Arsenal took a significant lead in the race to the title and have opened up a 4 point gap between them and Manchester City when they beat them 2-1 at the Emirates on Monday night. They are now on a run of 3 victories in this year’s thrilling Premier league and are just two points away from the top of the table.
Arsene Wenger has brushed down any title talks in spite of this impressive victory and understands that there is a lot of work to be done. Here are 5 things we learnt from this Gunner’s victory over Manchester City.
1. City have too many liabilities:
Manchester City have the firepower up ahead to outscore most teams in the Premier League but have shown a certain vulnerability at the back recently. Vincent Kompany’s injury left Pellegrini to use Mangala and Otamendi who were all over the place on the night. They do not look comfortable on the ball and are not too far away from a mistake. But the bigger problem has been in front of the defense where Yaya Toure who rarely puts pressure on any of his opponents. He produces moments of brilliance like his goal in this game but on an off day for his midfield partner, he puts his defense under pressure. This will have to be addressed quickly by the manager to entertain thoughts of a title race.
2. Walcott and Giroud finding form:
At a time when Arsenal were plagued by injuries, they have found some good goal scoring form thanks to the growing confidence of Theo Walcott and Olivier Giroud. Giroud has not scored in 5 consecutive matches for Arsenal and will surely be high in confidence after this victory. Walcott has looked superb playing from the left as he terrorizes defenders with his pace and can also strike from distance like he showed against City. This attack will only get better with players who are out due to injury come back into the squad.
3. Wenger almost paid for his defensive tactics:
Arsenal scored two first half goals and went into the break with a 2 goal lead that was looking hard for the visitors to eat into. There was nothing going for City in the final third and it looked like the Gunners were going to run away with the game. But at the hour mark with the same scoreline, Wenger reverted to strengthening his defense by bringing in Gibbs for Campbell. Minutes later he also withdrew one of his best players Mesut Ozil and later brought in another defender in Callum Chambers. Wenger is not usually known for his defensive tactics and the substitutions almost backfired as City grew into the game in the last quarter and were not too far away from stealing a point.
4. Mesut Ozil in the form of his life:
We all knew what the German midfielder was capable of as he showed in his Real Madrid days. But from the time he moved to the EPL, he has not been comfortable. But this season, he has been a treat to watch for even the oppositions. His movement and vision are exemplary. He can find a ball that can cut open even the best defenses and he can also score some scorchers. He has racked up 15 assists this season and is not far away from the all-time record. If he can keep up this form till the end of he season, he will surely take Arsenal close to the title.
5. And yes Arsenal are not too far away from the title:
This game between Manchester City and Arsenal was tagged as an early decider in the race to the top of the Premier League table. Leicester City who are at the top with a 2 point advantage are going great guns but it will not be easy to keep up the same consistency for the whole season. They may end up with a European spot but will not really challenge for the title deep into the season. United have their own set of problems and are realistically looking for a top 4 spot this season. Chelsea, Tottenham, and Liverpool are too far away to cause any immediate trouble to the title. So Arsenal who are just two points away as mentioned earlier are in with a great chance of running away with the title in a season where the underdogs are reigning. The level of consistency the squad is showing even in the wake of injuries certainly makes them hot favorite to lift the Barclays Premier League.