Alexis copies Bergkamp, Cech awesome, BFG back, Ozil and Theo purr: 8 Postives from game

Leicester away will always remind me, and I am sure many more Gooners, of the wonderful Bergkamp hat-trick back in 1997 at Filbert Street. Who does not remember Bergkamp’s third, a goal Dennis believes to be his best ever? 18 years later, it is Alexis who hits the net trice in Leicester, albeit in a different stadium. It was the well-earned fruit of his hard labour, good positioning and great hunger for goals. The Alexis hat-trick will not be remembered anywhere near to the Bergkamp one, but the Chilean’s one might be a defining moment in our season nevertheless. To win the PL we need our strikers to be hot and we need our goals to be shared between them all. We all know that we needed Alexis to start scoring again to lift the weight off Ollie and Theo’s shoulders; and today he answered his (few) critics with an empathic display and three fine goals.

Eight positives from the game

  1. This was in a way another cup game. It certainly was played like one. The game was incredibly open and both teams wanted to attack, attack and attack. Between the teams there were 42 shots on goal, with 19 (12 for Arsenal) on target. Leicester had nothing to lose and were definitely not going to park the bus; and we had been given a great opportunity to close the gap with the Northern Oilers who had lost earlier in the day to the Spuddies; so the team were up for it. And the team ‘being up for it’ is my first and main positive. We fought like lions and even going one behind early on did not affect us negatively. We only have to look at the Chavs who did not manage to match the home side’s desire and energy to win today, resulting in dropping two very costly points.
  2. All our strikers scored today and Ozil and Arteta produced the key assists. The one thing that has been missing is Arsenal scoring enough goals. Today we doubled our PL tally in one go, and with Olympiakos and MU coming up next, this is just what we needed.
  3. Without Le Coq, and Santi more drawn to attacking than defending, we looked vulnerable at the back at times, whether it was with Flamini or Arteta as our DM. Luckily, our CBs were in great form, with the BFG being very glad to be back in the first team. On top of that, Cech was very alert and as calm and in control as I have seen him in an Arsenal shirt. They did not prevent two fine goals by Vardy but did enough in this open game to bring home the three points.
  4. Ollie the super-sub? The Giroud haters may well get their wish, but not all teams will play this open; and against the PtB teams we will still need him to crack them open. I am warming to the thought of Theo starting games as our CF, though, and OG does well coming on later in the game. If we tell ourselves that he will miss the first big chance but will take the second one (usually less easy), it will save us a lot of unnecessary anguish.
  5. Wenger took real joy in his team’s performance today. Having been in the job at Arsenal for so long, it is still great to see that he celebrates our key goals like one of us.
  6. The FBs, Bellerin and Nacho, were once again great in supporting the attack. They are so important in our system in terms of providing thrust and width.
  7. With all the movement in front of him, Ozil was purring, especially in the second half. His assist for Sanchez’s second was sublime. But Theo’s constant movement and running was also very special today. They were both in their element today and provided a lot of space and movement for Sanchez to shine more than anybody else.
  8. The final ‘positive’ goes to the engine, our Welsh Rolls Royce. Ramsey, supported by Cazorla and Ozil, is key for our transitions and his reading of the game and interceptions, combined with his fabulous running, are soooo important for the success of the team. It is a shame he is not scoring at the moment, but let’s not forget the enormous amount of dirty work he does for the team.

These are my eight positives FFGs. Bring on the Greeks!

By TotalArsenal.

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27 Responses to Alexis copies Bergkamp, Cech awesome, BFG back, Ozil and Theo purr: 8 Postives from game

  1. Scott Von Gooner says:

    Agree with most except for Ramsey. He not a wide player and Wenger has him trying to play as a wide mid. Not really his fault but is not a good dribbler and trys to be. Bad positioing especially late when we are up ( goes forward to much) I would rather have Ox there or Walcott. Great performance by Arsenal today. Fun game to watch.

  2. Randel Hope says:

    Agree with everything except Ramsey part. Ramsey has been off the boil for some time but Wenger will play him no matter what. I think today was his first time to be substituted for. He will not play a position is can be found all over the pitch. He is a real unbalancing act. I wish the OX would play on the right for a while. That would really make the team purr. A

  3. njk84sg says:

    TA,

    Great prompt game review.

    Yes, Alexis’ second goal is the definitive of the game. For the second game in a row we were playing free flowing footy , and against a team that plays free flowing footy, we beat them in all departments.

