about this is that this is exactly what the big teams do – they punish missed chances. We had a semi-chance with Theo and we scored. No need to say, Ozil provided the last pass!
This really turned the entire game. Suddenly City were shaky and we were on the front foot and a corner right after our goal highlighted the panic in their side. At extra time Mangala gave a hard to control pass, which Delph couldn’t handle and Theo found Ozil who slipped it for Giroud and the big guy finished between the legs of Hart for a second goal.
Extraordinary! Two shots, two goals. City were shell-shocked. We started the second half, just like we finished the first – we let City have the ball and our counters were swift and deadly. Campbell missed a great Monreal cross and failed to convert from 8 yards. Few minutes later he was again slipped one on one with Hart and couldn’t connect well for the finish.
Aaron Ramsey also found himself one on one with Hart wondering how to finish it when in the end it only to find the goalkeepers face and Theo couldn’t swipe it back in. I felt like those missed chances might come back to haunt us and they did when Toure scored a brilliant effort into the top left corner of our net.
It was a nervy end, but we saw the game out and emerged 2-1 winners. I felt we should’ve scored a third and hammer City. We got badly beaten in recent years and we should’ve beaten them good and proper, and also not burden us with this scare at the end.
This is a massive victory make no mistake! We played without Sanchez, Coquelin and Cazorla and we missed the last two. Although Flamini to my surprise is doing an OK job, I still believe we are risking it with him there and Ramsey is a jigsaw that needs to be fit into it’s correct place.
The Ramsey of two seasons back was so confident, everything was pulling off for him. After that though I feel he puts too much pressure on himself when he actually needs to get simple with things. Maybe drop off some of the unnecessary touches, go to the basics and it will work for him. I think he will fill the boots of Cazorla eventually, but right now sometimes our midfield two look a bit disjointed with Ramsey rushing forward.
Last but not least, a big shout to Giroud. The Frenchman has had his critics including myself, but his recent form is sublime. His style of play gives us an anchorman up front and his numbers are good. Only Harry Kane has scored more goals than Giroud in 2015 in England. Not too bad I would say, and his work rate is really good. That tackle in the box was crucial and overall, his presence in attack as well as defence is more important to our side than it looks.
I will finish off with an interesting stat, saying that Arsenal have won 5 out of our last 6 league titles when we were second on Christmas. Also the team that has been top on Christmas hasn’t finished outside the top 4 for a really long time. Does this mean our main rivals are Leicester? Who knows?
Now I wish you all a happy Christmas with this magnificent Arsenal gift, the players gave us yesterday. Enjoy the holidays!