Wenger is Winning: Arsenal Grab Vital Three Points at Selhurst
Arsenal did just enough to squeak out three points verse Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park.
The Gunners relied on Danny Welbeck's athleticism and industry, as the former Manchester United player was the difference maker in the build-up to both goals, helping secure a vital three points that catapulted the team back into the top-four.
Wenger was engaging in an audience with Pope Francis the day Welbeck was signed, and was reportedly a bit player in securing his talents, but he'll be thanking the heavens above that the deal did in fact go through, as despite a meager goals tally thus far, the former Red Devil has contributed in a multitude of different ways that aren't always visible on the score sheet. Arsene Wenger is the big winner from the weekend.
The French manager is answering many of his critics after an injury-plaugued start to the season was widely ridiculed by fans and pundits alike.
It was just two months ago that Wenger was booed by his Club's own supporters, as he boarded a train after the admittedly disastrous display against Stoke City.
But since the start of the calendar year, Arsenal have won eight out of ten matches in all competitions and are a team brimming with confidence, as they look to move forward domestically and in Cup competitions.
It has been shrewd business in the transfer market, a player taking and making the most of an opportunity, along with key personnel returning to full-fitness that has been central to the second half resurgence.
When all players are available, the depth of Arsenal's attack is lethal, as few sides can boast he same assortment of riches when it comes to creative midfield artists.
Theo Walcott was not engaging in hyperbole when he said this new attack is better, or at least on par, with that of the Invincibles.
Real Madrid may be the only side in world football that can break quicker on the counter.
Additionally, the signing of Gabriel Paulista was a fantastic bit of business that cannot be overlooked. The young Brazillian has the potential to blossom into a world-class player for the Gunners, and having three bonafide central-defenders during the upcoming heavy fixture-list means that Wenger can avoid those make shift back-fours that saw the likes of Nacho Monreal and Matheiu Debuchy fill in as understudies.
It has now been three plus weeks since Charlton Athletic's captain Johnnie Jackson was quoted as saying that Arsene Wenger may have saved himself 30 million pounds by giving Francis Coquelin one last shot at making the grade; few could argue with the Red Robin's skipper as the one-time castoff has been the most outstanding ball-winner in Europe over the first month-and-half of 2015.
His ability to win tackles and intercept passes at the decisive moments has helped Arsenal out of the mire and into contention.
Wenger will no doubt consider himself a bit lucky when it comes to Coquelin, as the player struggled to break into the first team after several opportunities, but he will also point to the fact that he signed the player back in 2008 for a reason, and he never gave up on him, just as he has done with so many youngsters who have come good under his charge.
Call it serendipity, call it what you will, Coquelin may have solved big time problems for the Gunners that will allow them to play with a natural no. 6, no. 8, and no. 10 in the coming seasons.
All signs point to Matheiu Flamini being shown the door and Mikel Arteta getting one more year at the Emirates.
Like it or not, Gunners' fans appear to be stuck with Arteta for one more season.
However, there are reasons to be optimistic.
Coquelin will allow Areteta to play as a no. 8, his true position, the role he thrived in for Everton FC.
Arteta was never a viable no. 6; he only played one on TV.
With Coquelin's newly discovered form, the Spaniard can now re-focus on creating, as a traditional box-to-box midfielder designated to still help defend, but to focus his waining energies on switching the point of attack, being the fulcrum who sits deep to gather possession and spray it wide to the likes of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Alexis Sanchez.
A big question for Wenger next season, will be who he plays as the no. 10.
Dollars would suggest Mesut Ozil.
Logic and results indicate that it should be Santi Cazorla.
The future will be interesting, but for now, sitting 3rd in the BPL, with a heavy-weight clash against Manchester United looming on the horizon in the quarter-finals of the FA Cup, and a favorable draw against Monaco in the last 16 of the Champions League, Arsene Wenger's stock is on the rise.
The Premier League's longest serving manager is enjoying a rebirth at the helm of of AFC; a rediscovered standing amongst his peers that even Charlie Sheen would dub as 'winning'...