Danny is Well-back, Giroud MOTM, Theo Delivers: 8 Positives from Arsenal v Leicester

Eight Positives from a potentially pivotal win.

I will need to watch the whole game again to do a proper tactical analysis. Such was the intensity of the battle with the Foxes, I was unable to analyse the match coolly at the end of it. So more tomorrow or Tuesday.

Wenger jubelt na gouden wissel: 'We zijn helemaal terug'

However, there are many initial positives  I can think of:

  1. Energy and desire: the Gunners were up for this game and matched the Foxes’ intensity in every area of the pitch. Especially our spine is full of hard working, passionate players. You would expect this but it is not always a given (as sorry Man City demonstrated once more today) and it is what earned us at least two points today. Ozil, Rambo, Giroud, Koz, Sanchez and the full backs were our turbo engines today;
  2. Cech kept us from an early setback with a crucial stop from Vardy’s header at the start of the game – helped a bit by Bellerin who put the Foxes’ striker off by jumping into him. He oozed calm and control as always;
  3. Giroud was  magnificent, with the only thing missing a goal or two. He gave the fine Leicester CBs constantly something to think about, linked up very well with his fellow attacking players and created space and chances for others. The Theo lay-off was clever and well-placed and his defensive interventions all over the pitch were exemplary. Is Aguero  a better finisher than Ollie? Yes no doubt about it. But, as today’s key PL games showed once again, when the Argentine does not score Man City often drop points, whereas we will often win games even if Ollie does not hit the net. Giroud’s has so much to offer to the team and for me he was the MOTM.
  4. Super substitutions by Wenger. Theo had not scored for a while so it was not without risk to put him into the team after sixty minutes, but he made a difference straightaway with positive, confident attacking play that was crowned by a very fine, super important goal. But the stuff of dreams was surely bringing on Danny Welbeck with less than ten minutes to go and for him to score the winner in the very last minute of the game. It worked out well for Wenger and I wonder how often we will see all of Alexis, Theo, Giroud and Welbeck together on the pitch. It all proved too much for the sorry Foxes in the end.
  5. Alexis’ work rate. Our Chilean firecracker is still shedding the rust of two inactive winter months, but he worked his socks off and always gave the Foxes’ defence something to think about. On a better day he would have scored a hat-trick but he never allowed his head to drop and that goes a long way for me.
  6. Ozil’s free-kick for the winner. Mesut gave his all again: always looking to add attacking value to the team by effort and invention. When he had to take the last kick off the game, he knew it had to be perfect and it was. He has produced many assists but this one was worth six points.
  7. Le Coq’s empathy for Nacho after Vardy converted the penalty that the Spaniard had given away. It was a harsh penalty to concede as Vardy, who had had a bad first touch, ran into Nacho and his outstretched leg to earn a penalty. More about Atkinson and his bafflingly poor refereeing tomorrow, but the pen was given and converted and Monreal had the weight of the world on his shoulder. It was really nice to see Le Coq console Nacho-man as a stadium can be a very lonely place at such moments. A touch of class.
  8. Our ability to get behind the Foxes defence. We all know that Leicester are solid in the middle and very hard to penetrate. Kante, especially, is a very fine DM and Drinkwater is also pretty impressive. When a team is set up like the Foxes, it is so important to use the flanks and get in behind them, and we did this time and again. Our FBs, Nacho and Bellerin, were a constant threat and Ox and Alexis were able to take on players and create chaos and space in their defence. We played a high tempo as well and this enabled Ozil and Rambo to keep finding players on the flank who then got in behind to create chances for us. We had 24 shots (six on target) which is a good indication of how many chances we created, and I reckon the use of the flanks was key in this, as this heat map of Arsenal (on left, on the right is Leicester’s – source BBC) shows:

Arsenal v Leicester heat maps

I am sure there are many more positives and I invite you to share them with us.

By TotalArsenal.

