By Coral Barry
Manchester City’s vulnerable defenders will have sleepless nights in the next week, Olivier Giroud can become a Gunners legend and other things we learned from Aston Villa 0 Arsenal 2.
Mangala will struggle against vibrant Arsenal
Arsenal have the attacking weapons to demolish City at the Emirates in their eagerly anticipated showdown in eight days’ time. Giroud coolly dispatched his 14th goal of the season from the penalty spot to bookend a memorable week while Ozil maintained his wondrous form with a brilliantly disguised pass to set up Aaron Ramsey for the second and effectively seal the win. City have won their last two matches after getting torn apart at Stoke but their defence has struggled against players of attacking quality this season. Should Vincent Kompany not be fit to return, the sense is that Ozil and friends could have a lot of fun against the likes of Eliaquim Mangala and Bacary Sagna.
Giroud has the calibre to double his 50-goal haul
Graeme Souness may not rate Giroud as a top-drawer striker, but he is the chairman of an increasingly small club. The Frenchman smashed in his 50th goal in the Premier League and has now reached double figures in the competition in each of his four seasons at Arsenal. He is a vital player for the team and has the calibre to double his 50-goal haul and bring up his Gunners’ century.
Cech on a par with De Gea and co
Petr Cech pulled level with David James’ Premier League clean sheet record today and will have the chance to become the undisputed champion in the City clash next week. Bar one clumsy grab of a Villa cross, the £11million signing from Chelsea had another impressive display today. David de Gea, Joe Hart and Thibaut Courtois might have greater elasticity than the 33-year-old but Cech has showed that he is on a par with the youthful trio.
One player stands between Arsenal and the title
Barcelona have Javier Mascherano. Bayern Munich have Javier Martinez. With Francis Coquelin sidelined until the Spring, Arsenal, er, have Mathieu Flamini. The Frenchman is an admirably committed player but Patrick Vieira, he is not. Wenger must not be blinded by three wins on the trot and the return of Jack Wilshere to ignore the possibilities of the January transfer market. Arsenal still desperately need a proven midfield anchorman. Find that player and Arsenal can be champions in England.
Campbell can be the real deal
Should Arsenal’s legion of attacking midfielders ever get fit at the same time, Joel Campbell has the daunting task of trying to keep his place. However, the Costa Rican has showed in Sanchez’s absence that he can develop into a fine player in his own right. Blessed with pace, strength and an improving ability to make the right decision, Campbell has demonstrated the qualities to be more than a fringe player. He may have dropped off a touch in the latter stages today, but was full of ideas when Arsenal were on top.