Team Player Theo, Ozil’s Magic, The Cech-Factor, Fans Superb, The Wall of CoCa: Eight Positives from Game

It was coming for a while. We beat the Mancs already at Old Trafford this year, but the press wanted to focus on our lack of wins against them in the PL prior to our game today. In the last twelve months we beat all fellow top clubs including Man City and the Chavs, but it appears still fashionable to portray us as too weak to beat our fellow title contenders. A shift is taken place (which coincides with our ability to finally hold on to our top players and add quality sensibly…rocket science hey?), and I guess today’s empathic victory over our modern history bitterest rivals will go some way to shut the red tops up for a while.

The mini-hulk is back, back, back!!!
The mini-hulk is back, back, back!!!

74 seconds of Gunners’ blitz, leading to two very fine team goals finished by Sanchez and Ozil, and the job was more than half done, with not even double figures on the clock. How often have we seen Arsenal play tentatively against the Mancs over the last few years: not knowing whether to go full on attack or whether to sit back and stay compact, inviting pressure on to us and handing the initiative to them? Not so today. Arsenal came out of the blocks as if they had not been fed for days. The Gunners smelled blood on the Mancs and never gave them a chance to get into the game, even though Arsenal only had 38% on average for the whole match. Although 2-0 was great, we all knew we needed a third to really feel relaxed  about this game. And we got it 12 minutes later from another blitz attack, finished empathically by our red hot Chilean.

Eight positives from VICTORY

  1. Possession where it does not hurt versus having the ball in the final third and being super-efficient: is this the new Arsenal?! How the roles of both teams have changed! Arsenal played like Red Nose’s MU and Van Gaal’s ensemble played like Arsenal from a few seasons ago. With Walcott in attack and Sanchez playing in effect as another free striker, we have bags of speed and penetration, and we play effectively 4-4-2. With Sanchez getting back a lot and helping out defence we are often in a 4-5-1 formation too; and to some extent we can say we play 4-3-3 with Ozil joining Alexis and Theo in attack continuously. It is all very fluid. We now invite the competition on to us much more, with the aim to do quick turnarounds and blisteringly fast counterattacks. Today it proved deadly and the Mancs had no answer whatsoever. Well done, Arsene.Twenty minutes of deadly football were followed by 70 minutes of composure and calm, which is, even though less exciting, equally important. It shows how mature this team has become: what a contrast with the previous eras!
  2. The supporters were great today. They really were behind the team and turned the Emirates into our true home on the day: just what the boys needed and deserved.
  3. The wall of CoCa. Coq and Cazorla were awesome today. They helped each other and especially the Spaniard impressed with his all-round midfield play. Both were at the basis of the first two goals. Le Coq won the ball back from the Mancs not far from the D with a strong physical interception from what looked like a fizzled out attack: the turnaround was instant and deadly as a result, with Ramsey finding Ozil and the German passing precisely to Sanchez, who fooled de Gea rather easily, but the execution of his side-heel was exquisite. The second one was started by Santi, with a quick forward pass to Ozil, who found Theo and then the Englishman found Ozil who slotted away very coolly. But there was a lot more to both players than initiating attacks. With their slick passing and energy as well as their excellent reading of the game, they outclassed the MU midfield. It should be said that they did not do this on their own, as Ramsey did a lot of very important running and linking up with his fellow midfielders. In fact, the whole team helped with dominating the midfield but at the base of it all was the wall of CoCa.
  4. Theo was awesome. He was ‘present!’ in this game throughout. He had two assists today and they were both a result of him playing as a team striker. His first assist for Ozil was unselfish and very well executed; the second was created with him playing with his back towards the goal whilst moving the ball swiftly on to the free Sanchez. The latter still had a lot to do, but Theo’s quick thinking and acting were key. Theo no football brain….. another red top cliché ready for the bin.
  5. Ozil is in his element. Counterattacking football with quick turnovers and fast and willing runners suits him best it seems. Ozil always plays well, always, but not many seem to see what he adds to the team, on and OFF the ball. Expect the critics to become more and more silent if we continue to play this sort of football going forward, and his magic finds willing, quality outlets like it did today.
  6. The Cech-factor. Petr was a force today. His safe just before the break from Martial’s attempt, who fouled the BFG to create his free shot on goal, was crucial but it is his persona, positioning and zen-like calm which settles the team down and puts doubt in the opposition’s attackers, that makes such a difference. What a signing!
  7. The CB-duo of Mert and Gabriel, supported by the full backs, were great today. The BFG was calm and positioned himself well throughout the game and Gabriel was pretty solid too. Bellerin did great and his biggest compliment on the day was the withdrawal of Depay, who had been firmly in the Spaniard’s pocket, at half time. Monreal was great too, as he always is. What a committed professional and what a great passion he has when he plays: one of my favourite Gunners in the whole squad.
  8. The mini-hulk is back and angrier than ever. Six goals in three games is powerful stuff. It has taken a while and some were starting to say that Alexis was maybe ‘found-out’ by the opposition, but our mini-hulk is made of stern stuff and has such a love for the game and scoring goals. If he plays well the whole team tend to play well, with the Olympiacos game as a rare exception. Let’s hope he continuous this form for the remainder of the season – it could make all the difference.

