Cech/Koz/Coq/Santi ALL MOTM; Mustafi at Home; Perez Promising: Review and 8 Positives

Three very welcome points is very important, of course. And there is no doubt that we needed a dollop of red and white luck to get them against a resilient and good footballing Southampton.

Arsene made three changes from our win against the Hornets and it is fair to say we did not start brightly. The team lacked energy and drive, despite playing three fast players up front with the Ox, Perez and TheO, and playing two play makers in Santi and Mesut. The latter two started very quietly and the former three hardly had any of the ball in the first part of the first half. The Saints looked calm and in control, playing some easy on the eye football with plenty of penetration and danger up-front – just like they did against the Mancs a few weeks ago. Especially Tadic, Redmond and Rodriguez, supported deeper by the excellent ex-Chav Romeu, were very comfortable on the ball and we did not make it hard enough for them.

They scored from a well taken free-kick that needed a big dollop of luck though, as Cech scored his second career own goal with his back pushing the ball over the line. You would have expected Arsenal to up the tempo after the goal but we still lacked collective drive, with Santi being pushed back too much and the four of Ozil, Ox, Theo and Perez not involved in the game enough.

The game needed something special and it came from one of the two Arsenal birthday boys: King Koz.

Our CB scored a brilliant overhead kick that will have ha the approval of Zlatan, no doubt. We did not do enough until then to deserve the equaliser but Laurent has a knack of scoring very important goals, as he did four times last season.

That goal gave us back our mojo, at least in terms of playing football in the Saints’ half rather than ours. All of a sudden the Saints were happy to park the buss and we could push forward both Mustafi and the energetic Coquelin to help the attackers. Yet we missed sharpness, movement and creativity, and this especially from Ozil and our mid-wingers. We also missed the goal threat of Giroud and/or Alexis up-front which made the team look like it was missing its normal focussed and aggressive identity.

For some reason, the combination of players in our starting eleven did not work well yesterday. Was it perhaps too much to ask of Perez to start with the Ox next to him rather than Alexis or Giroud? Theo and Ox are the sort of players who have good moments in a game but do not add enough to the team to be picked together in the starting eleven imo. One of them is more than enough, and then I still think Iwobi, or indeed my personal favourite Joel Campbell (now out on loan unfortunately), would serve the team better on many occasions.

The second half started not much better. Tempo too low, movement too predictable, Ozil not involved enough, and Perez struggling to translate his presence in the box into clear cut chances and a goal. Luckily, Santi was getting into the grove now, working hard to get the team going by finding gaps and getting as close as possible to the Saints’ D’.

It was clear though that we needed to bring on Giroud and Alexis to lift the game and get that extra bit of quality into the box, even though we started to play a lot better from around the 55th minute. Perez worked hard and you can see how he could fit into the team, it will take a bit of time though.

As soon as we brought on the Frenchman and Chilean we looked sharper, but we also gave a way a couple of quite big chances that could have cost us dearly. And that tells you all about the risks and opportunities associated with substitutions, and why Wenger often waits longer with them than most of us want him.

Luckily, we got the penalty and Santi was cool enough to convert it.

Eight positives:

  1. Mustafi settled in quickly and looked solid and composed. Really good to see him drive forward regularly as well. Need to see him more games but that was pretty impressive in front of the home crowd;
  2. Birthday boy Koz had an outstanding performance and scored a superb goal – so happy he is still a Gooner and let’s hope he will be signed up to end his career at THOF;
  3. Le Coq had his pecker up and was awesome throughout the game, both in defence and supporting the attack. Xhaka will have been rested for Tuesday’s game no doubt – and I expect us to play Perez, Theo and Alexis up front for that one so Xhaka can help us beat the Parisian Oilers on the break – but yesterday we needed the steel and defensive discipline of Francis Coquelin. And boy did he deliver;
  4. Santi moving forward in the second half made a big difference in terms of our attacking intent. Ozil was not at his very best today and he needed Santi to add creativity. On top of all his fine passes and crosses, he produced a calm and venomous penalty that left the time wasting Foster picking the ball out of the net. 🙂
  5. The spine of Cech, Koz(Mustafi), Coq, Santi, and eventually Giroud, held strong and delivered a performance worthy of the Arsenal. Cech, Koz, Coq and Santi were altogether my men of the match. And Ozil and Alexis added the necessary quality to get us over the line, even though the former did not have his best day ever;
  6. The full backs were driven once again and added a lot of width to the team, but both still need to improve their final ball into the box. Good to see them both taking chances themselves as well, and especially Bellerin was pretty close to scoring a Theo-esque diagonal daisy-cutter;
  7. Cech’s presence saved us at least two points today, making Shane Long rush and waste his two good opportunities in the second half;
  8. Perez’s movement and hunger and sheer guts to take on the CF role at the home of football was awesome. I liked his energy and willingness to run and run and get into any available spaces. I rate this Saints’ team highly and reckon they will finish in the top 7-10 this season once they get going. Especially defensively, they are very good and made it hard for our attackers. So not an easy start for Lucas, but more is surely to come.

