Wow. Bloody hell. That’s what we’ve been waiting for, finally a win for the Gunners against top class opposition. That easily takes the cake for the best performance of the season and there are an incredible amount of positives to take from the emphatic 2-0 win away to Manchester City.
David Ospina may feel he has been lucky with his three consecutive clean sheets. He has not had to make any serious saves in the last three outings between the sticks but was very assured on Sunday against a dangerous City forward line. Some strong aerial collections and punches in the air will certainly help him retain his place over Wojciech Szczesny.
Arsenal knew visiting the Etihad they would have to sit deep and soak up the pressure. The entire team was tight, all on the same page and collectively shut City down. Double or sometimes triple teaming their midfield, the Gunners were able to counter quickly and put the hosts on their back feet.
They were certainly good value for their lead and our ability to draw several fouls on the break handed the former champions a few handy yellows not to mention Santi Cazorla’s opener. Some lovely work from Nacho Monreal and Olivier Giroud handed Cazorla a spot kick and he slotted perfectly home.
We consistently harried City down and players such as Laurent Koscielny, Nacho Monreal and Francis Coquelin put in some excellent interceptions and blocks. Speaking of the latter, Coquelin was exceptional and if he continues to play with such quality and passion he may actually have a big future at Arsenal after all.
Hector Bellerin made only his fourth Premier League start and has shown signs that he is quickly developing into a class defender. His pace is perhaps one of his biggest assets which allows him to recover in certain situations such as against Milner where he faced a fierce battle with the experienced England international. He got tight, was physical and most importantly didn’t give away too many fouls. It turned out to be a wise decision to play him ahead of Chambers. Bacary Sagna, who sat freezing on the bench, would certainly have regretted leaving yesterday.
The forward line was equally impressive, with Aaron Ramsey working hard and putting in a very good shift just behind. He spent everything on the pitch and collapsed in exhaustion. But what about that Santi ‘Twinkle Feet’ Cazorla? Another excellent performance, and his ability on the ball was second to none. His ball retention was impressive and the fact he outshone David Silva on home soil was equally as impressive.
Both Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Alexis Sanchez put in a shift both offensively and defensively, their pace and skill certainly put City on the back foot and gave them plenty to think about. The Ox almost claimed an early assist but Giroud put his first header of the match wide, but some mesmerizing skill from the young Englishman.
Last but not least, Giroud enjoyed a very good outing at Etihad. Although early on he struggled with his hold up play, overall he was fantastic. Using his strength up front and power in the air he gave City’s back line plenty to think about and was rewarded with a well taken header from Santi’s free kick. His hard work tracking back certainly did not go unnoticed.
Overall a very convincing display and a massive range of positives to take from the afternoon. We need to continue this decent run we’ve been building since Christmas (Southampton aside) and work our way up the table. That’s one giant killed, lets get revenge on the others this season.