1) What did you make of the system and where the players played today?
@Flannyballs – I think the front three of Giroud, Welbeck and Alexis is a good mix and has an interesting dynamic. I also like the idea of both Santi and Özil in the middle, in that it sees our two most talented players in positions where they see the most of the ball–although I’m not sure it would work in every match.
@JokmanAFC - It certainly worked. Welbeck and Alexis switched flanks and occasionally Welbeck was a partner for Ollie. Santi played more of a box to box role which has worked for him, which gave Özil the freedom which he needs. I liked it. Flamini played well too!
@omomo14 – Think the system was just about right, Arsène persisted with the same set-up we have grown accustomed to but with Özil and Flamini coming into the fold. To be honest I was a bit skeptical about Özil in a midfield 3 but boy was he impressive. Him and Santi together orchestrating things was a joy to behold. Ramsey and Jack could take to some learning from a attacking point of view. Sometimes less means more.
@Snir_Geuli - I, for one am one that is very fond of Santi in the box to box role he has been playing more of this season with Aaron and Jack's injuries. His technical ability on the ball allows us to both relieve pressure when we win possession and his accuracy in his passing makes him the perfect distributor. He also makes plenty of late runs into the box. In this kind of form and against these kind of teams, he is able to be the perfect conductor.
2) Were there any differences in performance compared to the Leicester City match? If so what were they?
@Flannyballs – Nothing fundamental, I don’t think. It just clicked today whereas against Leicester it didn’t particularly. And let’s not forget we were the width of a post away from it being the same result!
@JokmanAFC - Yup. Far more energy and an opposition that came to soak up pressure. The Foxes harassed us and wanted points. They were desperate. Boro had a game plan that didn't work.
@0momo14 – Of course there was. The players were a lot more confident in their abilities. Quite understandable they were jittery going into the Leicester game after the North London Derby defeat but today they shook the jittery aside and played with so much understanding and flair. The ‘Boro side couldn't get near us. We should have scored 4, 5 goals if not for brilliant goal-keeping.
@Snir_Geuli - Most definitely. I actually thought Leicester deserved all three points, not just a draw, and were extremely unlucky to lose. That game looked like a classic AW "it's hard to regain confidence once you've lost it" game after defeat and you could see the players were concerned. We were labored as opposed to today where we seemed up for it from the off.
3) What did you make of new boy Gabriel?
@Flannyballs – I was very impressed. He was much better in possession than I was expecting; I thought his distribution was economical without being retrograde. It’s just one game, and against lower league opposition, but it’s a good starting point.
@JokmanAFC - He was solid. Considering the language barrier, he positioned himself correctly with just his defensive nous, which bodes well. He took a booking for the cause and he didn't shy away from the 'elbows up' aerial duels that Boro were employing. It's very early but he looked good.
@omomo14 – He had an assured performance, didn't have much to do defensively but when called, he did well and took one for the team when ‘Boro created an opening. Was also bit surprised he play on the right side of defence. I swear thought he was a left footer but made use of his right foot all game. Impressive.
@Snir_Geuli - I thought he did well. I think Arsene tried to downplay expectations with his language comments to give him a ready made excuse in case he messed up. I thought he was very focused and wanted to impress. His pace was impressive and his ability on the ball was equally impressive as he sometimes chose the riskier but more rewarding option (stabbing the ball with his right to the free midfielder instead of back to the keeper).
4) Not that we have to do this but who was better today, Santi or Mesut?
@Flannyballs – Özil. But you are asking me to choose between Natalie Portman and Zooey Deschanel here. What I’m saying is that there is no good reason we can’t all be together and be perfectly happy without anyone telling my wife.
@JokmanAFC - Hard to compare as the roles they had were vastly different. They both played their position well but if you're asking me who is the best No10 I'll unashamedly say Özil. The boy is a pass master.
@omomo14 – Mesut for me, Santi had the telling pass that led to the first goal but Mesut had a very sound game. The grace at which he plays is a beauty, you have got to look deep to see it and that was the case today. Wonder how Neil Ashton would be feeling seeing Mesut has hit form?
@Snir_Geuli - For me it was Santi. Not to take anything away from Mesut because he was fantastic all across the attacking midfield as he roamed from the center to the left and right. Santi however, was everywhere on the pitch and was at the start of every incisive Arsenal move. Santi started the move, Mesut provided the incisiveness. Both were fantastic and provided passes to open up their defence that not many players can provide (Santi for Gibbs which drew the defender and left Giroud free in the box, and Mesut's one two with Alexis to set him up for a shot).
