Arsenal were painfully close to picking up three points away against Tottenham at the weekend, but when the wounds heal, fans will realise this was a vital point that the Gunners more than deserved.
Wingers hitting form
Arsenal’s wingers have been below par for the most part this season, but in the last few weeks, they have been hitting form and the team have been reaping the rewards.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan (£1.72), has done exactly that. The Armenian international has struggled since joining the Gunners as part of a swap deal that saw Alexis Sanchez (£3.81) join Manchester United one year ago. But now with the backing of Emery, the versatile midfielder is starting to reward the manager for that faith, industrious and effective in attacking areas.
Eyebrows were raised pre-match when Alex Iwobi (£1.57) was selected ahead of world cup winner Mesut Ozil (£3.63), especially after the German’s performance in midweek. But the 22-year-old Nigerian international put in a great performance on the left wing, with some intricate attacking moves and also adding balance defensively with an inspiring workrate – something that cannot often be said about Ozil in big away games.
Iwobi has gone from strength to strength under Emery and is a real success story from his tenure so far. Starting 17 and featuring in 26 league games so far, he’s becoming an integral part of the team and should he continue on his upwards trajectory, Arsenal will have a very good player on their hands.
Four at the back and a solid defence
Many would have expected Emery to return back to five at the back for the visit to Wembley, but it was reassuring to see him be more positive and stick with a four. Mustafi (£1.25) at right back looked uncomfortable at times, but in general offered a better defensive solution than either Lichsteiner (£0.79) or Maitland-Niles (£1.52) would have. The soft penalty given away by the German will be a black spot again his name, though.
Elsewhere Sokratis (£0.96) and Koscielny (£1.43) are forming a fine partnership at the heart of the defence, they may only be a temporary solution, but the duo could prove to have enough quality to take Arsenal into the top four this season.
Sead Kolasinac (£1.07) has been Arsenal’s left back or wing back for the most part this season, but the experience of Nacho Monreal (£1.31) was called upon on Saturday and he was brilliant. Rivaling Sokratis for man of the match, the 33-year-old showed he still has great defensive qualities, winning 12 duels, 4 tackles and 4 interceptions.
There are plenty of reasons to be positive moving forward for Arsenal fans and the fight for top four is very much on. Sunday’s match-up against Manchester United will be very significant.