    Ollie is more than the super sub. He is the person in the box. The final goal is very Giroud-esque, and did we see Alexis do a Bergkamp before his hat trick goal?

    Keep the goals flowing as we have yet to hit top gear.

    Cheers,
    JK

  4. Tj says:

    Chamberlain needs to replace ramsey, and we are good to go

  5. Pony Eye says:

    TA,

    Loved the game, love your post. Goals galore! The regression ( or is it the progression?) has started in full swing. COYG!!!

  6. Pony Eye says:

    TA,

    End to end stuff. Loved the game, love your post. Goals galore! The regression ( or is it the progression) to the mean has started in full swing. COYG !!!

  7. TotalArsenal says:

    Morning FFGs 🙂

    I am not sure some of the commenters above get the role Ramsey plays in our team. For me, he is the connector of lines and is key to the team. Also, the longer he plays the better he gets. And don’t be surprised if he scores the winner against the Mancs… 🙂

  8. Admir says:

    Hello, people! 🙂

    TA, I simply love this connection of our last hat-trick at Leicester and the one of Alexis yesterday. 🙂 If for nothing, it’s how that season panned out. 🙂

    I’ve said it many time before and I will repeat myself: I believe Theo should get the nod ahead of Giroud, especially against parked buses as long as Arsene persists with Cazorla, Ramsey and Özil in the same line-up. Walcott’s movement is better than Ollie’s and his pace leaves space for Özil, Rambo and Cazorla to exploit, not to mention he is a perfect outlet for through balls. He took his goal well yesterday with his left foot and was constant menace to the opponents.

    Giroud did well after coming in and scored his second goal as a super-sub. It’s much easier for him to play against tired legs. His execution was swift and sweet. Too bad Ollie won’t be facing Oly on Tuesday, he would have banged a couple at least.

    Our creative department (Santi and Mesut) did brilliant job yesterday and with our Spanish full-backs playing like they did yesterday the only possible outcome was La Fiesta. 🙂

    Our defending left a lot to be desired though. We were vulnerable to Vardy’s qualities and we were lucky not to concede his header at 1:0 for The Foxes. Mertesacker didn’t look capable of handling him and lack of a human shield in form of Francis Coquelin in front of him didn’t help either. We were vulnerable through the middle and Čech made a few stunning saves (his save just before Vardy’s second goal was awesome).

    I hope Coquelin won’t be risked against Olympiacos. I think we should see the Greeks off even without him. Our game against the leaders Manure next Sunday is much bigger than the one in Champions’ League on Tuesday.

  9. Hi TA, Very nice match report & set of positives…Easier when we put up a big number, no doubt. I’m sad that so few are choosing to comment after such a win, but so it goes… Given the “space” to fill, maybe I’ll go point by point.

    #1: I’m never sure how people evaluate the sense of fight or spirit of our team match upon match. To me, it seems highly correlated to the result or the goals scored. If things go against us we lack spirit and visa versa. To me, if anything, our players tend to “want it” too much at times. This, I think, is a function of playing for a manager they respect–one who shows faith in them and one they (desperately, at times) want to repay. Ranieri, has the same thing going with his Foxes (at the moment), so this type of effort was exactly what we needed and what we got. It should also be noted that playing conditions (pitch, weather) were perfect yesterday for a goal-fest.

    #2 I like goals too. We could’ve scored a lot more, in fact, Ozil really wants one but remains unlucky.

    #3 Flamini hamstring injury–on top of Le Coq’s knee left us leaky in defending against this pacey team. When did the injury occur and how long did Mathieu hobble on? He might have already been compromised during that pivotal moment when they almost doubled their lead. Instead, we leveled, breaking forward to score off their ball which came off the corner of our post and crossbar. Vardy looked dangerous–early and late, but Okazaki and, notably, the player of the season thus far, Mahrez, didn’t. Did they have off days or did our boys stifle them? Like up in #1, it probably depends on where your sentiments lie. I’ll give credit, esp. to Nacho and Kos, who cover very nicely for each other and seem to know when to attack the ball and when to force the player elsewhere through positioning.

    #4 I believe both Ollie and Theo can come in as subs and get cheap (glossy) goals against already beaten teams. (When we really need goals is more of a worry…) Obviously, I expected LC to play more conservatively (see match preview…) but I can see why they went for it from the start after giving up first half goals in their previous two matches. It played right into our hands, of course. If Theo is going to start he needs to stay onside early in matches. Giroud probably gets the nod vs Olympiakos now, but I agree, goals will not hurt him. More, more, more, I say…

    #5. Of course AW is fully invested in his team. His belief in this group is very strong (as indicated in his resistance to buying over the summer) so winning with a measure of flair is very rewarding for him. I’m not prone to blame his personal issues on his love for the football, but, clearly, for better or worse, he is (extremely) married to his job and his club.

