We’ve got our Arsene back…
In stoppage time, with Arsenal winning this match by three goals to nil, the cameras caught Arsene Wenger bellowing at an Arsenal player.
It may have seemed unnecessary, but I interpreted it as a sign that his focus is greater than ever. Many of us have doubted Wenger’s powers in the last few seasons. What’s clear is that – even if they had ever faded – they have now returned with a vengeance.
Wenger has always been something of a perfectionist. This season, he has shown he is prepared to be a pragmatist too. His perfectionism is no longer confine to Arsenal’s aesthetic dimension, but seems to encompass a broader appreciation of the games. Whereas once he was cavalier, he is increasingly practical. He seems to take pride in the team’s defending once more. He’ll have been just as satisfied by the clean sheet as the three exquisite goals.
A couple of weeks back, Santi Cazorla told The Guardian:
The manager is more concienciado, more concentrated, more conscious.
He’s more demanding. It’s been a long time without winning anything and he’s determined.
Arsenal are reaping the benefits of Arsene’s renewed vigour.
Aaron Ramsey was a class act…
The way he took the goals was sublime, but his celebration (or lack thereof) underlined his class. For home fans to applaud a visiting conqueror requires a very special set of circumstances. Fortunately, Cardiff fans had the sophistication to recognise that Ramsey is more of a cause for pride than disparagement.
This was Mesut Ozil’s best game for some time…
I’ve been tentatively critical of his recent displays, but he was excellent in Wales. The two assists were laced with the kind of pinpoint precision one expects of the uber-technician, but his all-round game was excellent too.
Mesut Özil completed 38 out of 40 passes in the opposition half today. Two assists. Absolute class.
— Orbinho (@Orbinho) November 30, 2013
It wasn’t Olivier Giroud’s best day…
In the first half, there was the rather embarrassing moment when he neglected to play to the whistle and pulled up when through on goal. Then, at the start of the second half, he saw a close-range effort cleared off the line.
Giroud can’t be expected to excel in every game – hence why Arsenal need to invest in another forward in January.
Theo Walcott reminded us of what he can do…
His cameo from the bench was brief but explosive. Unfortunately for Theo, he may merely have reminded Arsene of how effective he can be as a late substitute against a tiring defence. Being a superb substitute is something of a poisoned chalice.
Wojciech Szczesny deserves enormous credit…
At 1-0, Szczesny made a couple of crucial saves, including one outstanding stop to deny a powerful Frazier Campbell header.
The Pole has now kept five clean sheets in his last six games.
Arsenal must keep up the momentum…
We now face two home games against Hull and in-form Everton. It’s vital we win both games to give us a cushion heading in to the crucial double-header against City and Chelsea.
Fortunately, with the squad returning to something approaching full-strength, we finally have the option to rotate without reducing the potency of the XI.