It is early days but being second with now just two points behind MC, after we played MU, the Chavs and Liverpool already this season, is promising stuff. Watford away is up next. Bring it on!

By TotalArsenal.

27 thoughts on “Team Player Theo, Ozil’s Magic, The Cech-Factor, Fans Superb, The Wall of CoCa: Eight Positives from Game

  • Wonderful summary by TA.

    Guys, all i can say is: keep the momentum going.

    And gutted that the fools manager is sacked. He should have been given more time to fix his defense.


  • Great article TA,
    Written in your own unique way , you summed it up really well. I like the way you put the 4-4-2 in there and i think your right it is like that with Theo and Alexis. It seems they have all got together going on Theo’s interview after the game , saying the players all had a chat and said the last game was not good enough and that the players wanted to put this performance in for Le Boss.
    That is great to hear , let’s hope that hunger is there now for the season.
    Had a great day today.
    I will try that pub it sounds good. Your right too, the fans were great today, i to heard no negertive vibes at all before or after the game.
    The noise everyone made really was the 12 man.
    We did all that with what i thought was a ref who did not seem to give us anything either.
    You remember when he got booed and jeered hardly? Rightly so too.
    Great stuff Totes

  • JK,
    Most LFC fans i know all liked and backed him.
    It just adds another feather in the cap to our football club.
    A near 20 year serving manager is a very rare thing these days.
    It was clearly the right move
    In Arsene we trust1

  • Simply sublime being that it was MU.
    As complete a game as AFC has played since I’ve begun watching in ’05.
    Let’s hope we keep a ‘clean sheet’ injury-wise during the break– Sanchez in particular.


  • PG, i think he paid for his defensive vulnerabilities this season.

    For us, the only downer is that Alexis had done his muscles.. he needs a rest until the interlull is over.

    Now that the interlull is on, something to write about the tactics and why are we inconsistent this season?


  • I am with most fans on this game, and TA, you sum it up to a tee. Great stuff.

    First and foremost, it was a team performance. Almost churlish to pick out individuals, but there were a few cherries on top of the cream.

    I have to say they knew what they had to do and they read the script to a man. They did not need me or HT to tell them to be more clinical, or pass and move the ball quickly. They are the professionals. For me, there was no difference here in our start to the game than the one in midweek, bar one exception … we did not get the goals that their play deserved.

