Ozil dictates like a captain, Monreal MOTM, Giroud is back, Alexis the daredevil: 8 Afterthoughts!

Three big, fat, juicy away-points fought for with blood, sweat and tears; and they were well deserved in the end. The boys did us proud today and showed us all their bounce-back-ability. Clearly, we are missing sharpness upfront, and once this comes our way we will put these sorts of games to bed after 20 minutes. At times, our combination football was breath-taking, literally and figuratively. I love our ability to create chances, both when the opponent park their bus and when we turn them over in our own half. There is a good balance to the team in this respect, but we just need to add that little bit of composure to our final ball and chance-conversion. It will come but in the meantime we need to grind results out, and that we did all right!

Some will point out that we were lucky, and yes we were. Le Coq could have received a double-yellow red card and Wickham was unlucky not to score at the start of the second half – did the presence of Cech win us a few points today?

With Cazorla playing next to Francis, and the FB bombing forwards so aggressively, there is a lot of pressure on the Frenchman to keep things tight; and his game is all about having presence, for which he needs to be physical in a composed way. Like many other players, Le Coq is still searching for the right balance and he will have learned a great deal from this game. We will need him to be at his best against Pool in eight days, and luckily the referee, Lee Mason, realised that the fouls he made were, in total, not worthy of a sending off (and I agree with Wenger that his only yellow card was a bit harsh in the first place).


Giroud and Sanchez (with a deflected goal from a daredevil header) made the difference in attack, and let this be the first game of many in which our deadly duo collectively find the net and win the game for us.

And our defensive play…. Needs to tighten up rapidly…

Eight observations from the game:

  1. Monreal has been the player of the season so far for me. He has hit the ground running and offers a brilliant balance between defensive and attacking duties, which is so vitally important in the system that we play. He is always available as an outlet and does not waste any time in going forward and offer added thrust and healthy defensive aggression to the team. His final ball is pretty good too, although there is still room for improvement. But his drive and composure on the left flank add a lot to our team right now.
  2. Ozil had a great game. He offered the much needed composure but his fellow attackers were not always on the same page. I reckon Mesut is becoming a little bit more extrovert and, as such, appears to be more ‘in the game’.. there were it really matters. If he continues like this he might get the armband soon. I would be all for it.
  3. Sanchez – the Chilean mini-hulk – is back! He is still missing sharpness and on another day he would have scored a brace or a hat-trick for us. But his drive and thrust were welcome additions to our attack and the rest will follow. Let him get cool against the Pool. 🙂
  4. The triangle of Cech-Koz-BFG and square of Koz-BFG-Coq-Carzola are not working yet. The way these work separately, and in conjunction, is of vital importance to the solidity of our defensive performances. We conceded three goals out of as many attempts on goal, if I am correct, and they are all related to not playing as a tight, ‘in-tune’ unit, which is a worry at the moment. Ward’s daisy cutter was very well executed and I reckon Cech was not at fault this time, but we gave this opportunity away too easily. There was no support from the second deeper midfielder and Koz was left exposed; and something similar happened for the second Hammers goal. I hope we can find our defensive solidity before we meet the Scousers on the 24th!
  5. The crowd – home and away – were great. What an atmosphere, with great responses to all the key events of the game by both sets of fans. An advert for the game.
  6. Arteta brought the much needed composure at the end of the game. He read the play very well and made some important interceptions, helping us see out the game.
  7. Ollie is on the score-sheet with a well-taken goal. It was a great ball from Ozil from the left wing – good proof that our system does not necessarily need a proper winger anymore – but OG had a lot to do with the ball slightly behind him. Dare I say it: Bergkamp would have been proud of such a finish! Ollie worked hard and his presence and link up play in the middle was key to us creating so many opportunities.
  8. The Ox added fresh legs and was a constant menace to the CP defence, and with a bit more luck could have been on the score sheet.

So fine fellow Gooners, plenty of positives from a game in which we started off with some scintillating football and finished with grit and determination. That is the old and more contemporary Arsenal in one for you! Bring on Pool. 🙂

By: TotalArsenal.

20 thoughts on “Ozil dictates like a captain, Monreal MOTM, Giroud is back, Alexis the daredevil: 8 Afterthoughts!

  • I believe that our energizer bunny is what makes the difference.

    His brute force approach makes us more mobile in attack and he is the motm for me.

    Monreal is the one who thrives under Alexis, not Santi or Rambo. On the wing. The difference is that Alexis holds on to the ball and passes accurately. Santi and Rambo loses the ball under pressure.

    I am not disputing your motm TA, its just that I am having a different view.

    I am happy that Alexis is not played the full 90 as he is visibly tired when he came off. But how reluctant he was when he had to come off. That shows that even though he is tired he still wants to help the team. That is the difference between a good player and a great player.


  • And regarding Ox, he almost gave 2 goals away due to his lack of defensive capability.

    His teammates were quick to shout at him on both occasions and apparently the second time it happened it knocked some sense into him and he tried his best to help out in defense.

    I am not saying his attacking instincts are bad. I am saying that his defensive play needs more work.


  • And guys, the most talked about topic right now: should Le Coq be sent off for a second bookable offence?

    The second one looks like a dive to me but I will leave my comments open.

  • Thanks for that Total…
    I enjoyed your post very much, especially as I only listened to the game on the radio.

    I worry that Coquelin could be heading for a suspension, quite soon.
    I hope that Arsene has contingency plans for that scenario.

    Do you think that Arteta can do the job, still, in Coqs absence?

  • Interesting observations on Monreal, Total.

