Ozil dictates, Sanchez steels, Giroud’s Rocket, Rambo runs us to victory: 8 Positives.

Just a quick match summary as I am on my hols. Watched the game in a bar in Rhodes owned by a rather gleeful Olympiakos supporter. There were three screens around and a few bottles of Mythos (owned by Amstel/Heiniken) helped me through the low tempo and penetration lacking first half. Second half saw us up the tempo, yet without losing our composure, and we finally cracked the Wasps’ nest without getting stung once. Three good team goals gave us the win and much needed three points given the results of earlier played games.

Eight positives

  1. Ozil was fantastic throughout the game: fully focused and keen to win this one. Two great assists that made all the difference. I loved the way he used both legs to penetrate Watford’s defence for the first goal with the ball glued to his feet. The master.
  2. Sanchez’s hunger to not wait for the referee to give a penalty after Mesut was fouled. Boom in the net: have that!
  3. Giroud right foot rocket: form crisis my Arsenal!
  4. CoCa fizzes once more, mastering the midfield with ease. I loved Santi’s control and calm and Le Coq was the rock once more
  5. Cech oozed calm and control and that reflected on the defence
  6. Koz we love you. Fought hardest with Rambo to keep momentum with us. Love him.
  7. Rambo was everywhere and finally got his goal. Instrumental in never giving Watford a chance to get into the game. Does the dirty work with pleasure and has so much to offer this team. Calm feet for the goal and earned his luck. More to come.
  8. full backs are our weapon of width destruction. Spanish flies who never give up. Love them.

really good, professional win and I am proud  of the boys.

By TotalArsenal

17 thoughts on “Ozil dictates, Sanchez steels, Giroud’s Rocket, Rambo runs us to victory: 8 Positives.

  • TA,

    Good review and am proud of the boys who did the work while having their backs to the wall when the home team counter attacks.

    My man of the match is Kos. His first half blocks saves us from concede-ing, and the whole defense was working as a unit, covering for Per when he was caught out-paced. My definition of defense is the CB, the fullbacks and of course our deep lying mids.

    Kudos to Watford, who gave us a hell of a time in the first half. I was hanging on the edge of my seat and Rambo had 2 great chances to open the scoring but it was all to familiar. He skied his shots.

    I feel that we won the game by working as a unit and covering spaces with intelligent play. Lets use the same gameplan against the Munich players. I say play the same team?


  • Spot on TA. This is the kind of game we have lost many times previously, after a big win, when the concentration slips, or there is frustration when the early goal doesn’t come. It is a mark of progress in the team; the ability to ratchet up the pressure, whilst staying calm and waiting to take the opportunities that come. As Wenger said after the game, it was also a pleasure to see the intensity after the first goal – rather than sit back and defend we looked to kill the game off, but without taking undue risks. A really professional performance, and just as significant for that as our win against manure 2 weeks ago.

  • On the individual performances, two observations. 1, I thought Coq had one of his less effective days – not a bad one as such, but less impressive; its a mark of how high his standards have been in 2015. The 2nd is around Mert. My theory here relates to Mert’s main weakness, his lack of pace. When we are playing the so called ‘weaker’ opponents, where we are expected to dominate possession and territory, and they are parking the bas and looking to hit us on the break; these are the games that lend themselves least well to the BFG’s talents. In these games, there is less time spent n the defensive box, more time played out and high up, and more opportunity for Mert to be shown up on the break if his positioning and anticipation don’t cover him. Against the very best opposition however, we have less possession and territorial advantage, with more of the game played back near our line. Pace is less of an issue here, and Mert tends to shine more sure his reading of the game, commanding physical presence in the box, and his being the most vocal leader we have in our back line – though Cech now provides this too. This takes me to wondering if we should use Mert more tactically against the big opponents, and use the quicker Gab/Kos combination against those that are likely to be reliant on the break for goals against us? Just a thought.

  • Hi TA, We’re also on holiday and only just beginning to adjust to the (big) time change. We did see the match, however, and your report captures it well.