    PG was right yesterday, to put the praise on Arsene Wenger, for his man management, the rotation, the application of the team, and even the substitutions could not be faulted. PG also picked out praise for Per Mertersacker – ‘… yes he is not the quickest but he can only work with what he has …’, and I would second that. Not only for his game play, but also for his input after the game midweek. I should also like to amend that line in my defence of Ospina to ‘… yes he is not the tallest but he can only work with what he has …’. Nobody is perfect. Take Ramsey for example. He has got to be the most effective, ineffective player we have at the moment? Against Man U he harried and pressed everywhere on the pitch, played his part in passes that led to chances or goals …. yet in front of goal …. need I say more? We know he can strike a ball perfectly, score brilliant goals, yet give him a break in from sort of form and it takes forever for him to regain it.
    But on team effort, you have to forgive him …. however infuriating it is 😀

    Getting back to how we set up against ‘Utd. It was picked up in commentary, and in the press, and one was the role of Alexis. He was positioned more as a wing-back than a striker when we were out of possession. However, perfectly placed to spring the counter with his pace and skill to beat the full back marking him. There is a limit to how many times he can repeat those runs, and the 3rd goal was scored at jut the right time. We were able to sit back, even if it allowed United back in the game. At least as far as possession went. I was amused at G. Neville contradict himself, as he urged Arsenal to keep the pace high, keep pressing in the first half, but later in the second half he had to admit we controlled the game perfectly, even while defending. A rare intervention by AW too. He called Ramsey over to get him to play deeper…. directing play from the sidelines, whatever next???

    Yes, it has to be one of the most satisfying games AW has had the pleasure to manage?

    Plenty of time before the next round of games every 3 or 4 days … Enjoy it!


  • Morning gents 🙂

    Good to read this post and tail end of last post’s comments. It was a great home win and one that was much needed. It is not easy to defend a 3-0 lead for seventy minutes but we did it and that alone was phenomenal. Look, everything went our way in the first twenty minutes and we did great to create the base for this, but what happened afterwards was easily as important. We did not get carried away and open ourselves up to counter football, we did not get sloppy at the back or lazy in midfield…. we just played professionally for 90 minutes and that’s what pleases me most.

    Gerry, good observation about Rambo. For me, he was awesome and he deserved to score from that sublime Alexis diagonal ball over the top but it was not to be.

  • Thanks Totes (and 17 for the PM ).

    I must admit I was bricking it yesterday and when I say bricking it I mean I was so scared that I was building a brick wall in front of the Sofa !. hahaha
    Like you I`ve lost a lot of interest in the CL, but was excited about MY ( if I could underline that I would hahaha ) 3 P`s being put to the test against the Greeks and although we lost it was no Greek tragedy as I thought we were just a tad unlucky on the night !.
    Yesterday and you have hit the nail on the head with…………”Possession where it does not hurt versus having the ball in the final third and being super-efficient “………….goals win games not possession and although it nice to keep the ball, I prefer to keep the ball by scoring a hattrick !.
    Great win to start my 5 day break in St Ives with a smile on my face………….I would have said with a boner as well, but the Spuds drawing put an end to that !. hahaha
    Jealous that PG and Kev had a great day at The Ems, they deserve it though, wish my nerves could handle such an occasion, but you`ld have to dose me up on some XXX tranquilisers to have got me anywhere near the ground !.

  • PG, you can find The Rocket, in the University of North London, Holloway Road, situated between Drayton Park and Hornsey Road…

    Definately worth a visit…

  • Hi Cockie, hope the sun keeps shining on for you this week. Enjoy your break in the fantastic St Ives, one of my favourite places in the world. 🙂

  • I`m there two times a week delivering, but still love the place !.
    Just packing now and will leave you a funny and some good feeling stuff ! 😀

    Henry`s reaction to Brenda`s sacking !

  • CM,

    Henry was like: is this for real? Thats why he touched Jamie to confirm this was for real 😀

    Anyway have a good break at St Ives.


