Arsenal put on nothing short of a masterclass on Sunday evening against Manchester City and in the champions' own back yard. But did we see a different style of play start to emerge from Arsene Wenger's team?
We usually witness Arsenal getting easily rolled over by the bigger clubs, whether it be in the league or in Europe. However, from the first minute in the game at the Etihad Sunday evening, we saw a completely different outfit.
The defence and midfield dropped deep and let the reigning champions play their football; Wenger is known for sticking to his philosophy no matter what the circumstance, he knew after many years of making the same mistake that his side could not go toe-to-toe with City and for once he acted on it.
This meant City were unable to break-through the often-brittle Gunners back line. Players like Alexis Sanchez and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain were able to explode out the blocks on the counter-attack, punishing the home side on two occasions.
Nacho Monreal was brought down inside the box in the first half after Vincent Kompany got in the way of the Frenchman on his route to goal, Mike Dean pointed to the penalty spot and Santi Cazorla tucked away the chance sublimely.
Again, Arsenal hit the champions on the counter as they were chasing down the equaliser. Stevan Jovetic prevented the counter by bringing Sanchez down, giving Cazorla a chance to whip in a ball from the set-piece. The cross was inviting for Giroud to get on the end of and that's exactly what he did, as he got a slight touch to head it beyond Joe Hart.
It was a sort of Arsenal we haven't seen for many years; it's usually the same old story of them not being good enough to put away the top clubs. The 8-2 thrashing at Old Trafford to their bitter rivals Manchester United a few seasons back, the 6-3 destructions at the Etihad and at Stamford Bridge last season etc etc. But this time it wasn't them with the blushes on their cheeks.
Whether this was just a one off performance from the Gunners is yet to be seen. It would come as no surprise if we see Arsenal play extremely poorly next time around, simply because we are not used to the north London side showing any signs of consistency.
The game against City certainly showed glimpses of a new Arsenal and a less naive Wenger. One thing is for sure, if they continue to perform as they did Sunday evening, they can forget about top four and start aiming higher.
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