Speaking after yesterday’s 2-0 over Aston Villa, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger expressed his happiness over the win and climbing to the top of the Premier League (via Arsenal.com). The manager was addressing the post-match press conference, where he also took the time to praise the performances of Aaron Ramsey and Olivier Giroud.
Arsenal, who are still dealing with extensive injury problems, now have eight days to recover and prepare for the next game against Manchester City. There were also concerns about player fatigue heading into yesterday’s game, since we had returned from Greece in the early hours of Thursday morning. The players showed no sign of any of that on the field however, turning in a thoroughly professional performance to secure the three points away from home.
When asked about the good week Arsenal have enjoyed on all fronts, the manager said “I was a bit anxious today as we had given a lot on Wednesday and came back very, very late on Thursday morning. I know that Villa was fighting to survive and it was maybe a set of important points to win against a team low on confidence.
“[At] 2-0 at half-time, I knew the second half would be more difficult and then they did well and there were some opportunities for Aston Villa, but we didn’t manage to score the third goal. Overall, it was a controlled performance and a great week for us. Don’t worry, I have already had a few bad weeks so it balances itself out a little bit.”
This has been the perfect start to December for the Gunners, who had failed to win a single Premier League game in the previous month. The response from players like Campbell and Ramsey has also benefitted us tremendously, allowing us to power on despite losing key first team players. The Welshman had a great game yesterday as well, dominating the midfield and producing a classic box-to-box performance. Speaking about him, the manager said “He had an outstanding performance today. I think of course he is naturally more of a central midfielder and I pushed him out wide for a while because I believe we have seen many times that when players are pushed against the line they need to shorten their technique. When they come back into the middle again, they are better players.”
Ramsey certainly seems determined to prove his worth as a central midfielder now that he has been given a chance. In the absence of Wilshere and Santi Cazorla, Ramsey could easily cement his place as the first choice starter with a few more performances like this; and the deployment of Walcott on the right wing provides us a more effective threat down that flank as well.
Currently, Arsenal are at the top of England, however our position will depend on Monday night’s game between Chelsea and Leicester. The Foxes have a chance to reclaim the top spot if they win against the Blues, and even if they lose we need to beat Manchester City next week to establish a minimal cushion at the top. Nevertheless, this is a much better position than anyone could have expected when we lost both Coquelin and Sanchez in quick succession; and their returns would transform the team into a truly formidable outfit indeed.