  • Great match, great post, but… I expected both… 😀

    I have to say I was confident going into this match mostly because we needed a response–in front of our home crowd–so badly. United had done well, but when you see headlines with John Kill (Juan Mata) saying they’re “tired” it doesn’t bode well…for them. In retrospect, I wish I’d highlighted more specifically the generational gap ManU seem to have. Memphis and Martial, are both young and promising, as are De Gea, Smalling and Luke Shaw, but the other folks seem to have their best football behind them. In a lot of ways, United feel like Arsenal, they *want* to be contenders, but nobody is sure if they truly are…After yesterday the stronger arrow points our way… 😀

    Of the 8 positives, I was struck by the glory of the CoCa wall but that may be because I went to look at the first 20 minutes (later in the day) but it seems that my recording only began around the 22 minute mark. So, instead, I watched the end of the half and Santi was everywhere, nipping in and knocking balls to Le Coq or one of the defenders. They really didn’t muster anything CLOSE to a chance until late in the period (and it should have been called off for the foul…) and we might’ve run up a real tally (something to rival the 8-2) had Rambo put his chance away. Darmian, Smalling, Blind and Young are not a very imposing (nor smart) back line and Schweine plus Carrick, decent enough going forward, are too slow on the break… My thought as it was happening live was, “why can’t we play this team every week?”

    But that’s how it goes with teams built to go for the win–kinda like Arsenal. To a certain extent a manager aspiring to compete at the top of the league has to shift the balance, esp. at his FBs and deep lying mids, towards attack. If it goes wrong, it can go spectacularly wrong…

    Last season–on several occasions–Arsenal scored a pair of goals in quick succession–it’s called ‘killer instinct’ and it puts games away quickly. We got that yesterday. Much better than what happened Tuesday when maybe *hoped* we could get another quick goal after we leveled the match at 2-2, but instead got caught out for their 3rd…

    In fact, for me, the points were ours after those first 7 minutes and then it was an exercise in concentration and nerve. A game of two halves, if you will, with the 2nd part lasting 85 minutes… We had it–the focus and confidence–and they lacked it, so the clean sheet was the big prize of Pt. 2. Only 3 goals scored actually flatters them as the quality of our chances were at least as good as theirs despite the lopsided possession stat in their favor. That’s about the only other thing I might have enjoyed: a few two or three minute spells of possession to really frustrate them…

    Instead, it *almost* seemed that we were happy to give them the ball and work on the defending…Fine by me, in fact, and at the pace they were playing Gabriel, Nacho and the BFG (none of whom are the fastest) looked very comfortable. Cech behind them helps, but I bet they would have been fine with Ospina, too…

    Now we just need to keep our fingers crossed we can field the same squad (or nearly so) at the end of the break. We’re down to a core group (it was probably the least satisfying perfect 11 & bench I’ve ever called…) so we cannot afford any knocks. A little good news on the injury front would be nice but already Rosicky’s recovery has been extended. 3 long months to the January window…

    So, a good day for everybody, esp. those who attended…Consider me jealous A-Kev and PG…

    On that note, season ticket holders (or anybody with mates who are gold or platinum level or travel club members…) TA and I are still looking for Sheffield Wednesday tickets (CapOneCup, Oct. 27) and could use some help… Cheers!

  • Thanks 17ho 🙂

    The points were ours after the third goal for me, but I see what you mean. Excellent point about the balance in the Manure team and it does seem weird he did not play Schneiderlin against us. He went for two experienced midfielders instead but they were bamboozled by the Gunners’ tornado in midfield. They definitely missed a Ramsey in their team yesterday. It was also really good that Shrek did not score against us this time. Instead he looked grumpy all afternoon, because our mini-hulk had outmonstered him! 🙂

  • Great comments Seventino…

    Total, I wonder how settled Schneiderlin is at ManU…?
    Not sure if he’s set the world alight at OT..?

    Total, considering how well Theo is playing atm, I wonder if Girouds time at Arsenal could be cut short?
    He seemed quite moody whe he came on Sunday, it made me think that he might not be an Arsenal player much beyond this season?

    What’s your take?

  • Early days re Schneiderlin at MU, Allezkev. Van Gaal will have his reasons for leaving him out.

