Five things we learned about Arsenal against Tottenham

Arsenal marched on with a clean sheet in their North London derby victory on Saturday.

Arsene Wenger’s men booked their place in the fourth round of the FA Cup, dispatching rivals Spurs courtesy of strikes from Santi Cazorla and Tomas Rosicky.

Following are five things we learned about Arsenal in the 2-0 win...

Serge Gnabry ready

Everybody was well aware of the promise held by the 18-year-old, but Saturday’s display translated potential into production. It was only his eighth appearance of the campaign and Wenger will be inclined to grant him more minutes given his performance. The German youngster’s increased inclusion, should he maintain form, could be like having made a new signing in the title run-in.

Perfect without Mesut Ozil

The club record signing returned to the fold today with a late cameo, but match had already been decided by his introduction. Arsenal won each of their last three without him in the starting eleven, scoring a total of five times. Whilst the Gunners will be happy to have him back, the positive results gleaned in his absence bode well for the future. If they are forced to cope without him again there will be no fear, as over-reliance hasn’t been bred.

Walcott happy up front

Theo Walcott looked liberated up top in Olivier Giroud’s absence. There’s no doubt anymore he’s effective there, as he gave plenty of trouble to Vlad Chiriches and Michael Dawson with typically incisive movement. The question of whether the England international should be placed in the lone striker role exclusively, however, remains unresolved.

Thomas Vermaelen still quality

We’ve hardly seen the Arsenal captain this term with Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny in prime form. Yet, he still looked sharp against Tottenham and showed he has plenty to give to the Gunners’ cause. An injury that required substitution was a disappointment, but the maiden 45 minutes said plenty about the quality still in Vermaelen’s boots.

Multiple competitions not a problem

Arsenal are top of the Premier League, into the last 16 of the Champions League and potentially on the verge of a cup run with Saturday’s win. Fitness issues continue to mount with a heavy fixture list, yet the Gunners continue to succeed. It may be too early for supporters to dream of multiple pieces of silverware but the possibility remains real.

images: © wonker, © michael hilton

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