4 Thoughts From Arsenal’s 2-0 Win Over Cardiff City

By on January 2, 2014

Arsenal left it late to see-off Cardiff City 2-0 on New Year’s Day thanks to goals from Bendtner and Walcott. Here, Gunner333 gives us four thoughts from the game.

Santi-Cazorla

Arsenal’s first game of 2014 saw them welcome Cardiff City to the Emirates. Lukas Podolski started for the first time since a Champions League qualifier against Fenerbache back in August, replacing the injured Olivier Giroud up front.

VOdds

The first chance of the game arose after Jack Wilshere dispossessed McNaughton before releasing an inviting ball into the area, Walcott only able to find the side netting. Minutes later and Wilshere was at the centre of the action yet again when Medel seemed to make a rather risky challenge in the area. To Wilshere’s disgust, no spot-kick awarded.

Mutch conjured up Cardiff’s most promising chance in a half really dominated by the home side but there were no goals yet to show for it.

Arguably the most promising chance of the second half came through a Mertesacker sitter, the German only able to guide his header past the post, before repeating the failed effort just moments later in a similar position.

Marshall had little to do in the whole game until substitute Nicklas Bendtner fired a bullet into the far corner of the net, following up on Sagna’s parried effort. The forward, often disparaged by Arsenal fans, proving his worth to grab the potentially winning goal.

Walcott followed up on the opener in stoppage time, Wilshere ‘poking’ a ball past the Cardiff back-line to find Theo who cooly dispatched a sublime chip over Marshall. A great result for the Gunners who top the Premier League table once again, a fantastic start to 2014.

Here I will now analyse  4 Stats/Facts from the victory:

1) Cazorla Lacking

Since the arrival of Özil and consistent stellar performances of Aaron Ramsey, our little Spaniard may have felt forgotten and, in the process, has been knocked for confidence slightly. Evidently, this has rendered his performances average at best and he often seems to lack the ambition he once possessed.

When dealt the ball in matches at present, Santi seems  reluctant to delve forward and instead looks to find another of our creative midfield crop. If we supply the Spaniard with a few matches in his favoured position (‘number-10’) then maybe will see him back to his best.

2) Hallmark of Champions

To be winners of such a prestigious league, it is not all about simply playing the ‘wonderful game’ but also doing the ‘nitty-gritty’  in order to salvage points. Both our goals yesterday came in the dying minutes of the match and it takes a lot of character to do this.

Some of the greatest sides in Premier League history have been capable of scoring very late goals in the final stages to turn the game on its head. Some promising signs from the Gunners now; not only are we winning when not playing well but we are also converting late on. All we need now is Wenger’s take on ‘Fergie Time’ and we will have the full Champions package!

3) We Need Another Striker

After Nicklas Bendnter sustained a troubling injury through scoring Arsenal’s first of 2014, we have been left with only two main striking options – Walcott and Podolski. Although the overall quality of our frontmen is vastly improving, the depth of our attacking ranks is a cause for concern.

It is surely a MUST to add an extra forward in this window, whether it be a loan or permanent deal, it is paramount. Theo seems confident down the flank, but is more than capable of being our middle-man. Whilst Lukas has shown signs of life with his goal against West Ham last week, he struggled to influence the game yesterday. Hopefully Wenger can bring in another option up top sooner rather than later.

4) Set-Piece Set-Ups

Before Bendnter’s opener, defensive powerhouse Per Mertesacker had two fantastic chances to put the Gunners ahead. His attacking ability, once prominent, was severely absent against Cardiff and, on another day, those misses could have proved far more pivotal towards the result.

Our defence is now the most reliable so far this season and the back-four seem very able to hold off pressure at set-pieces. To push ourselves one step further, we must work on corners, free-kicks etc. at the other end. We had 12 corners and only really created one chance of note.

Thanks for reading and feel free to comment below.

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