Well, that was a lot more easy than I had expected. Middlesbrough certainly in the first half were not playing in the same game. Remember this is the form team of the Championship and the gulf in class was so apparent it was crazy.
The intricate play between Ozil, Cazorla, Sanchez and Giroud matched with the link up play with Welbeck was just too easy. Giroud was the stand-out player and just makes this team look so much more assured when he leads the line.
Did you know this season (and bare in mind how much he was injured) Giroud has won 43 aerial battles, more than any other Arsenal player, and has converted 25% of his shots on goal. Danny Welbeck is just under 11%, and he leads the line for the England team a lot under Hodgson. Giroud offers hold up play and now is much more reliable than his early days at the club. He seems much more refined in his finishing.
I felt it was a great game for the likes of Gabriel to play, there was no ‘Baptism of fire’ that he had to worry about as such and a clean sheet for him and also that of the goalkeeper will do their confidence no harm. Gibbs also played well and in my opinion has the beating on Monreal in terms of class but that was his first start since the Brighton game.
What is starting to look good though is we are now able to rotate much more. Flamini was able to come in and we left our Coq out, and Per was able to have a break as well as the young impressive Bellerin rested for Chambers, while Ospina made way for Szczesny. We actually have cover!
Let’s see who we draw now for the last 8. A home draw is always nice.
So a nice long break before we face Palace in the league on Saturday. I see this as a real toughy and I don’t fancy it much at all. Pardew has got them playing well and making them hard to beat. Liverpool knocked them out of the cup at the weekend but this is only after Palace could have and probably should have been 2-0 up. It may have gone so differently but that’s football. Even though I don’t fancy us to lose it on Saturday it will not be an easy one. I’d happily take a 1-nil now if offered.
We need to get back on track in the league. The Spurs game was a massive set back but Liverpool are the real danger for the top 4 spot and are on a great run similar to that of last season.