    Same goes for Ollie. I reckon we will play him against park the bus teams and he works well as a super sub. And if it doesn’t work out, we can always sell him to the Northertn Oilers. 😉

  • l Arteta coached Arsenal U16s today. Definitely seems to be gearing towards a coaching career once he retires.
    8:30 PM – 5 Oct 2015

    From J.Bird

    Night Total/17

  • TA,

    i believe that for MS to be left out is due to the need for a more stable DM with Carrick and Schweini.. however he did not realise that we can attack from the flanks.. thats when we got the vital first 2 goals.. first goal was when Young went missing and we scored from a cross from the right..

    Darmian was to blame for the second goal.. his lack of pace was the factor in the cross from the left..

    That was the 2 defining points and as a whole they were not defending well enough and we made them pay from our fast counter attacks.. they are not bad in attacking either and we beat them due to us being quick and decisive in both attack and defense… and in between.

    Manu** seem to be shell shocked by our willingness to pour in front in great pace and i reckon MS cannot do anything about it if in place of Schweini. Not that he is good but its the teamwork that matters, not s single person.

    Thats my 2 cents.


  • Okay, having just survived a meltdown financial crisis, I might just turn my attention to the suggestion JK made about ‘Why are Arsenal inconsistent?’ …

    But as it has gone so quiet on here, if anybody else has a filler post, now would be a good time to exercise your typing fingers?


  • Gerry, and all,

    Maybe we should write one about arsenal being inconsistent.

    Seeing as you mentioned that it is quiet here we should throw this question to the rest:

    What do you think is the cause of arsenal doing well against more open teams that give us lots of space to operate and fail when we visit teams that find space against us?

    I will post my views once you guys have posted your views here.


  • Great write up TA!

    Despite a great outcome versus Man U, I still have my reservations about the effectiveness of our style of play against those sides that like to sit deep, defend in numbers and generally play on the counter attack.

    Our last two EPL opponents play a notoriously open style of play – Leicester attack on numbers with swift forward movement; Man U – a little like ourselves – attempt to patiently monopolise possession in their opponent’s half and try to capitalise on any openings they are able to create or the opposition provide them with.

    Positively the side appeared to have matured to a point were they are willing to adapt their playing style (i.e. use a counter attacking style as opposed to the normal patient possession hoarding approach) to take advantage of the opposition’s openness.

    Not many teams in the Premier League play with such openness though, so my doubts about our general attacking effectiveness still lingers.

    That said our first goal was a great template of how Arsenal can and should attack if we are to persist with our possession hoarding approach. In that instance Arsenal overloaded their right hand side of attack with Coquelin, Ramsey, Ozil, Bellerin and Walcott all within a small area on the right edge of the opposition’s penalty box. Coquelin, Ramsey, Ozil all quickly exchanged passes and Ozil, Bellerin and Walcott subsequently provided off the ball attacking options for Ramsey to choose from. Ramsey was able to pick out Ozil (thanks largely to Walcott and Bellerin’s presence).

    The effect of the right sided overload was that Alexis (Arsenal’s best finisher) became Arsenal’s central striking option and rest was simple.

    I’m really hoping that Arsenal’s noticed the effectiveness of that particular overload strategy and it’s natural alignment with our normal possession hoarding approach. It’s a strategy Arsenal could regularly employ with success when facing sides that like to sit deep, defend in numbers and generally play on the counter attack.

  • Hi folks…Busy, busy these days so I took a day off yesterday… The performance and result vs United–plus the Int’l break, I guess, makes it easy to just quietly enjoy things as an Arsenal supporter. I fear that TA is even busier at the moment…

    What we need, here at the blog, are some good posts. Well thought out, longer comments can be made into posts, which is what I think I will do with Mr. FLO’s directly above. (I hope that’s OK, please let me know–quickly–if, for some reason, it isn’t…) In the meantime, please add in other questions and comments as I will be checking back, but would like to include whatever seems relevant…


  • Well there you go, just finishing off my post, and JK wants to change the goal posts. Then Fl08 pops up … and I miss your deadline … Too busy ‘proof reading ha ha.

    The worst of it is FL08 thinks along the same lines and makes my epic seem redundant.
    Even BT is finding it hard to digest, so I probably have to split it up or something.

    Before I start, is anyone going to do a post on the restructure of the Champions League?

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