    #6. The FBs got 3 assists vs (only) 2 from the rest of the squad. I love our Spanish FBs and would like to note that we finished the match with 4 guys from that country on the pitch. Alexis seems to understand them too… 🙂 Entonces… Venga, Vamos (Vale), eh… 😀

    #7. Choosing to run against us is a suicidal strategy, esp. with Theo in the team. Of course, had we gone two goals down, Claudio’s plan might have looked better. If we’d gone to the HT break behind, Ranieri might’ve brought in Inler and others to try and hold a lead. In an open match, Ozil is gonna make lots of chances for his teammates. He (and we) should’ve actually scored more.

    #8: Observers who are fixated on starting positions will never be happy with AW’s Arsenal. The manager gives his players freedom to create rather than strict assignments which might help to keep the pitch spread. Ramsey on the right, but abandoning that spot, works very well (see 2nd half of last season…) but others have to move too. More serious watchers realize that Ramsey is playing in a free role due to his awesome ability to run and run and run (and then run some more) AND his improving sense of how to play in different parts of the pitch. Now that Alexis is back in the goals we look far more dangerous; when Rambo starts getting his, look out… This (again) is why LC deciding to run at us (and play a high back line) lwas a very risky strategy. It should be noted that Rambo’s free role is made possible by Bellerin being able to cover so much ground and Mertesacker generally being in the right spot through his slow, but very calm and very astute, positioning. It can lead to trouble (see Vardy’s early goal), but Ramsey tends to get into good defensive positions too where his work is much improved over earlier years. By contrast, where was Ox late on when the Foxes caught their (too little too late) 2nd wind and scored the late goal? We lose a lot when Rambo is not in the team, IMO.

    So that’s my point by point… Thanks for the post match posts, TA. Please keep them coming even if the response seems minimal. I think Gooners have a bit of “pressure fatigue” so they are not prone to write much after positive results. On top of that, around here, we’ve got lovely Autumn weatherr to enjoy when a 3 o’clock match ends at 9 in the morning…

    😀

  10. Admir, A couple of questions…

    Why doesn’t Giroud play on Tuesday vs Olympiakos? Seems to me that we’ll go back to a group similar to that which played at Spurs, except with Santi in for Flams and maybe Gabby back in for one of the CBs. We’ll keep the bench very (very) strong, in case we need goals… Jo-el Camp-bell should be able to give us the low down on his former club… perhaps with some of the other Spanish speakers helping to translate… 😀

    My hope is that Le Coq can play–at least as a sub–on Tuesday. If he’s healthy enough to start the match, all the better. IMO, he needs to learn to glide through some easier matches and help control them by through positioning rather than (his somewhat high-risk style of) play-making. I agree, however, that we missed him yesterday, esp. during those first twenty mins…

    I think it’s important to remember that AW is very cagey with the information about player fitness he gives to the press and public. My hunch is that Le Coq could’ve played yesterday, but, given the success Flamini had at Spurs, he was given the extra run. That idea backfired (old hamstrings maybe need more time to recover)…but it doesn’t (necessarily) mean that Le Coq’s knee is in trouble…

    We’ve argued about this stuff in the past, of course, and that’s not my intent today… Just pointing out that the info we get isn’t always perfect so twisting it (to condemn or laud our fitness team or other parts of our management) seems capricious… at best…

  11. JM says:

    Giroud will serve his 1 match ban (sent off @ Zagreb).

    6 match officials from the Eredivisie (note officiating style from that league could subconsciously apply) will cover the match vs Olympiakos (1 match referee, 2 linesmen, a 4th official and 2 additional assistant referees positioned alongside each goal).

    The main man is Bas Nijhuis (FIFA listed since 2007). Notably, he sent off AZ Alkmaar goalkeeper Esteban Alvarado for self-defense against an Ajax supporter who attacked him on the pitch in 2011 during a KNVB Cup match.

    4th official – Mario Diks.

    The two additional assistant referees, Danny Makkelie (FIFA listed since 2011) and Kevin Blom (somewhat controversial referee)

  12. Oops, Cheers JM, forgot about Giroud’s red card at Dinamo…

    Thanks also for the notes on the refs…

    You always list the 4th official is these brief posts of yours, do you believe they have an influence on the matches? Perhaps they advise at halftime, maybe? Can the main ref actually counsel with them (by microphone or otherwise) during play? Just curious…

    Any thoughts from yesterday?

