Depending on who you were talking to last night Arsenal either grabbed the one point that will probably be enough to give them a Champions League place or dropped a pair of points which will let their London rivals back in the race.
To be fair The Gunners were a tad unfortunate. Had Olivier Giroud had his shooting boots on or Alex Oxlade Chamberlain shot rather than passed when coming in on goal from the right they might have nabbed all three points.
One thing was very clear though – they posed much more of a threat after the reshuffle which saw Wilshere and Walcott replaced by Podolski and Chambeerlain. But it wasn’t those two players’ contributions that made the difference – it was Santi Cazorla who sparkled in the middle of the field, rather than on the left where he had been playing up until then.
Of course Everton legs, which had done an amazing job of constantly pressing the Gunners, were tiring. But I think yesterday provided more ammunition for those who think that Cazorla needs to start in the middle with Podolski on the left.
Arsenal seem to have more balance and are more direct in this formation. It does beg the question though if Cazorla is in the middle, where does Wenger play Wilshere? It was another quiet-ish game for the England starlet as he tangled with a very physical Everton team intent on controlling the middle of the field. There were touches of the Wilshere of old, but the player is still clearly not entirely fit.
The Mail yesterday also ran the stats that Arsenal win 55 per cent of games when the midfielder is missing and 51.9 per cent when he plays.
I wonder if Wenger will keep the Spaniard in the centre for the game against Fulham and leave Wilshere out?
It does strike me that the key problem that Wenger has had this year has been how to get the best out of his new signings and especially how they can complement his existing core players. There is a huge amount of work to be done over the summer.
By Ashley | April 17th, 2013