    My impression was that Watford might have done better trying to waste more time than they did, and, although we didn’t create too much in the first half, I felt we were on top and bound to wear them down. Their spacing was very good and made it hard for us to pull them around and make real opportunities deep in their area. At the other end, they got a bit of the ball but even my wife, who tends to get nervous when opponents have the ball in our half, wasn’t really worried they might score. You cannot never rule out a fluky bounce, I kept reminding her…

    The 2nd period began with a bit more intent and then the goals came and the matter was settled. In my opinion we looked stronger and more menacing with Giroud leading the line even if the big fella wasn’t perfect (that pass that hit him on the heel being the one which stands out). The pace threat of Theo seems to scare teams but I prefer Ollie if either of them has to actually work with the ball. Both had headers saved by the keeper so no advantage there, even if Ollie’s seemed the stronger one. To me it’s an interesting choice for the manager but we really need both of them healthy and fighting for playing time…

    Ramsey made tough work of everything (even his goal) but never stops going. Same with those CoCa boys and the FBs. The younger guys, Bellerin and Le Coq, I thought, really looked strong and classy whenever the spotlight pointed their way.

    Anyhow, 3-nil probably flatters us but do I care? No I don’t… In the end, defending comfortably was probably the best part. Now we need the group to ramp it up for Tuesday… So, onto Bayern and sorry AW, I’m not buying any talk about resting Ozil or Sanchez…

  • Sorry for the simul-post there AB… and also interesting that we had different takes on Le Coq’s performance. I guess he did get bullied in that one shot which Cech had to parry…

    I kind of agree with you about the BFG and its a mystery why Gabriel didn’t make the bench (Chambers and Debuchy both did)… I don’t see any changes in our back group before the CoC match, unless someone picks up a knock, but longer term the recovery pace of Gabby does seem a very good thing. That tackle and shove he put on Hazard in the Chelsea match also seemed a precursor to the (bad) sending off, so I’d still worry about his overall sense of calmness and knowing when to back off… Long term, however, I think AW made a very good purchase from well under the radar…

    OK, cheers, gotta get out in the Swedish sun while it’s shining… 😀

  • Hi there HT. Yes, any criticism of Coq on my part is purely relative – he is and has been great for us, and surely the reason we didn’t buy Schniederlin this summer is because he would have been on the bench behind Coq. For me he was more solid than stand out yesterday

    I agree fully on the Gabby point. How quickly he will learn and add smartness to his raw ability will be interesting to see. Kos took a long time to develop this, and still has the odd howler. If Gabby can develop this judgement quickly then we will have a really top back line.

    I’m torn on the striker question. Walcott makes the defence stand back and gives us a bit of space. Ollie pulls it apart and brings our midfield into play through his hold up work. Both can be sharp in their finishing, or periodically wasteful. The key for me at the moment is which of them helps Ozil play to his best? And I’m sensing that its Walcott. The combination of Walcott, Sanchez and Ramsey all making runs is giving space and options to Ozil, particularly along the ground. Anything that helps Ozil play to his best will help our team play to their best. For that reason, I’m content to continue with the Walcott ‘experiment’ and encourage Giroud to keep knocking them in when he comes off the bench!

    With Welbeck to return in january, do we need another striker? Only if they are a bloody good one!

  • Hi AB, and all,

    To the striker question, I reckon Ollie is still the man to be in front. Look at how many crosses into the box in the first half gets lost due to the lack of tall players.

    I stick to my lineup of Ollie up front with Theo on the right wing instead of Rambo. I felt that when Ollie came on we played better on the final third, as Ollie’s holding-up ability makes players eager to run forward.

    However, for Bayern’s match I rather we start Theo up front to test their defense, and Ollie come in after half time to wrap up the win.

    What say you AB?


  • Always so little to add after reading others’ posts– though today a few ramdom add-ons…

    Per HT’s post:
    “and also interesting that we had different takes on Le Coq’s performance. I guess he did get bullied in that one shot which Cech had to parry…”

    Watford is a big team– stout and physical– though not dirty per se in their methods. They did some effective manhandling in the first half– but as their energy-level dropped in the second period– they weren’t in position to do continue to do so.

    “… and its a mystery why Gabriel didn’t make the bench (Chambers and Debuchy both did)…”

    The U.S. broadcast made a passing mention of Gabriel being ill as to his absence both from the pitch and the bench.

    Per TA’s positives:
    “1. Ozil was fantastic…”
    Simply? Yes. Though I felt the sluggish start had a bit to do with his allowing Cazorla to dictate the final-third penetration from the left early-on– as Ozil stayed a bit deeper on the right. Cazorla several times ended up taking 20yd shots– where had Ozil been more central– an additional pass may have opened more opportunities up on the left– for Theo/Ramsey/Bellerin.

    Personally, I have to agree with HT’s missus. While there were a couple of breaks where Watford looked threatening– but I kept calm and grew more confident about those type chances as the game progressed.