    I thought that he was our most outstanding defender last season, even at centre-half…
    He is such an intelligent player, I can see him playing well into his mid to late 30’s.
    I hope he does eventually sign a new contract and stay with us for many more years.

    Good to read you bigging up Ozil.
    Of course, those no- marks in the Press will continue to rubbish his contribution, but he is one of my favourite players and will continue to remain so, despite the negative whispering campaign against him…
    I only wish that he would score a few more goals…

  • Very Nice write up TA…I thought we were deserving winners but we’re clearly a bit antsy at both ends of the pitch. I think you hit on a lot of the major points, some of which I maybe wrote about during the match…Agreed that Le Coq is on a very steep learning curve and that Ozil and Nacho were outstanding. Santi also played well, I thought, after a few less than perfect final balls early on.

    The one guy you didn’t mention was Ramsey. Given a free role I thought he kept our play moving nicely and our whole attack seemed a lot more dynamic. Part of that is (obviously) the presence of Alexis, but even if the touches of those guys weren’t quite coming off there was only one MF which could be seen as dominating the other–and, IMO, Palace has one of the better and more athletic MFs of the lesser clubs in the league–they will take points from some of our rivals as the season wears on, I think.

    That said, Ramsey, all over the pitch as he was, is still a little off in choosing his final ball. One right footer looked primed for a blast but instead he tried to pass. A couple of left footers were well executed but blocked. Running the break, (and everywhere else, in fact) however, he’s taking fewer touches and playing others in nicely. It’s not quite like Santi or Ozil but if he stays at it, good things will happen. People will be crying for the Ox and Theo (as they would be today if we’d dropped points…) but I’m right there with the manager that we saw our best (fit) 11 starting the match…

    Enough for now, and all would be different if points had been dropped. The result was (by far) the most important element but other parts make this a good step in the right direction before another good test next Monday.

  • 17ht, yes all played well. Santi was back in his preferred position, play maker role and all. Ozil played better as well, and its interconnected.. you put a player who works well there and you have a team running.

    And yes were we troubled by last weeks match. We wanted to get a goal to calm the nerves, but after that goal we went to defensive mode. For a while everything was in slow-mo.

  • TA et al

    Generally in agreement and I got to watch almost all of it… in an airport but anyway…

    Ozil was my MotM but Sanchez would have been close second, and it was his shot that went in for number 2 off a defender trying to block it ..

    For me, per my comments on the day:

    GOOD: We kept width and patience where needed. More composure

    BAD: We weren’t composed or disciplined the entire game. Coq and others were guilty of over eagerness (and like Nik, second was a dive, but he had 2 bookables in there likely anyway – he/we were lucky!), trying to dribble the ball out and running too hard to no end and speculation on attack. We started well and were more consistent in the second half but… We need more disciplined patience at times with people holding to roles.

    cheers — jgc

  • Evening all,
    Nice write up skipper. Basically agree with all you wrote.
    It is very good to see Ozil clearly feeling more free and relaxed to express himself the way we know he can on the pitch. I think we will start to see the very best of him now, i hope so anyway.
    It would be a good time to give him a new contract imo

    Great result against a very tough so called easy game side, they will take points of many good teams this season, as will the west hams, Swansea and the foxes in our league.

    It was clearly time for le Coq to be subbed and some of us talked about pre match Ateta was a great man to bring on , he read the game well positioned himself very well and help us to close out the match in a calm cleaver manner.

    So very happy with the win and points.oh and great to get Ollie up and running, great finish from a player who is a top striker , i believe in Giroud. I am keen to get Welbeck back as well as i believe will see a more clinical Welbeck this and next seasons. 😉

  • Very good additional comments and mostly agreed.

    17ht, I did not mention Ramsey as I felt he had a so and so game. Great engine and runs but he lacked composure in his passing and finishing. We know he will get better the longer he plays, so I am not worried about him. And I still prefer on the right compared to Ox and Theo (in these sort of games).

    Allezkev, yes Nacho has been great for a while and he has been awesome until now.

    Geoffski, fully agreed on composure and disciplined patience.

  • I cant remember the stat, but the stat said by 1 of the commentator on Giroud goals and amount of games is good, even more so if we consider his tough start to his Arsenal days, where he took a while to find the net.

  • Giroud 107 matches 30 as a sub = goals 59

    That is strong really you might as well say he scores every other game. Plus he is still improving and hungry .
    I believe if he played every game for the club in the EPL this season then he would be 25+

  • Good summary TA! I have to say I was very impressed with Ramsey on the right wing versus Crystal Palace. With Alexis and Aaron on the flanks and our most natural goal scoring midfielders, Arsenal look much more threatening going forward. For me the right wing spot was/is the biggest conundrum going into the season. That said, if Ramsey can regularly replicate his Crystal Palace performance, he is the standout candidate for me!

  • Liverpool scraped three points this evening.

    Questionable refereeing decisions in favour of The Scousers are par for the course at Anfield, and the officials didn’t disappoint tonight it seems.

    Psychologically we should have the edge when they visit, with that 4-1 still fresh in their minds.
    Alexis and the lads should be more or less into their stride so we could be playing them at just the right…
    Nothing I enjoy more than beating that mob…

  • Jgc, read your comments on the last blog post and realised that you are watching the game from the same shore as I do.. abeit in an airport so well…

    I am not sure if our El Capitan can last the full 90.. he plays more level headed than Le Coq, and yes who is too eager to get the ball back thus resulting in fouls and free kicks.

    I was thinking… shall we put our captain back in the lineup?


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