Szczesny form no surprise to Wenger
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger believes the improved performances of Wojciech Szczesny this season are down to the Polish goalkeeper's growing maturity.
• Cross: Ox's timely return
Szczesny has been a central part of a stable and solid Arsenal defence that has been the cornerstone of their push for the Premier League title, with the Gunners' 10 clean sheets the best in the division, leading Wenger to suggest that lapses in concentration are being eradicated.
“Certainly a part of his improvement is mental because he’s more mature,” Wenger told Arsenal's official website. “His decision-making is cleaner, sharper, quicker. He was always a very talented boy, but because he’s intelligent he learns quickly from experience.
“I’m happy that I always gave him the confidence because he’s developing very well into a very strong goalkeeper and today certainly nobody would question that he’s one of the top five goalkeepers in the Premier League.”
Defensive qualities have rarely been the stand-out feature of Wenger’s sides in recent years, but the Gunners boss believes his back four and keeper Szczesny are proving the platform for the flair players in his side to shine, especially at Emirates Stadium.
“That defensive solidity of course is the basic work you have to do to be efficient at home,” he added. “Maybe what is even more important is to have that solidarity at home because it gives you time to fatigue your opponent, time to stretch them, time to dominate them and get the game completely in their own half. The longer that lasts the more you have chances to score.”
Meanwhile, Santi Cazorla has insisted the healthy collection of potential No. 10s at Arsenal complement each other, as he claims his combination with Jack Wilshere, Tomas Rosicky and Mesut Ozil is effective even though they are all playmakers.
“Ultimately it’s easy to connect with guys like Wilshere, Rosicky, Mesut and all the players who play in the centre of the park,” Cazorla, whose two goals handed Arsenal a home win against Fulham last Saturday, also told the club's website. “Plus, I think that our style of play is ideal for me, Rosicky and Mesut as we’re players who enjoy linking up in tight spaces. From there, the results take care of themselves as we are enjoying ourselves.
“We’re all different. For example, Jack is a very strong player who grabs the team by the scruff of the neck, which is impressive for a player of his age. Then you have Rosicky, who is a direct player who likes to change the speed of the game. He likes quick moves and breaking down the defence with a forward run.
“On the other hand you have Mesut and I, and we are quite similar in certain areas of our games but he has a different philosophy to me. He enjoys the freedom of being the main, central attacking midfielder that sits behind the forwards, whereas I enjoy the freedom that playing wider gives me to cut inside.
“Each player is different and the good thing is we all complement each other. We’re all comfortable playing with each other.”