39 thoughts on “Danny is Well-back, Giroud MOTM, Theo Delivers: 8 Positives from Arsenal v Leicester

  • TA,

    The subs, the 100% work rate of the players from the first minute to the last meant little possession for Lester and playing BFG and Le Coq are the positives in this match.

    The negatives: the ref and spuds.

    If spuds and Lester think that they are good after wins against Manc Sh**y, they are wrong.


  • Nice match review!

    Great pair of results for the Arsenal, with Leicester and Man City both losing. Seeing Man City as a greater threat to our title challenge than the Spuds, I was pleased to see them lose today (of course a draw would have been ideal)..

    Superb and committed performance from the lads – I thought another positive was the continued improvement in Oxlade-Chamberlain’s form. He showed real energy and purpose today, and made quite a few surging runs especially in the first half that could have led to a goal on another day. Really nice to see the Ox bouncing back, and I’d like to see him maybe backing himself to go all the way next time rather than looking for the final pass to somebody else.

    What is it about Danny Welbeck? There seems to be something immensely likable about the lad, and when he scores I think everyone in the world smiles.. It’s good news for us that he’s back too … it’s starting to look like we’re going all the way this season!

  • davydavy,

    Its good to see that Welbeck is back fit.
    We can play everyone without letting anyone get burnt out due to fatigue.
    Somehow he looks like he has not lost any of his touches.

    Good for us to challenge on 3 fronts, and next up, Hull City (we name them Hoot City locally as to hoot means to get whacked, as they were the whacking boys)


  • Davyx2, good shout for Ox. I thought he started well but still went missing at times and seemed to struggle when played deeper (after Coq went off).

  • TA,

    Definitely spuds vs Gunners will be the crucial game which we have to win, but lets get past Hull City and then Barca, then Manu**. FA Cup, CL, PL. In your words, OGAAT.

    Yesterday is a good warm up game for Barca, as our intensity really scared Lester, which had to resort to negative tactics to bring us down.

    Although we started 4-2-3-1, we ended 4-4-2 with Welbeck and Ollie up top. That was something different and more attacking minded, and we really nailed it in the final chance.

    Let’s learn from that game as our tactic against Barca has to be a fantastic one to get the slightest of chances.


  • Interesting review Total…

    We’re missing an end product from Alexis atm, so the return of Welbeck is very welcome. Once Sanchez is firing again, we’ll really push on…

    Giroud was magnificent yesterday, other than scoring, he couldn’t have done anymore.

    Great to see Theo break his barren spell, we’re gonna need an input from all our goalscorers over the run-in…

  • Hi TA…Busy and long (holiday) weekend and now my sleep is really messed up due to the early kickoff. Thanks for the report… I didn’t check the ‘puter last night when we got home so I figured there wasn’t one (sorry)… I’m looking forward to part two…

    My takeaway is that football–even though it’s a massive grind–can sometimes be about very specific moments. I think our title shout has a LONG way to go but I worry for Leicester’s… That was a very, very bad foul Wasilewski committed to extend the match but the way that Ozil and Welbeck punished it could turn out to be massive.

    Of course, if the foul, FK and goal had instead just been three puffs of the whistle from Atkinson things would be very, very different. I saw all the fight (passion, desire, etc.) that you saw but views change depending on the result and the fact that we would be sitting 5 points behind LC and 2 behind Spurs.with trips to WHL, both halves of Manchester and other difficult spots like Everton and West Ham would have changed things for many, I fear. We have to thank somebody (probably Wasilewski, Ozil and Welbeck) that it’s only an alternative reality, a fiction with which we don’t have to contend…

    We have to stay on the winning side of these extremely fine margins and, I think, the team will have to play better to do so. Turning on the cynicism when you have a woeful referee (as we did a bit in the 2nd half) is probably necessary too… The fact, however, that the team (and the support) was rewarded for sticking with it to the very end cannot hurt as it seems like it might be a very protracted fight with further ups and downs. We can talk specifics about improving the play, but for now (as I’ll be trying to get some shut eye before sunrise…) my focus is on the effort which got rewarded and which you’ve highlighted.