  13. JM says:

    4th official help manage technical areas and substitutions, can advise his main colleague on the happenings on the bench and touchline, e.g. of managers, coaching staff, players warming up etc. When necessary, they prompt the match referee to give marching orders to staff in the technical area for any unruly and unprofessional behaviour.

    During play, they help with keeping a backup record of the score and cautions/send-offs, in that substitutions are carried out correctly (else a caution to player is warranted) and also assist in time-keeping of the match (conversation with match referee via microphone earpiece and holding up the electronic display). They might act as an extra pair of eyes and notify the match referee on any off-the-ball incidents on the pitch as well.

    Basically, the 4th official is also the standby referee and might take over from the match referee should the situation arise.

    =============

    Good win away at Leicester. Not too much fuss about it since 2 biting home matches come quick this week in the CL (get some pts on board before the pair of matches against Bayern) and PL (against current leaders Man Utd.)

  14. TotalArsenal says:

    Excellent comments, Admir and 17ho. Not sure why we are talking about referees for the next game, when we just played a fab one… OGAAT also counts for reviewing games..

  15. TotalArsenal says:

    Admir, Theo’s movement and running often looks harmless against proper PtB teams. To be effective he needs space to run into which he is often denied. He also struggles with holding on to the ball in tight spaces. Giroud is a lot more effective in these situations.

  16. TotalArsenal says:

    Nice point by point comments, 17 and all agreed. 🙂

  17. njk84sg says:

    Guys,

    We should start looking at playing Alexis up front, without Giroud. Joel playing against his former club?

    Cheers,
    JK

  18. TotalArsenal says:

    Wenger is likely to play his strongest team as he usually does in the CL at home. It’s a big sponsor event and we also need the three points badly. Furthermore, the game with Mancs is five days after the CL game so plenty of time to recover. And…..we have some momentum going.

    Anyway, have a good day and keep trucking! 🙂

    TA

  19. TotalArsenal says:

    The site just reached 2500000 viewers by te way, in just over three years: so hip hip hooray! 🙂

  20. Gerry says:

    Morning all. I am a bit late coming to this, partly because I have only seen what ‘Match of the Day’ showed. So thanks for the review TA, it helps makes sense of the game overall.

    The BBC pundit said Alexis was back to his best of last year, but from what I saw, that looked better than last year? Remembering he is listed as a midfielder, not a striker, and I thought he played his role really well. He passed early to colleagues rather than trying to do it all himself. In a strange way it seemed to give him more space when he did have a go.

    On their side, what little I saw of Mahrez he looked like he was trying to hard to impress?

    The guys did what I said they needed to do, that is score at least 3 goals, and ultimately that was the big difference, from even our previous winning games, let alone the ones we have lost…
    No thoughts coming away from this game that the same old problems are still present …?

    Except on of course. Another injured DM. I said it would be a mistake playing Flamini :OOPS:

    That is all I can add.
    OGAAT it is then ….
    Cheers

  21. Gerry says:

    Quarter of a million! That is one big milestone, TA. Congratulations.

  22. Gerry says:

    Told you my eyesight was bad : D Make that two and a half million!

  23. njk84sg says:

    Congrats TA and 17ht,

    2.5 million views since its inception. Wow that’s something worth celebrating.

    Cheers,
    JK

  24. Prince says:

    Congratulations Total,
    hope your well, brother.. as always, love your work.

  25. allezkev says:

    That was a nice read Total…

    No Arteta or Flamini tomorrow probably means Coquelin playing.
    Not ideal imo, as I’d rather save him for the Mancs, but there ya go.

    Does the injuries to MF and MA point to them not being up to 2 games a week?
    I’m not saying that they’re past it, but they aren’t 25 anymore and the rigours of top line football takes its toll…

    It leaves the squad a bit thin in that dept…

  26. Admir says:

    Congrats, TA, what a great milestone! 🙂

    In theory, you’re right regarding Ollie and Theo. In real world, as the facts and stats since April prove, it’s Theo who should be regarded as our leading striker.

    @Gerry – I dare to say that Mahrez is over-rated. He is going to be a Michu v2.0, in the best case scenario.

  27. 17highburyterrace says:

    Agreed, 2.5 million views seems good! Hopefully we can get ourselves a couple more with a…

    New Post!

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