Arsenal prove themselves against a rival
Going into this game, Arsenal’s eight match unbeaten run was being treated with some suspicion.
Yes, the Gunners hadn’t lost since August, but they had only played the likes of Crystal Palace and Brighton, while their most emphatic performances had come at home against underperforming sides in Aston Villa and Tottenham.
But going into an away trip to a side that will undoubtedly be a rival for a European spot and the end of this season, there could be little argument that this was the biggest test of Mikel Arteta’s side’s recent run.
Just 18 minutes in and it looked that Arsenal were well placed to pass it thanks to goals from Gabriel and Emile Smith Rowe which topped off a sublime start.
Brendan Rodgers’ side simply couldn’t cope with the intensity and fast start of the Gunners, and it wasn’t until just before half time that the Foxes grew into the game.
The second half though showed a different kind of test for Arsenal who were asked to show the defensive side of their game after exhibiting their efficient attack.
The backline stood up to it though and gained yet another clean sheet. Asked if it was the most complete performance he had seen from his side the season Arteta admitted at times it had been up there.
“In some phases of the game, probably yes,” he said when asked if this was up there with the best he’d seen.
“Because of the opponent we had in front of us and to come here is tough. I’m really pleased with the courage we showed from the beginning, to be dominant and to impose the game we want to play.
“And there were moments where we had to suffer, they came at us, they changed formation, created some issues.
“We had to dig in and needed some big individual performances to get through those moments. Then we were able to get control and could obviously score the second. In general, I’m really pleased.”
The result lifted Arsenal up to fifth at the end of the match, meaning that the Gunners are looking well-placed for a Europa League push.
With Manchester United’s poor form and Arsenal’s continuous improvements that could even be a Champions League challenge.