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The sub before things went wrong was a positive sign


YOU can pick almost a gazillion different reasons why we triumphed today when so often in games such as these we’ve failed. Everyone will have their favourite, whether it be a new keeper, our top centre-back partnership back together, Coquelin, Cazorla and any number of tactical nuances.

What struck me and what made me think that at 1-0 that we might actually triumph was the substitution of Rosicky for Oxlade after 66 minutes. It may have been his favourite minute but this felt very un-Arsene like. Us winning in a big game and rather than sit tight and hope things might go our way, we took the initiative. What a refreshing change. We didn’t wait for things to go wrong before making a change. And while the Ox generally speaking probably gets subbed more often than I’d like, this proved to be an eminently sensible one. Rosicky slotted in perfectly, doing wonders for our ball retention.

Beyond the obvious lauding of Cazorla, there were good performances from Coquelin and Bellerin. Coquelin I feel I have a slightly awkward relationship with. Clearly, he’s done well since coming back from loan and ordinarily I’d be hugely encouraging of any youngish player who had staked their claim in the way he has. And yet part of me hates him for giving the manager a glimmer of a get out over the situation in central midfield. And less we forget, this is a manager who only needs a glimmer for a get-out.

All in all, a very decent win. It puts us right in among the Champions League places and gets us back to 13 points off Chelsea. You can take the positive or the negative from that statement as you wish. But just as we mark the bad days, so we should mark the good days. And this was just that.


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