Leicester away will always remind me, and I am sure many more Gooners, of the wonderful Bergkamp hat-trick back in 1997 at Filbert Street. Who does not remember Bergkamp’s third, a goal Dennis believes to be his best ever? 18 years later, it is Alexis who hits the net trice in Leicester, albeit in a different stadium. It was the well-earned fruit of his hard labour, good positioning and great hunger for goals. The Alexis hat-trick will not be remembered anywhere near to the Bergkamp one, but the Chilean’s one might be a defining moment in our season nevertheless. To win the PL we need our strikers to be hot and we need our goals to be shared between them all. We all know that we needed Alexis to start scoring again to lift the weight off Ollie and Theo’s shoulders; and today he answered his (few) critics with an empathic display and three fine goals.
Eight positives from the game
- This was in a way another cup game. It certainly was played like one. The game was incredibly open and both teams wanted to attack, attack and attack. Between the teams there were 42 shots on goal, with 19 (12 for Arsenal) on target. Leicester had nothing to lose and were definitely not going to park the bus; and we had been given a great opportunity to close the gap with the Northern Oilers who had lost earlier in the day to the Spuddies; so the team were up for it. And the team ‘being up for it’ is my first and main positive. We fought like lions and even going one behind early on did not affect us negatively. We only have to look at the Chavs who did not manage to match the home side’s desire and energy to win today, resulting in dropping two very costly points.
- All our strikers scored today and Ozil and Arteta produced the key assists. The one thing that has been missing is Arsenal scoring enough goals. Today we doubled our PL tally in one go, and with Olympiakos and MU coming up next, this is just what we needed.
- Without Le Coq, and Santi more drawn to attacking than defending, we looked vulnerable at the back at times, whether it was with Flamini or Arteta as our DM. Luckily, our CBs were in great form, with the BFG being very glad to be back in the first team. On top of that, Cech was very alert and as calm and in control as I have seen him in an Arsenal shirt. They did not prevent two fine goals by Vardy but did enough in this open game to bring home the three points.
- Ollie the super-sub? The Giroud haters may well get their wish, but not all teams will play this open; and against the PtB teams we will still need him to crack them open. I am warming to the thought of Theo starting games as our CF, though, and OG does well coming on later in the game. If we tell ourselves that he will miss the first big chance but will take the second one (usually less easy), it will save us a lot of unnecessary anguish.
- Wenger took real joy in his team’s performance today. Having been in the job at Arsenal for so long, it is still great to see that he celebrates our key goals like one of us.
- The FBs, Bellerin and Nacho, were once again great in supporting the attack. They are so important in our system in terms of providing thrust and width.
- With all the movement in front of him, Ozil was purring, especially in the second half. His assist for Sanchez’s second was sublime. But Theo’s constant movement and running was also very special today. They were both in their element today and provided a lot of space and movement for Sanchez to shine more than anybody else.
- The final ‘positive’ goes to the engine, our Welsh Rolls Royce. Ramsey, supported by Cazorla and Ozil, is key for our transitions and his reading of the game and interceptions, combined with his fabulous running, are soooo important for the success of the team. It is a shame he is not scoring at the moment, but let’s not forget the enormous amount of dirty work he does for the team.
These are my eight positives FFGs. Bring on the Greeks!