Welcome to my Arsenal blog for the 2015/16 season; here you can check out my thoughts on the current goings on at the club.
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Sunday, 5 January 2014

Cazorla and Rosicky goals seal win in derby

Arsenal probably had one of the most trickiest ties in the third round of the FA Cup. However they didn't make it look like that as they brushed aside their North London rivals with relative ease, beating Tottenham 2-0 at the Emirates. Considering our recent struggles to create chances in our two previous League games we created a lot against Spurs as Cazorla rifled home in the first half before Rosicky dinked the ball over Lloris in the second. It was a comfortable performance from the Gunners who had not picked their strongest line-up. Serge Gnabry lined-up on the right and due to injuries to our strikers Theo Walcott played upfront. Ozil, who was injured for the Cardiff game, was back on the bench whilst Fabianski started in goal with Vermaelen stepping in for Mertesacker at centre half.
Tomas Rosicky scored Arsenal's second and his first of the season
This was a hugely anticipated derby and was the second time the two sides had met this season. We played them near the beginning of the season in which a single goal from Giroud was enough in a much tighter affair than last night's one. That was under AVB though and last night's fixture was against an Arsenal fan in Tim Sherwood. He supported Arsenal as a boy and his team selection of 4-4-2 made us able to dominate the game in the middle of the park and was the reason we probably won the game. It was Arsene Wenger's 47th North London derby and it continued our run of not being knocked out in the third round of the FA Cup since a 1-0 defeat in 1996 to Sheffield United.

Theo Walcott was a handful for the majority of the evening and made some clever runs which almost got himself two goals and then led to the first goal. All of that was to happen before Walcott was stretchered off late on in the game. Surely not another lengthy injury for one of our players? Serge Gnabry was able to exploit the space in order to set up our first goal. He cut inside and then slid in Santi Cazorla who rifled the ball home on his left foot. Both players involved in that goal had fine games. Gnabry could've had one himself whilst Cazorla drifted inside often and hit one or two efforts wide. The other goal came as a result of poor Tottenham play. Tomas Rosicky robbed Danny Rose of the ball and then raced in on goal. Walker managed to track back but the Czech very cleverly ran into his path meaning either a foul or a goal was the only option from then on in. Rosicky then waited for Lloris to go down before dinking the ball into the back of the net for his first of the season.

Our attacking play was far more encouraging compared to recent games and that was all down to a very different style of play we adopted to. We're usually used to seeing either Giroud or Bendtner up top who hold the ball up. However with Walcott upfront the defenders kept dropping off due to his pace, allowing other members of the side to find space. Particularly Gnabry and Cazorla as mentioned earlier. Dembele and Bentaleb found it hard to deal with the trio of Rosicky, Arteta and Wilshere which made it easy for us to pass the ball around into space.

Our defence kept another clean-sheet and that was with there being rotations. It showed that despite not being heavy in numbers in terms of that phase of the pitch, the back line can still put in a shift regardless of who plays there. Vermaelen had to be replaced at half time but up to then he had made a few crucial tackles. Mertesacker came on and slotted straight in and he hardly needed any time to adapt to the game. Koscielny's composure was evident again as Adebayor and Soldado hardly caused us any problems going forward. Fabianski was also good when called upon, making an especially good save when one-on-one with Eriksen with the score still at 0-0.

I was nervous going into the game but only on one occasion was I worried that Tottenham would in fact score. I had confidence in the side and it was the most comfortable derby victories I've witnessed in a while. Theo Walcott being stretchered off but then doing a "2-0" sign with his hands just topped the night off, it was a brilliant piece of banter towards the Spurs fans. The FA better not fine him or ban him, if anyone should be banned it's the Spurs fans for throwing money in Theo's direction.

The draw for the next round was made this Sunday afternoon and we'll be facing Coventry City at home. Last time out, we beat them 6-1 in the League Cup. A repeat would be nice but considering last season's cup performances I'm not ruling anything out. It was nice to rest a few and see a few players that haven't been on top of their game as much as they'd like to be this season have good games. Our next fixture isn't now for 8 games when we take on Aston Villa away from home. Hopefully a repeat of our first game of the season won't occur!

The teams line-ups:

Arsenal: Fabianski, Sagna, Koscielny, Vermaelen(45), Monreal, Arteta(75), Wilshere(71), Gnabry, Rosicky, Cazorla, Walcott.
Subs: Viviano, Mertesacker(45), Jenkinson, Flamini(71), Ozil(75), Podolski, Park.

Tottenham: Lloris, Walker, Dawson, Chiriches, Rose, Lennon, Dembele, Bentaleb, Eriksen, Adebayor, Soldado(63).
Subs: Friedel, Fryers, Fredericks, Capoue, Chadli(63), Obika, Kane.

My man of the match: Tomas Rosicky.

Referee: Mark Clattenburg.
Attendance: 59,476.

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