I really enjoyed the Leicester City vs Arsenal match, it obviously helps that we picked up all three points. The match kind of reminded me of an earlier Premier League era. In era where teams played all action attacking football and went for victory regardless of the stature of the clubs.
Without wanting to sound like I am condescendingly patting Leicester on the head, I thought they more than played their part in such a quality match. They took the initiative from the first whistle and caused us huge problems.
I continuously bang on about small margins in top flight games and it could have been very different at 1-0 down when Vardy hit the post with a header, only for us to scamper down the other end of the pitch and equalise. 2-0 down away from home with the crowd buzzing would have been tough to come back from but instead Theo Walcott's left foot finish rolled into the corner of the net. Had he missed that chance, he would have received an earful from Ramsey who was square of him with an empty net to tap into. It's a difficult one isn't it? You want your strikers to take shots and have confidence in their ability but at the same time you want to increase your chances of the team scoring a goal. I think I have spent too much time watching Thierry Henry who was the master of making the right decision for the team.
I really liked Vardy's goal, well not at the time obviously. Per Mertesacker went walkabouts a little to high up the pitch and a launched ball fell to Jamie Vardy, his header down into his path and composure to slot the ball wide of Cech was clap worthy. Would that have happened if Gabriel was on the pitch? Will Gabriel come back into the team now that his suspension is over?
The goal aside, I thought Mertesacker had a good game and was very important when it came to repelling one of Leicester City's biggest weapon, the cross. Mertesacker won 7 aerial duels, in fact no other player on either side won more. Nacho Monreal also won 7 duels when you compare that to Koscielny's 2, it just shows how important he was. Leicester City's delivery was always very dangerous.
Being the flip-flopping fan that I am, I am feeling excited about watching Theo Walcott develop as a striker. I wasn't hot on the idea only a few weeks back but he is getting better and better in that position. He almost broke free about three minutes into the game but he could not escape the offside trap. He has got to recalibrate that curled finish though hasn't he? He tends to bend those into the sky these days. Anyway, it is great to have an option up top that is able to get in behind and stretch defences. We longer have to build up to the edge of the box to score a goal, we can now slide balls through or chip balls over the top for Theo to chase and he did that very well during the game. No surprises that Theo only made 13 passes during the 79 minutes that he was on the field for. It may well be low on quantity but 3 key passes out of those 13 is pretty good going.
I backed Alexis to get back on the scoresheet in my preview, he looked sharp when he came on at Tottenham and he just needed a goal to click back into gear. His first goal was the kind of goal he scored at the start of his Arsenal career. Ghosting into the box from a wide position and pouncing on a bouncing ball. His second goal was all about the quality of Mesut Özil, floating a ball into the only space that would have met Alexis. But it was his hat-trick that was a thing of beauty, the touch around the defender was scrumptious and his early low driven shot found the corner of the net.
Vardy scored another good goal, bending the ball around the unsighted Cech before substitute Giroud came on and swept in a Monreal cross in traditional one touch style.
Credit must go to Mikel Arteta also who came on for Mathieu Flamini who suffered a hamstring early in the first half and he performed very well. It allowed Santi Cazorla to play a little high up the pitch.
With Manchester City losing heavily at Tottenham and Chelsea only managing to scramble a point at Newcastle, Saturday can be seen as a positive week for Arsenal. We are now only 3 points off the top and only now are we starting to look anything like Arsenal.
Olympiacos at home on Tuesday is a good fixture to try and transform that performance over to the Emirates stadium ahead of Manchester United next weekend.
Other match related goodness: Post Match Q&A, Podcast out on Monday.