After Arsenal's 2-2 draw against Manchester City today, here are five things we learned.
Today presented Arsenal with their biggest test of the season so far; a home game against Manchester City, who won the Premier League title last season. Arsenal had famously floundered in the big games, particularly lunchtime kick-offs after 6-3, 5-1 and 6-0 defeats to City, Liverpool and Chelsea respectively last term.
This time, Arsenal can count themselves unlucky to have come away with just a point. They did fall behind after Sergio Aguero's first half goal, but strikes from Jack Wilshere and Alexis Sanchez turned the game around to hand Arsenal the lead, and based on their second half display, they deserved it.
Yet the Gunners fell asleep from a corner and Martin Demichelis ghosted in to score the equaliser, with Wojciech Szczesny called into action late on to prevent Edin Dzeko from grabbing a dramatic winner. A point was probably a fair result over the course of the 90 minutes, and here are five things we learned about Arsenal today.
Mesut Ozil is not a left sided midfielder
It was obvious against Everton, yet Arsene Wenger persists with it. Playing Ozil out on the left hand side was once again a disaster, as the German failed to offer defensive support to Nacho Monreal and couldn't impact the game in attack. By confining him to one side of the field, Ozil is restricted when what he really needs is space to operate in - something he would've been given as a No. 10 with Danny Welbeck pushing the defence back with his pace. Wenger must see this and change the system immediately to accommodate his £42.5m playmaker.
Danny Welbeck could be the striker that Arsenal needed
It wasn't the perfect debut, but Welbeck showed flashes of what he can do on his Arsenal debut. His pace was a constant threat to Vincent Kompany and Martin Demichelis, and that was evident in Welbeck's biggest chance of the game. The former Manchester United striker was played through on goal, and lofted a deft chip over Joe Hart - only to see the ball cannon back off the post. With more luck, the 24-year-old would've notched a beautiful debut goal, and he looked like he could well be the man to give Arsenal the extra impetus up front.
Mathieu Flamini should be replaced
Much like Ozil's deficiencies out wide, we once again learned that Mathieu Flamini isn't good enough if Arsenal want to become a title contender. The Frenchman offered little in front of the back four and completely fell asleep as Sergio Aguero waltzed through to score, and always seemed a second behind City's attacking players. Mikel Arteta would largely suffer the same problems, meaning Wenger must look to bring in a more athletic holding midfielder in January - such as William Carvalho.
Jack Wilshere could have turned the corner
The England international has come in for a lot of criticism this season, but a light seemed to flick on today. Granted, Wilshere was poor for 60 minutes again but all of a sudden, we caught a glimpse of what Wilshere can do. With quick feet he danced away from an oncoming City defender before lofting the ball over Joe Hart, and then he laid on the assist for Alexis Sanchez's goal. His creative spark seemed to reappear, and with confidence back in the midfielder, this could be just what Arsenal needed.
Nacho Monreal hasn't taken his chance
After Kieran Gibbs was sidelined with a hamstring injury, it presented Spaniard Nacho Monreal with a big chance to shine having generally played second fiddle to Gibbs. Yet in his time in the team, Monreal has disappointed, failing to offer much going forward and looking suspect defensively - especially against the pace of Jesus Navas today. Once Gibbs returns, the England international is likely to claim back his place in the team after Monreal's underwhelming performances in his absence.