Analysis

The Week In Arsenal: Inspired individuals nudge confused collective nearer Champions League qualification

Arsene Wenger's men may not be functioning properly but at least they can count on the impact of players like the resurgent Olivier Giroud and Alexis Sanchez, writes Andrew Mangan...

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The week in five words

Good point, top four ahoy!

What went well

After the game Arsene Wenger praised the character of his side and, leaving aside the possible character flaws that see you concede twice, there is something to be said for coming from behind. Olivier Giroud cancelled out Sergio Augero’s opener with a fine header, and then Alexis Sanchez was on hand to score his 17th goal of the season to equalise in the second half.

In truth, Arsenal’s overall performance wasn’t great. It lacked fluency and cohesion, as have many of their displays recently, but away from home against a side as good as City, those two equalising goals were to their credit.

What didn’t

If scoring two goal is to be admired, the way Arsenal conceded twice was worrying. An early lack of focus certainly contributed to Aguero’s 8th-minute strike, and the way Kevin De Bruyne strolled through the midfield to score their second highlighted a lack of bite in that area.

Maybe it’s not ‘sporting’, but Hector Bellerin and Mohamed Elneny both had the chance to stop the run through fair means or foul. Sometimes you have to take a yellow card. It’s undoubtedly something Arsene Wenger will be thinking of, because the Arsenal midfield really hasn't functioned properly for most of this season and is undoubtedly a contributory factor to the performances that fall short of what’s expected.

What he does in he summer will be interesting, because this is a pressing issue.

Quote of the week 

"These are the games you want to be involved in. When the game started, I was watching it thinking it was high intensity and this is what I need. Luckily I got to come on and get 70-odd minutes under my belt, so I’m happy.” – Jack Wilshere benefitting from Danny Welbeck’s injury and getting some much-needed playing time under his belt before Euro 2016. 

The need-to-know facts

  • Arsenal scored with their only 2 shots on target of the game.
  • Oliver Giroud scored his first goal in his last 16 Premier League appearances.
  • Giroud now has 18 headed goals in the Premier league, more than any other player since the Frenchman made his debut in August 2012.
  • Alexis Sanchez has bagged 6 goals in his last 7 Premier League games.

Video of the week

Aaron Ramsey’s laser-guided pass down the line for Theo Walcott.


Winner of the week

Giroud has had a difficult spell of late. He looked a man shorn of any confidence, but on Sunday contributed greatly to the result. His header to equalise was his first Premier League goal since January 13th, and he played the target man role well – particularly in the second half.

Walcott squandered a great chance to equalise from a Giroud flick, but when the latter laid it off to Alexis Sanchez, the Chilean made no mistake to make it 2-2. The towering Frenchman has been roundly criticised in recent times, but credit where it’s due, he played his part well against City. 

Loser of the week

Danny Welbeck. The England man looks like he could miss the European Championship this summer with a suspected tear of his lateral meniscus.

Coming so soon after another lengthy injury absence, it would be a cruel blow for the forward who was a certainty to be named in Roy Hodgon’s squad this summer. Arsene Wenger admitted he was worried after the game, so the early outlook isn’t positive.

Hopefully there’ll be some good news, but if it’s as bad as feared, it’d be a sad thing for a player who is one of the good guys and who deserved a real break after missing most of the season. 

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