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Arsenal have often been slated for blowing chances served on a silver platter, but when it mattered the most, they rose to the occasion as they drubbed Aston Villa 4-0 on the final day of the Premier League campaign.
Olivier Giroud bagged a hat-trick, and skipper Mikel Arteta enjoyed a fairytale ending to his Arsenal career with an Arteta-esque stunner.
Here are the five talking points from the Gunners’ emphatic win.
The Olivier Giroud dilemma continues
Arsenal started the game on the front foot as Olivier Giroud found the net just five minutes into the first half. However, their momentum dipped as he was witnessed making redundant touches that killed his side’s counter-attacks; the stadium and manager Arsene Wenger were visibly nervous until he doubled the lead on 78 minutes.
The Saint Totteringham’s Day celebration commenced as soon as he guided a low cross from Hector Bellerin past Mark Bunn, thereby completing his hat-trick. His performance on Sunday night typified his time at the club as moments of absolute brilliance followed those of total frustration.
His season record is even more baffling as his non-penalty goals-per-90-minutes ratio (0.56) is better than Jamie Vardy, Harry Kane, and Romelu Lukaku. In fact, only Sergio Aguero (0.76), who narrowly missed out on the Golden Boot this season, boasts a better record.
With the manager confirming Arsenal will definitely sign three players in the summer, one has to wonder what role the Frenchman, who went 15 games without a goal, gets next year.
Arsenal reigns supreme in north London
Tottenham Hotspur were tipped to buck the trend and finish above Arsenal for the first time in more than two decades; they were even branded as title favourites for the better part of the season.
However, a late slump ensured that the north London battle went on until the final day of the season.
The Lilywhites needed just a single point going into their Saint James’ Park clash but ended up succumbing to a humiliating 5-1 defeat. Twitter erupted, and Wojciech Szczesny even celebrated Saint Totteringham’s Day by uploading a video of him singing to Instagram, whilst every other Arsenal supporter rejoiced in his own way.
Season of ups and downs for Petr Cech
Much like Arsenal, goalkeeper Petr Cech enjoyed a season of ups and downs. Many pundits lambasted him in light of his subpar performance at Etihad Stadium; however, with Sunday’s clean sheet — his sixteenth this season — he has won the Golden Glove though he may be forced to share the award with David de Gea should the Spaniard manage a shutout against Bournemouth.
Despite him collecting the prestigious award, the London club should not flog David Ospina as the 33-year-old former Chelsea custodian seemingly has difficulty dealing with long-range efforts.
An emotional evening at Emirates Stadium
Arsenal parted ways with three veterans in Tomas Rosicky, Mikel Arteta, and Mathieu Flamini, who have 638 first-team appearances amongst them.
Although their departures reduced the players and the Emirates Stadium faithful to tears, those should be seen a sign of progress younger players and potential first-teamers, who can be more of assets than liabilities, could fill their shoes.
Granit Xhaka has reportedly agreed to sign for Arsenal whilst the club could also name impressive Jon Toral in the 25-man Premier League squad.
Team morale non-existent at Arsenal
Although Arsenal ran away 4-0 victors, team chemistry was a major concern as two or more players were often seen going for the ball only to let the opposition steal possession.
Communication was almost non-existent as evinced by the incident on 55 minutes, which saw Alexis Sanchez block a cross that Jack Wilshere could have converted; the Englishman did not react kindly as he angrily commanded the Chilean to communicate better.
However, the players can be forgiven, as they had not played together much prior to the Sunday’s game.
Written by Praveen Paramasivam
Follow Praveen on Twitter @49Praveen
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