Arsenal showed the mentality of champions as the Barclays Premier League leaders increased their gap at the top of the table to seven points with a 3-0 away victory at Cardiff City Stadium.
Wojciech Szczesny – 9/10
Every time Wojciech Szczesny has been called upon in recent weeks, he has come up with the goods, and the same was the case for Arsenal vs Cardiff City.
The Poland international made four saves against the Bluebirds in red, but one of them was absolutely world class – diving with lightning reflexes to save a low Fraizer Campbell header.
Bacary Sagna – 7/10
Bacary Sagna got forward well in the first half, with his pace and stamina typical of the modern full back. After the break, he held his position intelligently.
Kieran Gibbs – 7/10
Kieran Gibbs has declared his ambition to be more effective in attack, and this was illustrated when he was found in the Cardiff City box to have a first time shot in the first half. It was wayward, but it showed that there is more to come from the England international.
Gibbs was often outnumbered on the Arsenal left, but his impressive pace meant he was able to scramble back to cover.
Per Mertesacker – 8/10
Imperious and positionally sound. There are few better organisers of a defence in the Premier League, and few better in the timing of a tackle.
Laurent Koscielny – 8/10
When Per Mertesacker was unable to cover, Laurent Koscielny was there – the perfect foil to his taller and more robust partner in defence.
Koscielny made a number of interceptions, stepping in front of Cardiff attackers at the last second to nip the ball away just before they received it.
Mikel Arteta – 8/10
Arteta is not typically considered as effective or aggressive a defensive midfielder as Mathieu Flamini, but it was the Spaniard that Arsene Wenger chose to anchor his midfield at Cardiff.
His captain paid him back with a great performance as shield to the back four, making seven tackles – more than any other player on the pitch.
Aaron Ramsey – 9/10
Returned to his former club in deadly form. Aaron Ramsey is a reasonable shout to be declared the best player in the Barclays Premier League this season, along with Luis Suarez, and with superb finishing, deft dribbling and accurate passing he gave the perfect midfield performance today.
Jack Wilshere – 7/10
Jack Wilshere again started on the right, but was everywhere at times. The England international struck the woodwork with a brilliant curling shot early on, and combined with the Arsenal attacking midfield triumvirate well going forward in the opening period.
In the second half though he was quieter, and though he put in a fine defensive shift, with Arsene Wenger managing his midfielder’s fitness well, it was little surprise to see him taken off after 80 minutes.
Mesut Ozil 8/10
Simply decisive. Arsenal fans are discovering that Mesut Ozil can drift in and out of games, but the German works harder than he is given credit for, and is always available as an outlet for his team as they burst forward.
Ozil’s vision was in true evidence today as he set up both Arsenal’s first two goals before going off to a standing ovation.
Santi Cazorla – 7/10
Bustled around and dovetailed with the rest of Arsenal’s attacking midfield trio, but still has work to do before he can be declared back to his mercurial best.
Olivier Giroud – 7/10
Provided a focal point to the Gunners attack and occupied the Cardiff City defence well as ever, but struggled to find service as the hosts sat deep in the first half and pinned Arsenal back for much of the second.
Nacho Monreal – 7/10
Nacho Monreal has been tremendous for Arsenal, and would be first choice left back for most teams in the Barclays Premier League.
The Spain international is brilliant at helping the Gunners see out games, with his positional discipline and intelligent possession retention a greatly valuable asset for Arsene Wenger to be able to call upon.
Mathieu Flamini – 8/10
Performed his defensive duties well, and upon seeing the opportunity to get forward, Mathieu Flamini finished emphatically from Mesut Ozil’s through ball.
Probably scored because he had full sleeves.
Theo Walcott – 8/10
Even though it appears absurd to award Theo Walcott a mark when he was on the pitch for less than five minutes, the England winger provided an assist and stretched play wonderfully.
The perfect player to bring on as an impact sub when the opposition are chasing a goal.