Six reasons for Arsenal’s recent improvement – Tottenham beware?

first_img 6 6. Ospina’s organisation – It’s a little unfair to turn the knives on Wojciech Szczesny due to a handful of sub-par performances, but the Polish international’s complacency and lack of command in goal has been highlighted even more with the efforts of David Ospina. Not only has Ospina’s handling been largely excellent, his concentration and calming influence in goal has resulted in some sterling defensive displays. 6 4. No more high line – Click the arrow to see more reasons for Arsenal’s improvement – Arsenal are not playing as high a line as they have previously and this was certainly prevalent against Man City and also noticeable the week before against Stoke. The result has had two effects, one unquestionably more beneficial than the other. The first is that Mertesacker’s distinct lack of pace is not as exposed and the other is that Arsenal’s full-backs don’t have as much licence to storm forward. While that wasn’t as evident in the recent hammering of Aston Villa, with Hector Bellerin showing his effectiveness in the opposition half, it has been in Nacho Monreal, who is arguably much better defensively than Kieran Gibbs. 2. Gaining confidence without the ball – Click the arrow to see more reasons for Arsenal’s improvement – Perhaps the most noticeable aspect of Arsenal’s recent impressive 2-0 victory over Man City was the gulf in possession between the two sides. For years the Gunners have tried to control the tempo of the game and play their way through teams, similar to Barcelona, but against City they seemed comfortable without possession. They have confidence they can keep their opponents at bay and a knowledge that when they do pinch the ball, Arsenal have the quality in their ranks capable of instigating an instant counter-attack, something the Gunners have lacked for a while. 6 6 The last few weeks have seen a change at Arsenal, with the Gunners unquestionably enjoying their finest run of the season.Since New Year’s Day’s damning 2-0 loss to Southampton, Arsene Wenger’s side have emerged a completely changed beast, and as such have embarked on a five-match winning streak, across all competitions – conceding just two goals and scoring 15 in the process.It looks like Tottenham need to be on alert in the north London derby at White Hart Lane, despite the Gunners having to do without Alexis Sanchez.But what are the reasons for this sudden change? Click the arrow above to read six possible explanations.Arsenal fans, what do you attribute the improvement to? Comment below… 5. The Coquelin and Cazorla effect – Click the arrow to see more reasons for Arsenal’s improvement – Over the last two years Santi Cazorla has been shifted out wide, and while he is clearly talented, who knew playing in a central, deeper position would allow him to utilise his full strengths? Well, it appears as though Wenger wasn’t aware until now, with the Spaniard breathing new life into the Arsenal midfield in this role. Throw in the regimented efforts of Francis Coquelin, who excels in breaking up play and suddenly Arsenal look and play in a much more efficient and effective way. 3. Return of injured players – Click the arrow to see more reasons for Arsenal’s improvement – Ok, so it’s easy to say the return of top class players will improve a side, but it certainly has helped. Perhaps the most important return has been Laurent Koscielny, whose presence alongside Per Mertesacker was one of the reasons why it took Arsene Wenger so long before begrudgingly bringing in additional support at the back. Elsewhere, Olivier Giroud’s return as a focal point of Arsenal’s attack line cannot be underestimated, neither can the Frenchman’s unheralded defensive work. 6 1. Accountability – Click the arrow to see more reasons for Arsenal’s improvement – One of the biggest catalysts for the change in performance has been Arsenal’s change in mentality. It would be unfair to say the players simply didn’t care about their so-called crisis, but following a team meeting headed by Per Mertesacker, it seems as though there is greater accountability within the club’s ranks for what happens on the pitch. That is immediately more noticeable in the efforts undertaken by everyone in the team, from the attacking players involving themselves in defensive aspects and those in the middle ensuring they don’t disappear during matches. 6last_img read more