A double from Santi Cazorla against a struggling Aston Villa side hade has handed Arsenal, and Arsene Wenger in particular, some much needed respite after a difficult season for the Gunners.
The north London outfit currently sit in fifth position in the Premier League, but after a week in which they were the victim of a FA Cup upset and a battering from Bayern Munich in the Champions League on Tuesday, the supporters and many of the media outlets from around the country have been on the backs of the Arsenal staff.
It was a hugely anticipated game, then, when they welcomed the Midlands side to the Emirates, and they can be happy with the way that they dispatched Paul Lambert’s men and kept the heat on neighbours Spurs, who sit directly above them.
The tiny Spaniard’s low drive in the sixth minute gave the Gunners a welcome lead, but when Andreas Weimann hit an equaliser from distance with just 20 minutes remaining, it set up a nervous ending for the hosts. As the tension cranked up, the determination to grab a winner did the same and the relief around the ground was obvious for all to see when Cazorla swept in the decider with just 4 minutes left to play. Speaking about the victory to BBC, Wenger said: “What is most difficult is not the critics, it is that we lost the last two games. I am not here to lose games, I want to win. What hurts me the most is that we lost to Blackburn at home and Bayern at home.
When people come to the Emirates Stadium, they are not to go away with wins. All the rest concerns me less. I am not 30 years in this job at the top level and going to be destroyed by people saying I don’t know what I’m doing. I have been in this job a long time and what is important is that we have responsibilities and we have to stand up for them and get the team ready to go into the next game ready to fight.”
With Wenger in fighting spirit, and the players with a boosted morale after the three points from their latest outing, fans of the club will be going into next weekend’s derby clash with Tottenham with just a smidgen of hope. If you fancy the Gunners to repeat the 5-2 victory they came away with in the reverse fixture of this one, or you think the pressure is too much for the wily Frenchman to overcome, then calculate your odds and win yourself some pennies.
Arsenal fans seem to be split over whether Arsene Wenger should remain at the helm of the club and continue his search for silverware, or whether he should call time on his lengthy tenure at the club and allow an added zest that would come with a new manager. However, one thing is for sure, if Arsenal want to succeed in their search for trophies then they will all have to pull together and power through the struggle that they currently face.
Where do you stand Gooners? In Arsene we trust, or in Arsene we rust?