Giving Santi Cazorla the reins in the middle of the pitch isn’t such a bad idea. No Jack Wilshere, no Diaby (as usual), no Theo Walcott. Arsenal were just fine. In a match that was about scoring and creativity, there was no problem filling the midfield with players who do just that, giving Arsenal one of their few truly fun to watch wins of the season.
Maybe it’s Reading’s style that brings out the goals and style from the big teams, like it has before against Arsenal this season or in their match vs Manchester United. Maybe it’s just Arsenal feeling confident enough with Cazorla as the play-maker, and not some over-hyped England “wonderkid” who sometimes cancels out his teammates by simply being a bit too much on the pitch, trying to do everything at once.
Fun was probably the key word, creating 26 attempts at goal while being 3-0 up by the time Reading remembered to score a goal against a defense that isn’t exactly one of the best in Europe or the British Empire. Aaron Ramsey continues to be wasted by playing wide roles instead of in the middle where he is much more useful, but when the wingers you have are semi-strikers while the rest of the midfield pretty much sits on the same position, you have to sacrifice one lamb. Better it be the least talented of them.
Cazrola had a great start to the season, and then faded away, like Arsneal’s defense, once Wilshere came back from his year-long injury. Now he’s thriving again, as the Gunners look in excellent form entering the most important stretch of the season for them, still chasing Tottenham and Chelsea for that final Champions League spot.
It’s funny that Olivier Giroud is finishing the season as the more reliable forward than Lukas Podolski, who continued his career’s nosedive with Arsenal despite glimpses of promise earlier in the season. Giroud has reached double-figure scoring with 10 goals in 29 matches for the club. Even Gervinho, as Arsene Wenger remembered him once there was no other option, is going to look back at 2013 and say it was a better time than what Podolski has to hang on to.
Not the mightiest of foreign forwards a top team can wish for, but when the midfield it ticking, even they manage to look good.