Up next are the Parisian Oilers. Let’s load the Canon. 😉

By TotalArsenal.

This entry was posted in Arsenal Analysis, match review and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

27 Responses to Cech/Koz/Coq/Santi ALL MOTM; Mustafi at Home; Perez Promising: Review and 8 Positives

  1. shrillex says:

    Nice one TA. While he did not get a goal, I loved how Perez sprint iinto the box when one of our wingers has the ball. Goals will come for him. Mustafi was solid, though I’m not impressed by how he came to head balls that he definitely couldn’t win. Still sad to see Holding on the bench though as he was wonderful before this.Ozil was marked and harassed throughout the game, still showing his weakness when under pressure. I hope he’ll improve that part of his game. One player you forgot to mention was Theo. he didn’t have his best game but I loved his work rate.

    All that said, this was a typical Arsenal game innit? They make you disappointed, pissed and utterly frustrated before coming back with a bang and putting a smile on our faces. Love this team.

  2. Gerry says:

    I am not sure my comments on the previous blog are appropriate on this one, but they are there if anybody wants to view them.

    We pretty much agree on the major points TA, so I am glad you found the 8 positives from what was a difficult game more difficult with a couple of sub par performances.

    There will be a different game altogether in Paris. They can attack, but look a little suspect at the back. Therefore controlling midfield will be key. Perhaps a controlled performance by Xhaka will go a long way towards that? In order to have that extra midfielder, I hope we go with two up front, like Alexis and Pérez perhaps?

    But that is for Tuesday night. Now is the time to thankful for the three points.

    Cheers,
    Gerry

  3. TotalArsenal says:

    Cheers Shrillex 🙂

    I don’t think Ozil has a weakness but his passing was below yesterday. The Saints have a very strong midfield and know how to pass the ball around and we struggled a bit with getting our midfield to function at its best initially, but eventually we got there.

    We are going to disagree re Theo. His workrate was okay but his effectiveness was below par, especially for a home game.

  4. TotalArsenal says:

    Cheers Gerry 🙂

    I think a lot of Gooners underestimated Southampton and believed we should win easily, but they are a good team that will surprise a number of big teams this season, so I think the positives are worthy of being mentioned.

  5. TotalArsenal says:

    It was interesting to see Barca losing at home yesterday. They also rested two key attackers and their best midfielder and they suffered a shocking defeat. PSG also drew after not starting some of their best attacking players. We got away with it yesterday, but it goes to show how important the CL is nowadays.

  6. retsub1 says:

    Well written T A. I listened to the game on Arsenak Player and the atmosphere seemed very flat. Still Southampton are always a difficult fixture for us and 3 points are very welcome.

    2 comments

    The commentator on Arsenal player gave me nightmares. Whilst waiting the pen he was reeling off stats which fill me with dread.m. “Forster hasn’t saved a penalty for two years”. ‘Other than that miss against West Brom last season” Santi never misses. By now I was totwlly convinced that Santi wouldn’t score.

    2. Whilst it takes a lot of courage, I am not a fan of the penalty straight down the middle. A lessor keeper might not move fast enough to get out of the way..

  7. TotalArsenal says:

    Cheers Retsub

    Yes I did not like those stats being mentioned either!

    Santi cannot help it. He is two footed and ends up with the compromise… Which is through the middle 😀😀

    Santi is our top scorer btw!

  8. Waldo says:

    Special mention must go to Monreal who was a beast defensively at left back with 3 tackles and 6 interceptions! He was again below par going forward but those are some seriously good defensive stats.

  9. Waldo says:

    Completely agree TA with your comments about the Saints being a good team. Their squad nicely fits with Puel’s tactical approach who did very well managing Nice last season. That said, our forwards were pretty underwhelming in terms of shooting accuracy. Theo, Ox, Perez, Sanchez and Giroud had a combined total of 10 shots on goal vs the Saints none of which were on target. For me, that’s the area Arsenal need to improve more than anywhere.

