So, apparently there was a power shift in North London… Well it doesn’t seem like that after the weekend.
As a result of possibly our most convincing win of the season against Tottenham on Saturday, we sit just a point behind them with them very much in our reach.
In that performance though, unlike many times this season where the candidates for man of the match would be between three or four players, this week is a lot more difficult to decide.
From Petr Cech in goal, to Alexandre Lacazette up front nobody really put a foot wrong all game as the players finally looked showed the quality as a team everybody knows they have, but only get to see on rare occasions.
At the top of the AOL trio many people would’ve expected Lacazette to get himself on the scoresheet but even though he didn’t score, he still had a very notable performance.
Whether it was making a darting run off the last man in the Spurs defence, intercepting misplaced back-passes on the press or combining with others worked well in the game.
Showing what else he has in his game, it all came together for him when his well-timed run was fed by Hector Bellerin before he unselfishly squared the ball for Alexis Sanchez to score.
Sanchez was also a notable performer on the day. Instead of throwing strops and the usual things you’d expect from him we got focused performance. He wasn’t trying to be the star of the team and Arsenal as a team benefitted from that.
Don’t get me wrong, we still got our skillful, confident Alexis Sanchez but that attitude was just channelled in a more positive way.
From heading across Davison Sanchez to win the free kick which lead to Mustafi’s goal, to getting that goal for himself, Sanchez had a solid game which was topped with that belly slide towards the end of the game.
Next up are the two big performers from Saturday, Mesut Ozil and Shkodran Mustafi. Both had outstanding games but one of them just edged it for me.
So the runner up for me is Ozil. The German was simply unplayable and yet again has put in another top drawer performance for Arsenal. However, a lot of people have made out that a lot of what he done on Saturday was for the first time which isn’t the case.
Yes, we know what we get from Ozil going forward and we got it again as he notched his 45th Premier League assist since arriving in 2013 for Mustafi’s header, but here’s what else we got from him.
In short, what he’s been doing over the last couple of weeks on a much larger scale.
Yes, we know Ozil isn’t the most defensive minded player but since returning from the previous international break, his defensive efforts from the front have been a lot more evident.
Away at Everton we saw him pressing his opposition defenders and winning the ball back high up the pitch which was continued even up to the loss at City. Saturday’s game just saw him execute that on a much more important stage at a better rate.
We saw him tracking his runners and win the all back various times but that also couldn’t happen without the front three all putting in their shifts which doesn’t always happen. So hopefully we get more of the same from AOL on a more regular basis.
Finally, as you know now, my man of the match was Mustafi. Making his first Arsenal appearance since October 1st it was almost like he’d never been gone.
Most importantly, he did his job at the back with his only fault being a yellow card. Playing in the centre of the three, he was very much the last line of defence and when called upon he took control of his situation. Whether that was standing up Kane and exhausting his options or blocking the striker’s shots he was always there.
His game then came together a few minutes before the break. Managing to lose his marker at a free kick he then expertly directed his header back across goal for it to fly past Lloris. The perfect way to mark his return to the side, especially after his disallowed header against Chelsea.