Going into the last game before Christmas, Arsenal faced title-contenders Manchester City at the Emirates on Monday night and it turned out to be a wonderful night as the North London club emerged victorious courtesy goals from Theo Walcott and Olivier Giroud with Yaya Toure pulling one back late in the game for the away team, but the Gunners hung on and kept their second place in the table.
Pre – game team update: Alexis Sanchez was expected to make it to the bench following a hamstring injury that saw him out of action for three weeks. But youngster Jeff Reine-Adelaide filled up the void.
Petr Cech – 7.5/10: Disappointed for not have gotten the PL record for the most clean sheets by a Keeper, but was solid at the back stopping whatever City threw at him. Couldn’t do much about the goal as Yaya Toure placed it perfectly. Huge presence at the back. The Czech International will now look up to the Post-Christmas games for that record.
Hector Bellerin – 7.5/10: Guarded his wing well and occasionally got forward. A fine performance by the 20-year-old. As the games go by, it seems to be like he’s getting back into his form that was dented a little by the injury.
Per Mertesacker – 7/10: Solid at the back with Koscielny; also did more than well to track back and force De Bruyne into a shot after his centre-back partner was left up the field. Kept his cool and lead the team.
Laurent Koscielny – 7/10: A poor decision left the back open when he was left in the middle of nowhere and De Bruyne got a 1v1 against Per. Apart from that, was rock solid and pushed forward. He’s been doing this at least once every game to probe an opening and that’s how the movement for the first goal was initiated when he passed to Mesut Ozil.
Nacho Monreal – 7/10: The Spanish International once again proves why he’s among the best-left backs in the Premier League with performances like these days in, day out. Was comfortable throughout and did well going forward.
Mathieu Flamini – 7/10: Defended well and didn’t seem to rush into the risky tackles he is usually known for. Did superb to contain David Silva and not give him a chance to impact the game. Seems like the NME Award has done him some good.
Aaron Ramsey – 7.5/10: Partnered well with Flamini in the midfield and turned down his attacking instincts by a notch until we got the lead. Should have really scored at least once when he found himself one-on-one against Hart, twice. Should have tracked back for the goal. Otherwise, did well to keep the team ticking and made his presence felt since the first whistle.
Joel Campbell – 7/10: Although not among the crazily skillful attackers that Arsenal are known to have, the Costa Rican checked all his responsibilities by going forward and defending well. Put in a good number of tackles. He should have scored too, of the two chances that fell for him. Also, his movement kept Walcott onside for the goal as he took a defender along with his run.
Mesut Ozil – 8.5/10: Two more assists for the German taking his assists tally to 15 in the league. He gives more than assists to the team. He gives control in possession up the field. It was clear that the Gunners were pushed back after he was substituted, as we could not push the ball out to somebody who passes like he does.
Theo Walcott – 8/10: A skillful crafty finish from outside the box for the goal. His finishing has improved this season. Defended better than he often does. His runs in and out of the center caused a lot of trouble for City’s defenders. Games like these will make him a better contender to Giroud for the center forward role.
Olivier Giroud – 8.5/10: Coolly slotted between the feet of Joe Hart, for what was his 15th goal of the season. Always willing to hold up play and made himself available during the last quarter of the game at the front. The Frenchman is proving his critics wrong by the day.
Alex-Oxlade Chamberlain – 6/10: Was given a good 20 minutes to make his presence felt in the game. Didn’t impose himself much than one good pass to Ramsey in the clear. Needs to improve.
Kieran Gibbs – 6.5/10: Came on in the last 15 minutes to cover for the left-wing. Could have defended better.
Calum Chambers – N/A: Came on for Walcott a minute before the injury time.