Spaniards Save the Day
It was a typical nerve-wracking day at the office for Arsenal, in a game that appeared to be a sure win, the Gunners struggled to put Aston Villa away but thanks to a little help from some Spaniards, Arsenal was able to dig in and earn the hard fought win. Although, Arsenal worries are many, it was important to see a side willing to give there all for a much-needed win.
The pace of the game was intense from the start and that was apparent when Santi Cazorla found just enough space to slot a shot past two Villa defenders and into the net in the 6th minute. Both teams were creating chances and the game was end to end for most of the first half. Arsenal had the better of the chances but were struggling to find the finishing touch as usual. Arsenal’s biggest weakness was actually their desire to attack, which found them down on numbers when the Villains broke to counter.
Villa conceded a corner in the 68th and managed to clear it up the field to a breaking Andreas Weimann who had three attackers with him and Arsenal found themselves defending a four on three. No one closed down the ball and Weimann struck from 25 yards out found the corner. Despite the poor defense, Szczesny came up with a very poor effort between the sticks. After making some strong handed saves to hold on to the lead, Szczesny got two weak hands to the slow moving shot and it skipped off his fingers to find the net.
Arsenal continued to press forward and threaten. Aboud Diaby took a knock in the 61st and was replaced by Aaron Ramsey. Diaby has been injury prone throughout his career, so hopefully it was nothing more than a stinger. Wenger showed he was still looking to press with an offensive substitution when Lukas Podolski came on for Carl Jenkinson in the 76th minute. Arsenal continued to threaten and Olivier Grioud’s header forced a great save from Brad Guzan in the 80th minute that was tipped off the crossbar. Another clear chance came to Podolski late in the game but he let the cross go past with out making an effort.
In the 84th a nice ball over the top from Jack Wilshire found a streaking Ignatio Monreal down the side. Monreal slotted a cross to the penalty spot to find a wide open Cazorla who slotted home his second goal. Monreal solidified his already impressive performance with a perfect cross to find his fellow Spaniard and to give Arsenal the much needed win.
Santi Cazorla reached a milestone by reaching double-digit goals in the campaign for the first time in his career. He looked strong in the midfield and his effort paid dividends giving him 11 goals in the league this year. The last player to reach this milestone in their Arsenal debut season was Thierry Henry. There are still concerns with Arsenal’s defense but it was important to see a strong collective effort to get the three points today. This puts them in fifth place just one point behind Tottenham who is headed to West Ham on Monday.