    Arsenal’s effort was a slow erosion of Watford’s will– as they are a team whose seeming trademark– is simply not conceding. They had given just 7-in-8-games prior to Saturday’s match. So getting 3 yesterday is quite a positive.

    Bring on Bayern. Let the chips fall where they may.


  • Cheers guys 🙂

    I thought Ozil played very well for ninety minutes but Theo, who did not impress me, kept being offsite, rendering a lot of Ozils efforts useless @jw.

    Watford defended well, but they were stingless up front.

    AB, thought bFG read the game well and could easily be one of my positives today. I thought we defended really well.

    Cheers guys.

  • TA. Agreed not one of Walcott’s best showings – but not sure I change my view on which pairing Ozil might favour. No complaints on our defence – clean sheet hard to object to. But talking of fine margins in tougher games, I think there is a time when Per has the strengths and time when basic pace might be more essential – where the main risk we face is on the break.

  • Post/comments have covered all grounds very nicely. Certain points, though, can be repeated with twists in shades to keep fresh.
    1) Per -v- Gabby. Intelligent influence on the game but slow pace – v- battling ability but tendency to rashness.
    2) Theo -v- OG. One end of style spectrum -v- the other end. Debate complicates further when Welb, somewhere in the middle, enters the fray.
    3) looks like Ram -v- Ox contest is tilting in favor of the former, who is my preference. Ox is still plenty of untapped potential.

    Looming is the return of the highly talented Jack. Will it be -v- who? Certain names would sound like heresy, and I dare not, but definitely it would be hard to overlook Jack when back to his best. Wenger must be chuckling at the different options available to him for different challenges.

    What excited me most in the Watford game was that we played the same way, irrespective of the scoreline, the whole of the 90 mins. That shows character and the stuff of consistency. Our longing for the Manu- like-blitz possibly affected our appreciation of the quality of our performance.

  • Morning TA, hope you are enjoying your hols — actually, I am sure you are, Rhodes is a great place to relax. 🙂

    I like your summary points (yesterday) and agree with you on them.

    Apart from a couple of odd games, the Wham and Chavs games, we have been very good or brilliant, and who can complain about that.

    I have long been a moaner about the ‘unbalanced’ player purchases that have concentrated on the skill sets of the midfield and ignored the same-ness of the players’ physiques.
    Many ex-players have said much the same thing, when comparing the teams of recent years to the early Wenger years, in that they admitted to being intimidated by not just by the skills of the Gunners, but also by their physiques, naming players like Vieira, Petit, Adams, Bould, and many others.

    Arsene has taken a different position and gone for his version of total football where only skill matters and when we produce scintillating play as we have done recently it is difficult to argue with him – even if i wanted to.

    For me tho’, I still can see nothing wrong with skill allied to physique, because we still get suckered into dribbling with the ball in defense and then get pushed off the ball allowing an attack to develop.

    To be candid I am happy to keep my thoughts to myself while we are playing so well, but I probably won’t be able to resist a judicious ‘told you so’ when the going gets tough and if we get duffed up by the Stokes and Sunderlands of the world, especially now that Fat Sam is back in the mix.

    Time to shut up – so i will. 🙂

  • Good comments PE,

    I reckon for Jack will be vying for the same spot with Alexis / Ozil / Santi.

    Why do I say so?
    Ok. I say it because of his left foot.

    But thinking back Jack thrives in the Santi position. He is an upgrade of Ox in positioning and defensive skills, but a downgrade in running. However, what speed do you lose if you are better in positioning and picking your team-mates?

    I foresee a Bayern game similar to Watford, but we need to blitz earlier, like Manu**, rather than start with a lower defensive line.

    For me, I like the lads winning scrappy and shoot on sight rather than passing all the way.


  • JK, Jack left footed means he can also play as inverted right winger. So he would be vying with Alexis / Ozil / Santi / Ramsey. Only Le Coq is spared.

    Remember Bayern is arguably the best possession team in Europe, and most likely we are going to be compressed and counter attack would become our chief weapon.

  • Nice write up Total…

    These games are banana skins, if you’re not on your game, you slip up and drop points.
    The fact that our team showed resilience and got through a difficult period without conceding, is a positive imo.
    Once Watfords work rate dropped and we scored, it was business as usual…

    This squad is showing an encouraging habit of not being at its best, but still winning.
    I like that habit.
    All title winning teams have it…

    Cech plays tomorrow…

  • Btw, is there a better pair of full-backs in the EPL, or anywhere, than Monreal and Bellerin?

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