rsenal raised a few eyebrows in January when they signed only Jorginho and Leandro Trossard to strengthen their title bid. But the pair’s influence in Saturday’s 1-0 victory at Leicester underlined the big role both players could play during the run-in.
Jorginho and Trossard were two of Arsenal’s standout performers, as the Gunners secured a win that keeps them two points clear of Manchester City at the top of the table. Arsenal can extend that lead to five when they host Everton on Wednesday in their game in hand.
It promises to be another significant night in the title race, and one of the biggest dilemmas for Mikel Arteta will be whether he keeps Jorginho and Trossard in his starting XI.
After going four games without a win, Arsenal have now won two on the spin, and their January signings have played a key part in steadying the ship.
Questions were asked when the Gunners missed out on their top targets — Brighton midfielder Moises Caicedo and winger Mykhailo Mudryk, who joined Chelsea. Jorginho and Trossard, however, have hit the ground running and are ending talk of being panic buys.
“We were very clear what we wanted to do, we could not do it and we had to adapt, in the window you have to be able to do that, not feel sorry for ourselves,” said Arteta. “And I think everybody, from owners to the board, they were really strong in trying to do what we have to do and we were first there to get the options we wanted.”
The benefit of signing Premier League-proven players has been clear to see, as Jorginho and Trossard have slotted into the Arsenal team. Jorginho, in particular, has made a strong start by bringing a controlling influence.
In seasons gone by, Arsenal may have rushed back Thomas Partey and started him at Leicester after he had been out for two games with a thigh injury.
Jorginho’s fine form, however, meant Partey was able to start on the bench and come on for the final six minutes. In the Ghanaian’s absence, Jorginho ran the show. The Italian made more passes or tackles than anyone else, and also had the most touches.
“He’s a great player, we saw that from the first day when he came here,” said Arsenal captain Martin Odegaard. “He brings a lot of quality, he’s very calm on the ball, finds the right passes and dictates the game. He’s won a lot of things, brings that mentality into the team and helps the young players.”
Trossard also caught the eye and was unlucky not to score. The Belgian fired the ball into the top corner in the first half, but VAR spotted Ben White had fouled goalkeeper Danny Ward in the build-up.
He still had a hand in the winning goal, though, latching onto a long ball and nutmegging Harry Souttar to play in Gabriel Martinelli to score. It was a move that capped off a fine afternoon for Trossard, who impressed after Eddie Nketiah was dropped to the bench.
Trossard gave Arsenal a different dimension, coming deep to receive the ball and drifting wide. His fluidity unleashed Martinelli, who has struggled since Gabriel Jesus injured his knee at the World Cup. “He (Trossard) is so good in small spaces, with his creativity to open people up,” said Arteta.
Arsenal now feel like a squad with options, after looking so short on them at the start of January.