First Alexis Sanchez made a similar run to the one he made at Wembley against Reading but then checked his run when he saw Özil shift to his left a bit more instead of playing the pass, now Theo Walcott thought he could be in and made a similar dart into the same area that Alexis went into just ahead of him, it was Alexis moving back into his left position that fooled the West Brom players and left Theo on his own on the right edge of the box. Özil gave it to Wilshere who knocked it on to Cazorla and the Spaniard slipped Walcott in who had been screaming for the ball. Walcott took a touch to get it out of his feet and whipped a shot across the keeper into the top corner of the goal.
With the benefit of hindsight I would have liked to have seen Alexis move centrally as a partner to Giroud, moving someone else on the left and Walcott on the right late on in the game. Chances were not coming frequently enough with our passing alone and it felt like we needed someone to create his own shot in the penalty area, unfortunately Alexis could not do that on the left flank and nobody else in the team has those gifts in tight areas. In the end we were restricted to long range shots from Özil and Cazorla (I really hate wasted long range shots killing moves) as well as half chances from Gibbs, Özil and Giroud
I wasn't too worried about our lack of shots in the first half, we are not a team that take speculative shots, instead preferring to carve out 1 or 2 high percentage chances instead of 8-10 shots straight down the middle into the keepers arms. As bad as we played in that first half we were very close to having a couple of those clear cut chances. Phil Jones producing one amazing bits of improvisation as he fell to the ground heading the ball against Giroud's boot and into the grateful arms of David de Gea, without that intervention, Giroud was clean through against the keeper
Aaron Ramsey made yet another considerable contribution to a wonderful first half performance. As did Alexis Sanchez who has found a second wind of form after a mid-season dip. It was the Chilean's freekick which deflected in for our opener before Santi Cazorla spotted a Ramsey dart into a centre forward position and pinged a magnificent long pass with his 'weak' foot into Ramsey's body. Ramsey acting like an experienced centre forward turned his man and got his shot off and his effort flew in via yet another deflection. But I bet the third goal was the one that pleased Arsene the most
I would like to state categorically that Alexis Sanchez along with Mesut Özil and Santi Cazorla is one of our stars. His contribution on and off the ball has been a joy to behold and we will need him if we are to take the next step in the league BUT and you know the but was coming, at times he feels like a Gervinho upgrade in almost every way. He has the ability to make something happen from nothing yet also has a terrible habit of poor execution with his final pass. I've noticed Özil fling his arms up several times with frustration when a move has broken down at the feet of our electric Chilean. The hope is that he improves that side of his game but given his age, I think it's a case of taking the rough with the smooth and there is a bucketful of smooth to immerse ourselves in. I also wish he wouldn't attempt the impossible pass through a crowded box every time he gets the ball outside of the area because we end up giving the opposition a goal kick when others
Daniel Sturridge had come on at half time which meant Sterling moving to the left of the pitch and a battle against Hector Bellerin. It was a very intriguing contest as both players are roughly the same age and both have blistering pace. Bellerin mistimed one tackle in the box on 76 which gave Liverpool a glimmer of hope. Henderson took the kick and scored. You can feel that the team have matured though, in years past everyone would have felt panicked by this. Nervous energy being passed between fans and players alike, yet yesterday we went about our work professionally and did not give Liverpool another way back into the game
We were quickly the better team and created chances, trouble was our final pass or finish did not always match up with our approach play. It was great to see Alexis Sanchez looking sharper than he had been in recent weeks. Sometimes he has reminded me of Arshavin, attempting difficult final passes almost every time that do not come off but at St James' Park he found his range. He created chances for Ramsey, Cazorla and two for Welbeck. His flick over the defenders head with not much room to maneuver was fantastic. Welbeck really should have done better with his finish and that remains an area where he needs work. Danny Welbeck is a player I like a lot and I'm always happy to see him in the starting 11 but bite is
- Monaco (a) - September's Alexis could have found the 3rd
- West Ham (h) - Spinal players impress as Gunners take all the points
- Manchester United (a) - The real Arsenal stood up / Impressive Coquelin
- QPR (a) - Second half Gunners gun down Hoops
- Everton (h) - Does Gabriel keep his shirt? & What now for Walcott?
- Monaco (h) - Stupid All Round
- Crystal Palace (a) - Arsenal comfortable yet lucky in victory