Well, what a game that was. Emotions were all over the place in what was a rollercoaster of a second half but hey, now we all see why Arsenal are selected to be on TV in these big games.
The first half was much better than expected from us and if it weren’t for Thibaut Courtois somehow flicking an Alexis Sanchez shot onto both posts, we would’ve been 1-0 up.
Thankfully though, one of our better performers put us ahead in the second half. Jack Wilshere doesn’t score too many goals, but when he does, they tend to be special. Smashing the ball home from quite a tight angle, in off the post, topped off an industrious night for him.
Since we’ve seen him return to the side, Wilshere has shown us that he still has that burst of pace to evade challenges as well as his great passing range but yesterday he showed us something else.
He showed us that he still has great fight in him. Not once did he hesitate to go in for a tackle, even if it meant catching ex-gunner Cesc Fabregas, but he did what was needed in the middle of the park.
Someone who also played quite well yesterday was Hector Bellerin. This season hasn’t been his best, with the last time he 100% impressed me being at Stamford Bridge this season, but last night he showed he’s still got it.
He finally did what every Arsenal fan screams at their TV for him to do in taking on his opposite number and beating them for pace which was nice to see. On the defensive side of things, he did well for the most part, making tackles yer da would be proud of.
The penalty he conceded was by no stretch of the imagination a penalty in my eyes but by putting his foot out there, Bellerin did give the referee a decision to make.
However, he did well to bounce back from that with a great curled finish to bring us level in added time.
My man of the match for last night though, was Ainsley Maitland-Niles. The 20-year-old who was our only option at left wing back last night has continued to impress on every chance he’s given.
Defensively he hardly put a foot wrong. In one-on-one situations he was a rock as he kept Victor Moses so quiet he ended up being taken off. It wasn’t just in the tackle (he won 6/8 attempted tackles) where Maitland-Niles impressed though as when receiving the ball in tight spaces next to the touchline, he was very comfortable on the ball showing how his trade of being a midfielder can help him out wide.
The youngster did make one mistake in the match though which unfortunately he was made to pay for. A Zappacosta turn saw him too slow to react before the substitute crossed the ball for Marcos Alonso to knock home.
Other than that though, Maitland-Niles, like he did against against Liverpool, showed that he can put in a great performance against some of the league’s best teams, even when out of position.