5) You may have already answered this but who was your Arsenal man of the match today?
@Flannyballs – It’s got to be big Mesut. He’s been excellent since his return from injury.
@JokmanAFC - My MOTM would go to Giroud as he made the difference. Special mentions to a roving Gibbs and Flamini who has been under a lot of focus lately.
@omomo14 – I would have gone with Özil but it wouldn't be fair on Giroud, our 2-goal hero. Dude scored 2 well taken goals, deserves it in all honesty. Giroud has looked a different player this season, improved his conversion rate and movement. Noticed how he stepped up to allow Welbeck come in. it shows a man willing to improve.
@Snir_Geuli - Santi. But Mesut was a very very close second.
6) If you had to play Theo or Welbeck for 10 games in a row while the other one gets limited minutes, who would you choose?
@Flannyballs – It would depend on who else was in the side. If we had Alexis in, probably Welbeck; if we had, say, Özil on the other flank, I’d go Theo. It’s nice to have these sorts of options so that the balance of the side can be tailored without being too dependent on any given individual. Imagine what a player we’d have if we could combine Theo’s effectiveness in the final third with Welbeck’s all-round game, though. Oh wait, that’s basically Alexis.
@JokmanAFC - That's a toughie. I'd go for Theo though, as he can get you 20 goals, whereas Danny will show more endeavour and he holds the ball better, plus he tracks back to better effect, but he won't get as many goals. Goals make the difference.
@omomo14 - Tough question. I'm a massive Theo fan so I would be inclined to pick him ahead of Welbeck but still Welbeck gives us a bit of defensive security and is also a threat with his pace going forward, so he has got the advantage sincerely. Thank goodness I'm not the manager, left for Arsène to pick who he deems fit.
@Snir_Geuli - Welbeck, and even Ox over Theo at the moment. I like Theo a lot, but his lack of defensive nous is hurting us, especially when he's playing with Hector who is closing the gap to Per and leaving the flank open. The winger must help and Ox was much better at that at the Etihad. Welbeck would be the same. Theo on the other hand makes teams set up differently and not commit as many players forward. Welbeck or Ox do not have Theo's pace but are both pacy enough to punish a team that does commit numbers forward while also being much better at link up play with the midfield to their technical superiority over Theo. Theo is indubitably a better finisher than both but has been very rusty in front of goal since coming back and Welbeck's defensive effort is more important to us at the moment, as could be seen at White Hart Lane.
7) Do you think we'll win the FA Cup again? Gut feelings and stuff..
@Flannyballs – Come back to me after the draw. If we get United, Liverpool or Bradford away, I’m gonna say no. If Preston knock out United and Liverpool get Bradford away, then yep. Wenger has an excellent pedigree in the cup, and I would love for him to get the record for post-war wins.
@JokmanAFC - Every one in the media believe it's destiny for Gerrard in his last game for L'pool to lift the Cup. I believe it's destiny for us to meet them in the final and gain revenge for that final in '01 when they stole it. That would be delicious.
@omomo14 – Provided we stay clear off the boys, in this case UTD and Liverpool till the final at least, then why not, but for now, I don’t want to tempt fate. One game at a time.
@Snir_Geuli - I do not have a doubt in my mind. I feel as if we are better equipped to play at Anfield now as opposed to the horrible game earlier this season. We are definitely capable of beating United (if they qualify) who absolutely robbed us at the Ems. We've been very dominant at home this season. No matter who we get and where in the quarters we should go through to the Semis where we should be on top as were both the holders and the best team remaining.
8) Any other thoughts?
@Flannyballs – Hopefully today’s performance is a sign that the Tottenham game was an aberration. This can still be a very decent season for us, but we need to show some real consistency over the next 2 months for that to happen.
@JokmanAFC - A professional performance with no new injuries and progression in the Cup. Aside from Bork's GK, they didn't play well or show any intent. We deserved it. If we do get to the Final, I'm willing to sell my kidney for a ticket.
@omomo14 – Arsenal is by far the greatest team the world has seen. Lol!
@Snir_Geuli - Unfortunately the season did not start in January. I feel as if this team is going through the same process of getting to know each other and the system as the team in 12-13 did. I certainly feel like we SHOULD (not only can) win all our remaining Premier League games including United away and Chelsea at home. I really think Coquelin offers us a lot and at times play like a free safety in American football spying over the park and just cuts off any supply lines. I really think this team is closer than ever to greatness and expect (not just hope) us to make a Champions League run.
Up the Arsenal!