    Well done…

  • Cheers TA great eight positives, I give a shout out to the 12th man – I thought they were excellent yesterday 🙂

  • Well written T A. A far from easy game and as Asmir pointed out, Atkinson was after the MotM reward and failed miserably. I am convinced that Atkinson sent the Leicester boy off because he was feeling guilty about some of his earlier decision.

    very pleased for Danny, not my favourite player (well he was yesterday). Also pleased that Chambers had a solid game.

    So 12 to go, on paper we have 6 very winable home games, 3 very hard away games (Utd, City, Spurs, two difficult away games (West Ham, Everton). And Sunderland who will be fighting to the death..

    Unless there is fixture congestion, I believe Villa at home is our last game. Could be very interesting if it comes down to goal difference

  • A bit shit?

    Nah Total, but I feel your pain… 😊

    I’ve written what I thought were some really quite good posts in the past, but unless there’s some transfer rubbish in it, nobody seems to take any notice…

  • Hey 17tino, with headline writing like that mate, there’s a job for you on the Metro.

  • TA,

    I would have been happy with a draw myself, but it would not have done any favours to the hard work that the lads have put into.
    And also, 5 points off the top will mean that we lose ground of spuds, so to win and go level with spuds will ensure that we are able to gain some momentum going into the big week.


  • It was a must win for me. Had we drawn we would have been five points behind. Our next game at Old Trafford and Leicester have a smoother patch of games coming up. Before Sunday they had only lost twice all season. With Spurs and Leicester both playing well, we need a maximum points mentality if we are going to win the title OGAAT but let’s win them all. If we rely on other teams results we will come unstuck.

  • I think I woke most of Singapore up when Welbeck scored. I remember Ozil waiting to take the kick and I was thinking, “Ozil, we paid 40m+ for you, this is where you have to deliver and put in a really good ball” and as the free kick came arcing over I realised it was indeed a dangerous ball. Even on the commentary you can hear the crowd get excited before the ball even reaches the Arsenal forwards. Then Welbeck and Chambers rise together, and the ball seems to continue its path and you know it’s either going to fly into the corner or just flash by so the excitement builds even more.

    Then Welbeck wheels away, the crowd is roaring and your heart is in your mouth as you wait to see if the ref has blown for anything. You realise it’s a goal, that it’s the last kick of the game, and Arsenal have gone from outsiders to being right back in the title race.

    I roared like a lion I must say, and then I just broke down with emotion. I was so happy Welbeck scored it, and I have to say I have not experienced such intense joy in my life since we won the FA Cup against Hull. What an incredible moment.

    After the game I thought Leicester were very good, but on further reflection, they essentially only look dangerous when they break at pace. If you can stop them from breaking then they’re much less strong. Because Arsenal were behind for a quarter of the game, we made them look more dangerous than they could be. Even in the first half, the two dangerous moments they had (both Cech saves) came from them bypassing the midfield too easily.

    We need Coquelin to return to form, and we need another player like him to take the strain. I think Eleney will turn out to be a little more like Arteta. The other problem we have is the lack of goals from Ramsey, Walcott and even Sanchez. Giroud has been himself, but the reason we’re not leading the pack is because we have been far too wasteful in front of goal.

    Wenger really has to get in a striker in the summer, a really really good one, a signing in the Ozil mould. I’m really quite worried about Spurs this season because they have been much more efficient with their chances.

    Fingers crossed their star striker picks up an injury soon!

  • Retsub, agreed, although the Foxes’ games against Norwich and West Brom will be harder for them as many believe, with expectations high and opponents fighting for survival.

  • Hey nr9, welcome back and with a fine comment as well 😛

    Love the description of how you experienced the Welbeck winner.

    Do we need a new striker? Maybe, but the next three months we have good fire power available now that Alexis and Welbeck are back.

