5 reasons for Gunner's steel

5 reasons for Gunner's steel
Arsenal's French manager Arsene Wenger.

The meek may not inherit the Gunners after all. Having taken just one point from a possible 21 in the city, Arsene Wenger finally got that Manchester monkey off his back. For once, the Gunners were warriors against the big boys. Here's how they suddenly got so much better.

1 Coquelin gamble pays off

Daft Punk and Wenger have something in common beyond their nationality. The Frenchmen got lucky on a global stage.

Injuries forced the Gunners to recall Francis Coquelin from his loan spell at Charlton Athletic. The 23-year-old midfielder had already been farmed out more times than a three-legged turkey at Christmas and struggled to stake his claim for a first-time slot behind Aaron Ramsey, Jack Wilshere, Mikel Arteta and Mathieu Flamini.

Short of alternatives, Wenger threw in Coquelin against a City side without Yaya Toure and the bold move worked.

Coquelin hounded Fernandinho and Fernando and harassed his own teammates.

City missed their inspirational Ivorian, but even Toure would've been forced to shift gears to match Coquelin's staying power.

He ran relentlessly between Arsenal's two banks of four, relaying information and linking the lines like a tenacious war-time messenger.

City failed to cut him down, leaving themselves exposed in No Man's Land. More impressively, Coquelin ordered those around him to track back and replicate his heavy industry.

From making up the numbers at Charlton to barking at World Cup winners, Coquelin has come a long way quickly.

If he lacks Arteta's artistry, he offers greater defensive protection - a priceless asset.

He has played eight times for Arsenal since his recall, winning six, drawing one and losing just a single game.

Wenger's sides are so often designed for glamour football, as if a scuffed knee or a dirty shirt goes against their purist principles. In Coquelin, they've founded a competitor committed to grunt work.

Wenger chose to twist and the gamble paid off. Now he must stick with Coquelin.

2 Tactical tweak pays off

In recent years, Wenger's stubbornness left Arsenal performances resembling a nature documentary about flamingoes.

Gloriously captivating in their pink plumage, the pretty flamingoes went about their business of being easy on the eye, as if being beautiful was enough.

And then, a couple of tigers turned up to rip them to shreds, spitting out chunks of meat across the African plains.

That was Arsenal against just about anyone above them in the table.

Carnage became commonplace. After years of stepping over the corpses of rotting Gunners, Wenger finally got the message.

He stopped thinking like a vacuous supermodel and realised there was more to life than being pretty.

He plumped for an unusual 4-1-4-1 formation that clearly caught Manuel Pellegrini off-guard.

Coquelin's hard work and Santi Cazorla's enterprising display certainly helped Wenger, but Arsenal immediately became tougher to break down.

The move begged the obvious question from exasperated supporters: Why can't we always do this when we visit the title challengers?

There can be no going back for Wenger now.

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