The tables have turned yet again and the Gunners again move up over Manchester City (and of course Spurs) in the league table with a convincing win over the Eagles. Here are the 3 talking points from the game.
The Scorpion King
Olivier Giroud gave the world a mesmerising goal, an angular back flick popularly known as the scorpion kick, to drool over on the first day of the year. You don’t see such a goal every day, which was the main reason Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s similar strike went viral on Boxing Day. Giroud took it up a notch by adding more sublimity to it and staying onside for the goal.
The bigger question, however, has rather been- Has Giroud finally arrived? The French international’s lack of first team chances had even let many to speculate his move away from the Emirates this winter. Eventually, his agent had, to clarify his commitment towards the club.
Tottenham winning the previous game against Watford and Liverpool defeating Manchester City on Saturday meant Arsenal had a must-win game on their hands and like on many other occasions this season, Giroud stood up tall. It now makes five goals in 12 matches, in which he started only two. While Alexis Sanchez has been phenomenal this season scoring aplenty, Giroud has often saved Gunners the blushes this season- whether it be quintessential against Manchester United or the late winner against West Bromwich Albion.
If this is really Arsenal’s season as many have touted, that towering French forward will have to play a huge role.
Is January the month Arsenal salvages the missed opportunities?
Arsenal are now nine points behind league leaders Chelsea, whom Wenger has stated to be ’super-favourites’. One look, however, at their respective fixtures this month gives a realistic hope that Arsenal might finally close the gap that those two frustrating defeats last month, have left to fill.
Arsenal face Burnley and Watford at home and away to Bournemouth and Swansea City in January, which looks like winnable games and a good 12 points that Arsenal should achieve if they are to touch the target of 87 points by the end of the season. Chelsea, on the other hand, will have to visit Tottenham, Leicester City and Liverpool and play home to Hull City, before they welcome Arsenal early February.
Although, the way Chelsea are playing at the moment, no mountain looks steeper enough to overcome. But as Wenger has said, “The title is theirs’ to lose.”
It is time Rambo steps up
Things are falling into order now. Mohamed Elneny leaves for African Cup of Nations and Wenger, who is highly unlikely to ship in players in January transfer window, will have Ramsey as the only feasible option apart from Coquelin till Cazorla returns.
Fans have long wanted a Ramsey-Xhaka partnership in the middle of the park and something says that the time has come. Ramsey has shaken off his injuries and hopefully his poor form and Xhaka has gelled in well with the team. Sooner or later Wenger will bring those two together and hopefully it will be a treat to watch.