I have to say going into yesterday’s London derby against champions Chelsea I did not fancy the Gunners to get the win. However, a draw was always achievable if Arsenal decided to abandon Arsene Wenger’s football philosophy.
I thought that was very unlikely, yet low and behold the Gunners produced a very solid, always perfect away performance to draw 0-0 with the champions. The only thing missing was a goal on the counter-attack, which Aaron Ramsey came so close to scoring, but hit the post.
I hope that the display is a sign of things to come for Arsenal in away games. Has the old dog learnt a new trick by actually looking at the opposition’s strengths, instead of just telling his side to go out and play their football?
Wenger got it spot on
As one of our regular readers pointed out on our match report for the game, imagine what Arsenal could have accomplished with this approach in the last decade. The Gunners produced a highly disciplined performance in defence and shut down Chelse’s forward line an impressive manner.
How often have we seen the Gunners fall apart at the back in away games in recent months stretching back to last season?
Also through the likes of Ramsey, Alex Iwobi and Danny Welbeck the Gunners offered a major threat on the counter-attack. Welbeck and Iwobi are not as technically gifted as the likes of Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil, but they tend to put in a better shift going back towards their own goal.
I did question the selection of Iwobi over Sanchez, but Iwobi deserves credit for the work he did, especially defensively. The winger’s performances were a key element to Wenger’s game plan. It is nice for the Frenchman to actually have a game plan.
Arsenal boss can learn from this game
A couple of years ago, Arsenal produced a similar sort of display away at Manchester City and won 2-0. Everybody thought that would be the blueprint for Arsenal’s future away displays. The Gunners played with a similar discipline and intelligence that game.
However, Wenger has since suffered a number of poor away days at big clubs. If Arsenal are to claim a top-four position this season, something they are odds of 6/4 to achieve, then picking up points at the big clubs could be the key.
Of course, we would all love Arsenal to challenge for the Premier League title. However, the Gunners need to walk before they can run. We may just have witnessed the north London side’s first stumbling steps back towards their target for this season.
Can Arsenal produce similar displays at the other big boys this season?