Three games, three doubles, three players. This success is not just any good series of matches but also symbolises the momentum, form and confidence that Arsenal currently possess. Once again, Arsene Wenger’s squad went for a win away from home against a rough Cardiff City team.
The Gunners went through a very tough match, but took the initiative in the first period, before undergoing a strong spell of pressure from Cardiff at the beginning of the second half. A strong spell which lead to…an Arsenal goal, before the ultimate “banderille” finally scored in dying minutes; Aaron Ramsey.
It’s a victory which confirms a leading position of four points ahead of second-placed Chelsea. A place and a logical advantage in relation to the beginning of Arsenal’s season that has included a brilliant November that has in the past so often sounded like the death knell of hopes for the Gunners. But this season, everything is different. Arsenal found their height of strength was in the mid 2000s: the confidence and mental strength. This is the winning formula of this 2013-2014 Arsenal.
Among the main positives from Saturday, in my opinion, was the standout performance of Mikel Arteta. Many people were hesitant about the capabilities of the Spaniard to take the defensive midfield role. His match against Cardiff will definitely put everyone at ease. Besides his stats on duels away (21 50/50 duels, winning 62% of them), his defensive performance was incredible, as shown in this table by FourFourTwo.
These are the elements that epitomise the playing strength of the captain. Gunners attributes: top-quality passing, laterality, but we must now add a remarkable defensive solidarity. Just note the number of successful tackles and the number of interception to understand the pivotal role of Arteta in Gunner’s ammunition. Jack Wilshere, Ramsey, Arteta, Mathieu Flamini, every Arsenal defensive midfielder knows how to run forward with efficiency (look Flamini’s goal against Cardiff), but Arteta is the only to dedicate his play in an exclusive defensive way. Surely, an invaluable player each and every Gooner should thanks.