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Welbeck celebration

So onto Welbeck, his ability to force chances is incredible. He did so recently at Crystal Palace when he won Arsenal a penalty. Yesterday his closing pressured Valencia into a poor back pass. But it wasn't even that short. Most strikers would not have scored from that position but Welbeck sniffed a chance and sprinted after the ball before de Gea, poked the ball around him and scored into an empty net

As for Arsenal, I felt we were still carrying the Monaco result a little with us during the first half, that as well as the home sides direct approach. Chris Ramsey's team were hitting the front players as early as possible in an attempt to win knock downs. A bit on the old fashioned side, a little be 1980 but each to their own and all that. I thought Per Mertesacker coming back into the team performed really well at competing and winning headers. I was intrigued to see how the Gabriel/Mertesacker partnership would fair, unfortunately I didn't get to watch very much of it as our new Brazilian centre back has settled so well, he has already picked up the Arsenal injury curse

The two biggest calls were Gabriel coming in for Mertesacker and the second was the non selection of Theo Walcott. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain who has been out for a while with injury returned ahead of our speedster. Arsène had noted pre match that his offensive players had to be strong at both ends of the pitch and if you can't then you don't play. I couldn't help but feel that was directed at Theo when I saw him sat on the bench. I took a bit of stick on Twitter when I mentioned Theo's lack of desire to close the ball down during the Hull City match

Just as frustrating on the night was our finishing. Oliver Giroud will not have another night like he did last night again. Everything went wrong for him and that is a shame because he has been in excellent form of late. It felt like every negative action impacted on the next one and it continued that way until he was replaced for Theo Walcott. It was typical of our evening when Theo had a chance to score but his shot hit the diving keeper and the ball fell perfectly for Danny Welbeck to tap into an empty net but his shot hit Theo on the floor who prevented a certain goal. A goal at that point and the tie could have looked very different this morning.

I thought Mesut Özil showed some very classy touches and it's a shame we could not use him as much as we could have if we had to force the game. The German had a swagger about his game and looks really confident in his game at present. Long may that continue. We defended the inside of our penalty area very well. Ospina, Mertesacker, Koscielny and Coquelin had dealt with everything thrown at them. How many times have we played Chelsea and Manchester United in the past and had all the ball yet were kept at arms length? The

Arsène has regularly been criticized for being too rigid in his approach to games but I'm not sure that is justified criticism, especially this season. We've played a number of systems, playing different styles of football. Yesterday we played a fun attacking 4-2-3-1 with Mesut Özil moving back into the middle but it was not at the expense of Santi Cazorla, the player of the second half of this season played in the number 8 position. It's a central pairing I've wanted to see all season but didn't think I'd see it happen very often. Perhaps that explains the choice of the two hard working wide attackers

Looking at the selected line up and the approach to the game, I can't help but feel that Arsène wanted to scrap the approach that must have frustrated him against Tottenham. Defending deep and counter attacking was replaced by a high line and a team packed with creative goodness. Arsène has always been a front footed manager, a manager who has taken his teams to Milan, Madrid amongst other places where English sides have not won before and then took the game to those teams, outplayed them and won. Rightly or wrongly, that is what Arsène Wenger is about and you get the sense that whenever his team plays conservatively, he is not truly comfortable with it all

  • 15 Sep 2015
    So let me stop reminiscing of days gone by and let me focus on our Welsh wonder. Let me start off by saying that I think it is quite obvious that Aaron Ramsey is better in central midfield. His partnership with Mesut Özil, his running from deep and his underrated ball winning ability makes him a ...Read more