  • T A, Spurs are my biggest concern. Every year they threaten to finish above us and even if I say so myself I was only ever concerned once. The year they ate a dodgy lasagne at a Canary Wharf hotel prior to a must win game at Upton Park. I was working at Canary Wharf at the time… But that’s another story.

    When Spurs came to the Emirates earlier in the season, their midfield just bulldozed ours out of the way. Barring injuries they are a very strong side, and although it pains me to say so are looking very consistent.

    I walk Oscar with two Spurs season ticket holders and if they finish above us (or worse). We may have to consider moving house.

    Great description of the goal from our friend in Singapore. I too was yelling at the T V. And Atkinson in particular. Makes you wonder what would the result would have been had he not given the pen?

  • Spurs are converting their chances at a very high rate. Arsenal are not. In a league of fine margins, you need someone who can score goals most games. When last we challenged seriously for title, Adebayor scored 30 goals, if memory serves me correctly. I consider Walcott and Sanchez to be wingers, primarily. That leaves us with two central strikers of whom Arsène has rarely had the opportunity to play both.

    Now for controversy. I like Welbeck. Nice guy. Great header. But not a great goalscorering record. He deserves an extended run to see if he can become that player. If he doesn’t though, Arsenal will have lost points.

    Welbeck was bought, again if memory serves me correctly, after Giroud broke his leg at the start of last season. Or was it the season before? Anyway, he was a “panic” buy, or at least one of necessity. As it happens, he was decent value and I’m not complaining about the signing.

    But seeing as we tend to only play one up front, and that Welbeck isn’t a winger IMO, that leaves us with two players, Welbeck and Giroud competing for one place. I consider Welbeck a B grade player, Giroud a B++. Maybe Welbeck will improve.

    But we need an A grade striker. And to fit one in, one of Giroud or Welbeck will surely have to go. Walcott maybe, if Wenger considers him a striker and we can sell him for megabucks to a foreign team ideally, or Man City.

    Regarding the game, Arsenal were being normal Arsenal when Leicester scored. Not really threatening and looking very vulnerable to a counterattack. We play much better when we score first. I think I agree with Ranieri when he said that without the sending off, Leicester would have won. Maybe 1/3 we would have gotten a draw, but more likely they’d have scored again on a break, due to our fairly toothless attack.

    Playing Leicester was a bit like playing Chelsea.

    As for the penalty, well, for me it wasn’t a penalty. If it is in the rules, it *shouldn’t* be a penalty. Monreal made no attempt to trip Vardy and as soon as his little flick missed he turned away and tried to get out of the way. Vardy followed him and dived. I think the “he’s entitled to go down if a leg is outstretched in front of him” argument essentially condones cheating.

    We all know in our hearts that this is sharp practice. A penalty should be the result of a foul which impedes a player. I’d much rather see more penalties given for shirt tugging. I don’t remember the last time Arsenal got a penalty in such a manner. It seems we get a lot awarded against us, however. It was the kind of decision you don’t expect to be given against you when playing at home.

  • Retsub, they are similar to Leicester in set up and quality players and they love to play with low expectations, but when the going gets tough the Arse is ahead of both of them. I am convinced it will be between MC and Arsenal in the end and there will be many more twists and turns over the next dozen games. COYGs! 🙂

  • I disagree there nr9. We need to score goals to win the league and I rather have them split between three or four attackers then rely on the one top quality CF; and I reckon Arsene sees it like that as well. We don’t play with wingers anymore but have players out wide who can take on a player and skin them. In reality, we are playing with two attackers in front of four midfielders, as Wenger always plays two out of Giroud, Alexis, Theo (and now Welbeck) to score the majority of our goals. They might be positioned on a wing but are free to roam, and Ollie is ideal for leaving space for his fellow attackers and linking up with.

    We suffered a bit on the goal scoring front with Alexis being out and Theo out of form but I am confident that we will have scored as many goals as the our competitors come the end of the season.

