Speaking at his post match press conference yesterday, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger spoke about the importance of the result against Manchester City, while also praising the team spirit and determination (via Arsenal.com). The Gunners emerged 2-1 victors over their title rivals, solidifying their place on the Premier League table heading into Christmas.
In what turned out to be a rather close match, Arsenal benefited from some clinical finishing in the first half as well as a strong defensive performance. The result sees us open up a four point gap on City near the top of the table, and we are now the overwhelming favourites to lift the league title. Climbing to the top of the League could also be possible by the end of the year, since leaders Leicester have games against Liverpool and Manchester City to look forward to.
The manager was understandably pleased with the performance, and had this to say, “I’m not sure what sort of message that sends but for us it was a vital game. It is a game you come out very happy as we have shown all types of ingredients you need in these big games.
“Good organisation, strong solidarity, high work rate, moments of brilliance and moments where we needed to hang on because that is important as well and overall because we could kill the game and we had the chances to do it. When they came back to 2-1 we were a bit under pressure but I believe it was very intense for both teams. You had times where you had players on the ground at both sides of the pitch because of that total commitment.
“It is too early to say to we can win the league but it strengthens our belief. You come out and realise you have earned your right to win these games and for us it is important. We have to be ready to fight like that in every single game and you do that quite [often]. It is quite interesting on my side there is real life in the team, real togetherness and real solidarity, so let’s take care of that.”
Wenger is right to praise the passion shown by the players on the field, as it was clear that this was the key difference between the sides yesterday. Players like Joel Campbell, Olivier Giroud, and Hector Bellerin played their hearts out and contributed above and beyond what the opponents were expecting, and Walcott was simply sensational as he turned up everywhere in both attack and defence. When combined with a highly efficient and in-form attack, the passion that our players bring to the game allows us to overwhelm teams that are seemingly superior on paper.
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There is a long way still to go before the end of the season of course, and Arsenal have to overcome several hurdles before we can seriously entertain the possibility of this being our year. It bodes well, however, that we are able to turn in consistent performances on a weekly basis, even in the absence of some of our biggest names. And in a season where so many of our title rivals are struggling to gather momentum, our early advantage could well prove to be decisive in the end.
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