  10. allezkev says:

    I didn’t really focus on the feet Gerry, but I saw the briefest of brief highlights on MotD2 and as you say, highlights can be manipulated or spun to suit any theme, although you didn’t put it that way I guess that’s kinds what you meant…
    I agree, I don’t take too much notice, I’ve been to too many live games, then seen highlights and seen absolutely nothing to connect the two except for the colour of the shirts…
    I think we’ve seen so much fouling in the modern game at corners, that has been ignored by, imo, irresponsible officials, that we’ve almost accepted foul play as part of the game…
    I personally don’t think it is, to me it’s just weak officiating.
    I respect your view, that was posted whilst I was scribbling mine, so my comment was not in response to yours mate.

    To me it was a shirt tugging foul, so I don’t think that Arsenal were lucky and that the penalty was merited.
    I hope we get many more, because I’ve seen us robbed of too many clear penalties in recent years.
    Late for me so I’ve not read the post.
    Night All

  11. Pony Eye says:

    TA, that’s á fair and brilliant assessment of the match. I have rewatched the game a second times and my revised opinion is that it appeared we didn’t play well largely because we played against a very good team that was able to take the lead against us.

    Rewatching the match also gave me a very exciting opinion of Perez. He ìs going to be a great assister of goals by the time his team mates have grown into his style. He has an excellent box instinct. Very quick tempo flicks and all. A player like Alexis, quick reaction and always on the go, is going to reap a lot off him.

    Coq was awsome but I wonder if he should revert to a pure destroyer role instead of constantly moving upfield with the flow of the game. Intelligent Santi however covers for him very well.

    We are so beautifully loaded at the double pivot that I can see Zhaka and Eln fielded against PSG. Santi who is also our best cover for Ozil should be spared this our 3 games per 8 days schedule.

  12. Gerry says:

    Sorry Kev, the references to the way people view fouls was not directed at you but at the football ‘professionals’ who make real time comments. Likewise highlights, the images shown are there to confirm what the same pundits say.
    Nothing personal 😀

    There is no question fouling, particularly in the ‘box, is tolerated by referees. But they are in a ‘no win’ situation. To stop the game for every shirt pull would see games won on penalties, and going well over the two hour mark including the break?
    On the other side of it, when is a shirt tug, obstruction, physical pushing and shoving serious enough to affect the run of play? If our penalty was the soft end of that line, how consistent will refs be. Certainly Giroud didn’t think it was a pen, as according to a quote, he asked Fonte ‘Who gave the penalty away?’

    I am all for the 4th official trials taking place in Europe, using video evidence. That has been my argument all along. They play to the refs whistle, but take play back if an offence(or indeed, a non offence that had been penalised) as confirmed by the video evidence. It is the smart way to use the technology, and it does not need to be the pitch side official peering at a laptop in bright sunshine to do it?
    I think it will get there in stages. We do not want officiating to ruin the spectacle, just come up with correct decisions.
    Mind, our penalty could/should have been avoided because of Kos’s head injury. The ref was most certainly going against guidlines, but the action moved away so quickly it may not have been spotted by either official?

    Talking of real time comments, I turned the sound off for the first half, on the Arsenal player replay because it was just repetitive, ‘he should have done this, or that’. Any fool could see it did not go as the player intended, but they are not blessed with a preview of hindsight … err I think that is I mean.

    Yep, not enough ‘preview of hindsight’ to cut out mistakes.
    With that they would all be ‘effing geniuses’?
    😀

    Cheers,
    Gerry

  13. Jnyc says:

    My immediate feeling when Arsene made the 2 early attacking subs- a sign that this may be his final season. Dont ask me to explain.. just a feeling. But i hope it’s not.
    I could see other possible reasons he might do it. Maybe just losing patience. Or doesnt always have his best players on the bench to bring on. Plus not wanting to overwork the new kid Lucas.

  14. TotalArsenal says:

    Some fine comments overnight 🙂

  15. TotalArsenal says:

    The picture above shows ADO Den Haag supporters throwing teddies at kids from the local children’s’ hospital.. lovely gesture 🙂

  16. TotalArsenal says:

    Love a JNYC theory 🙂

  17. TotalArsenal says:

    PE, agreed on Santi being our main cover for Ozil in the hole and we need to spare him a bit. Xhaka – Elneny in the DM pivot? Bring it on baby!!

  18. njk84sg says:

    Watch the full match repeat just now.

    Negative comments against Ozil, Perez and Mustafi is unfounded, as they took little time to gel together against So’ton (less than one half is quite short in my opinion), and the only downer is Ox, with a few misplaced passes in the thick of the action. He should not be the one starting against PSG, as we have Alexis back.