  • njstone9,

    Haha.. It was before 10pm so not many people had slept by then.
    I was more composed, only clapped my hands for a job well done.
    All the Gunner fans in Singapore would have woke up their neighbours in the same HDB block somehow, but as it is a Sunday, and the time before 10pm, so not much effect on the neighbours.

    I agree with TA on the goals split among more players than relying on one.

    Look at spuds. If they sell their star striker they are going to have a repeat of what they did after they sold the Welsh player to the Madrid team.

    We are different. We passed and tried to create opportunities for everyone to score, but we might have over-passed.
    Danny, Alexis and Rambo are different. They try to shoot when they see holes.

    From a Singaporean to another,

  • Sorry guys but I must dissent!

    It’s not a matter of spreading the goals around vs relying on one player, à la Spuds. The strikers must simply score more and if we have one who scores 30, and the others maintain their current tallies, we will be far more consistent in terms of challenging for the league.

    Compare our goals scored with the champions of seasons past – we’re miles behind and quite frankly without Cech we’d be down in the sewers with ManUre.

    If we sell one of Giroud, Walcott or Welbeck, and brought in that top, top player (copyright Jamie Redknapp), I’d expect us to score 20 goals on top of what we’d otherwise do. When we get ahead, and with a top striker that would happen more often, it then helps the other players get more opportunities to score on the counter.

    We can’t buy a Suarez (well, maybe we could have done, but John Henry was a git and blocked it), or a Neymar, or a Messi. Maybe, maybe we could get an Aguero or Higuain level player. Arsène will surely be crucified if he maintains this “we’ll buy if the opportunity arises” approach: he’s got to force the issue.

    Aubameyang has got to be a target and if we win the league, a realistic one.

    @JK I’m actually British but I’ve lived here for 8 years. My son is at a local school 🙂 I definitely woke up my wife and son for both goals! Unfortunately, the only appreciation she has for football centres on Olivier Giroud’s bottom which she fell in love with when we watched Arsenal v Everton in Singapore last summer.

  • Arsene has all the troops back – or most of them..,
    So there’s plenty of scope for rotation and fresh legs, even from the bench…

    Total, I ain’t sure about ManCity, with their resources they should be walking away with it, but there seems something missing, fortunately for us.
    Both Tottenham and Leicester are more of a threat to me, as it stands.

    As Retsub says, we have to grind it out for here on, every EPL game is massive.
    Even the CL is a bit of a sideshow to me because I don’t think we’re equipped to win it but it can cost us points in the League.

  • Nr9,

    I knew that.. we were also in the comments last summer and you watched that match, which i had to watch on TV.

    Welbeck will be that type of player if and only if he stays fit. Look at van judas as a good example.

    So, channeling TA and 17ht, we have to look within rather than buy. You can be prolific in one team but not in the other.

    Look at Pato as the perfect example.


  • Happy to agree to disagree, nr9. A top CF means we will more and more focus on him to do the goalscoring business and as soon as he has an off day or gets injured we will struggle to get enough goals to win (as so often Citeh do). Giroud is one of the best allround CFs around and it is up to Theo and Sanchez (and eventually Danny who has a long way to go) to do their part. The need for a top CF to win the league is one of the biggest clichés I know of.

  • Cheers Kev,

    The fact that Citeh are misfiring currently and still are not far from top (and us) is a sign that they are a big threat to us. The biggest in my opinion because the money-doped squad tend to play better when the weather gets better and the pressure is off a bit. They also have the experience of winning the league and so much quality within the team. I eat my hat if it is not 1-2 for Citeh and the Arsenal.. 🙂

  • The Spuds, on the other hand, are the quintessential swamp dwellers who are allergic to light and start to shrink as soon as Spring starts…. 😉

  • Until this afternoon I had a very faint hope of the treble. ………but Mike Dean is the ref for the Hull game. Guess it’s just the double.

    Bad idea to send Dean to the Emirates. That will wake up the crowd

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