The North London derby on Sunday between Arsenal and Tottenham ended in a one all draw with goals from Harry Kane and impact substitute Keiran Gibbs deciding the game.
There were a number of talking points from the game, and we would look at a few.
1. Arsenal should be dreading the day Flamini leaves
Flamini was expected to join Galatasaray this summer, but the move never materialized, looking through this season, Arsenal would be thankful it didn’t.
The Frenchman has been one of the best squad players around, and most importantly as he showed in the game against Tottenham, his versatility will be of tremendous use to Arsenal during this injury crisis. The veteran came on for a shaky Santi Cazorla and stabilized the midfield, before later slotting into right back when Debuchy could no longer continue.
2. Alexis Sanchez is not a machine
Last season, Alexis Sanchez high endurance level was highly emphasized with some even comparing him to a well-oiled machine. But this season has shown he is not a machine.
A long run of games in two continents has seen the hardworking Chilean completely exhausted, so much so that against Tottenham he was out of ideas, which is something strange for the normally crafty Chilean. With two more games waiting for him during the international break, if hopefully, he comes back unscathed, he would need to be rested for at the very least, a game, else we risk losing him like we did Ramsey.
3. Santi Cazorla needs a rest
The little Spaniard has been an ever present in the team and seemed invincible to fatigue. But Sunday evening showed otherwise. He was completely disoriented in the first half, giving the ball away way too much, and losing almost every battle against the opponents; Wenger mentioned after the game that he was dizzy even though he wasn’t sick.
That screams fatigue, for a player who is about to be involved in two more games again during the international break. Wenger needs to find a way to get him some rest. Best option would be to return Ramsey to that position for a few games, while Santi gets himself again, because an injury to the Spaniard would be catastrophic to the team, to put it mildly.
4. Francis Coquelin’s National team omission is a blessing
Following Coquelin’s form this season, it’s has been expected that he gets a call up to the French senior national team; but so far it hasn’t been forthcoming.
For the sake of Arsenal’s season, it is a blessing that it hasn’t come yet. With a squad riddled with injuries and seriously fatigued players, every chance to rest any player is vital. And what better player to rest than a player who doesn’t have a suitable long term replacement.
While most of the team will be coming back more tired than they are now, it’d be nice to have a fully rested player in the squad. Time is still on Coquelin’s side, more excellent performances with a well-rested body will put him in good stead for a major tournament, but for now, Arsenal needs him more.