    Cheers,
    JK

  19. Steve says:

    Am glad we got the 3points at the end. Mustafi did very well, he looks a decent defender, but i’ve always had issues with his height, he is a small central defender and we really don’t need anymore small players in our defence. I still wonder why wenger never went for Van dijk of Southampton, van dojk is the kind of defender we need He is tall, imposing, technically good, strong, fast, good on the ball, very good in the air, He is basically what we need, not mustafi. With mustafi, we will always have issues defending ariel balls, especially against teams with lots of talk players like Manchester united, Chelsea, etc. Am very sure van dijk would have been a cheaper option as well.
    As for perez, I believe the guy will come good, I have no problem with him, even thou my preference has always been morata. He will gradually settle in, but for now, Giroud remains one of the most important players in Arsenal, apart from scoring and creating, but also in defending set piece.

  20. Steve says:

    Am glad we got the 3points at the end. Mustafi did very well, he looks a decent defender, but i’ve always had issues with his height, he is a small central defender and we really don’t need anymore small players in our defence. I still wonder why wenger never went for Van dijk of Southampton, van dijk is the kind of defender we need He is tall, imposing, technically good, strong, fast, good on the ball, very good in the air, He is basically what we need, not mustafi. With mustafi, we will always have issues defending ariel balls, especially against teams with lots of tall players like Manchester united, Chelsea, etc. Am very sure van dijk would have been a cheaper option as well.
    As for perez, I believe the guy will come good, I have no problem with him, even thou my preference has always been morata. He will gradually settle in, but for now, Giroud remains one of the most important players in Arsenal, apart from scoring and creating, but also in defending set piece.

  21. Steve says:

    About the PSG game, I will rather play Xhaka and Coquelin in midfield, with coquelin, he will give us enough bite to match a technically good and generally good PSG side. Its also very important that carzola plays the game, with xhaka in midfield. Ozil should have a little bit of free role, combining the right wing and the no 10 role. Sanchez is a sure starter on the left wing, which leaves us with the center forward role to fill. Ideally, I will pick a fast center forward which is Perez, considering the kind of players I already selected in midfield. But Giroud has the right kind of personality for this kind of game, but also, giroud performs much better when he has quick players on his left and right wings, especially with sanchez and walcott. Lets wait and see the players wenger will put out there. Which ever way, all we want is a win or a draw realistically.

  22. Jnyc says:

    Since we had to play like mad to the end going for the winner, Santi and coq i think need the rest for a bunch of games coming up. I’d go as some said, with Xhaka el neny. I’m sure Arsene will start Giroud. Maybe lucas on wing since he only played 60 mins.
    Waldo nice stat about under appreciated Nacho again.
    Steve i think Mustafi aerial duel stats are very good, so hopefully not an issue due to size. Look at koscielny, our hero once again…. not much bigger.

  23. Pony Eye says:

    PSG is a tiki-taka team. Expect them to dominate us in possession playing at home and us forced to sit deep. Therefore Wenger is likely to set up a counter attacking team.

    That possibly explains why he suprisingly gave game time to Perez on Saturday to have a first feel with the team as he had earmarked him to play against PSG. Giroud is the last thing for counter attacking.

    Tiki-taka goes with high press so Carzola might be used for wriggling out of tiny spaces and Xhaka for lunching the counter attacks. Elneny comes in also for his energy and pass and move skills valuable against gengen pressing.

    Wenger might therefore set up a4:3:3 formation as below;
    ————Cech————
    Bel—Must—Kos—Mon
    —xhak—Eln—-Santi—
    Perez—–Ozil——-Alexis

    Hull on Saturday would be a PTB team. Giroud and Theo return in place of Perez and Santi. Santi for a rest.

  24. Steve says:

    @JNYC, Yes, mustafi mustafi has a good aerial duel stats in La liga, but remember remember this is the premier league. Koscielny is exception, but we will be better off with a taller player by his side, a complete defender with height, pace and of course technically good. Am very sure you will be a it scared when we play man U, during corners, freekicks and crosses.
    When giroud is not playing, count the players you have confidence in defending aerial balls for us.

  25. Steve says:

    @JNYC, Yes, mustafi has good aerial duel stats in La liga, but remember remember this is the premier league. Koscielny is exception, but we will be better off with a taller player by his side, a complete defender with height, pace and of course technically good. Am very sure you will be a it scared when we play man U, during corners, freekicks and crosses.
    When giroud is not playing, count the players you have confidence in defending aerial balls for us.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s