Unless you are living under a rock or locked up in a dank dungeon tied up by John Terry smiling coldly in front of you, you would be aware of the fact that Arsenal won at Manchester City. Yes we won at the home of the Champions.
This is our first win at the home of a top four team since 2011 when we won at Stamford Bridge (excluding our wins at Anfield) . The result shook the entire Premier League world as Arsenal finally went into a big away game with proper tactics and executed it to near perfection. While there may be many reasons for this dramatic shift of mentality and a hugely impressive result, these are my post game thoughts.
Arsenal believed they can win
Belief is a very strong word and it’s a word that’s not often associated with the Gunners. Belief is a pre requisite for success in pretty much everything we do. In football there is nothing more powerful than belief.
Arsenal probably for the first time in a few years went into the game believing they can shed their underdog status and approached the game with a positive attitude. They took the fight to the Champions and went toe to toe with them. I would rank this as one of the greatest away wins for some time. Man City hardly threatened us and we were dangerous every time we broke forward. It’s amazing how belief does wonders to you. Arsenal believed.
Arsene can do tactics
One of the common accusations levelled at Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has been that he doesn’t do tactics and his team is always set up the same way irrespective of the opposition. But history has shown that Wenger has always tweaked his tactics to get results when the going gets tough. Cast your minds back to March 2013, when Arsenal trailed behind arch rivals Tottenham Hotspur in the race for the Champions league places, lost to them in a critical game and the season was on the verge of implosion.
Wenger responded by dropping his error prone Captain and abandoned the high line. Arsenal defended deep and nicked crucial wins. While those nervy wins are never good for the heart it helped Arsenal to reel Spurs in and pipped them to fourth spot on the final day (ha ha Spurs).
This time Wenger opted to concede possession to City and looked to play on the break. His team executed it impeccably and Arsenal were set up in a similar way away to Chelsea and Liverpool. In those games Arsenal’s defensive lapses cost them but at the Etihad, the Gunners were impenetrable. Arsene gets criticised left, right and centre if his team loses and so if he does something right he deserves plaudits.
It was a team effort
Arsenal players are often accused of not helping their team mates in defence and going gung-ho neglecting their defensive duties. While this may be true on most occasions where the defenders run around like headless chickens and the midfielders jog back to defend, the City game was the exact opposite.
Each and every player worked for the team as if their life depended on it. Cazorla and Coquelin in particular played their best games for Arsenal. Cazorla delivered a masterclass in midfield and Coquelin came of age in this game. Sanchez and Oxlade Chamberlain both worked their socks off, tracking back and countering quickly while the entire defence deserves a special mention. Giroud looks like a man reborn and he has now scored against Everton, Liverpool, United and City.
No words to describe him. He is poetry in motion.