The Three Qualities that Won Arsenal Three very Valuable Points Today

As expected, the away game at Burnley was a difficult mountain to climb. After two fantastic performances against Chelsea and Basel it would always have been hard to play with the same intensity and total dominance for a third game in eight days. It is hard to win a game that comes straight after a CL match: Bayern and Real Madrid drew and Dortmund and Barcelona even lost, Man City lost, Leicester drew at home. In the top competitions, it is often hard to get the full three points after playing CL football mid-week; and this is especially the case when a CL participant has an away league game to overcome.

Burnley are very good at building a defensive fortress around their goal, and against Arsenal they were very well organised and disciplined. During the second half against Basel we could already witness signs of fatigue of some of our key players, and today many a player was below their normal level of energy and drive. And if a team needs to crack a defensive fortress it is of course important that their players can move the ball round at a high tempo and with ferocious appetite.

I cannot fault the players for trying very hard to get the job done. And in the end they did, and that is all that really matters. Just imagine if Wenger could have played two or three out of Rambo, Giroud, Perez or Welbeck today; what a difference that could have made. The bench was light today, especially in the attacking department and it showed on the pitch from start to finish. But we also have a lot of character in the team and this is epitomised by King Koz, who threw everything of his body at the ball to get it over the line and win all three points for us.

I know we were a bit lucky to get the three points just before the final whistle was blown, but it is also important to stress that we played very mature and organised at the back and in midfield, which was quite different from many an Arsenal PL game last season. Not losing these sort of games is also very important, and I would have been happy for us if we had kept a clean sheet and had taken home just a point, even though it would have meant that we had not fully capitalised on Man City’s loss earlier today. The full three points are of course a lot sweeter and are probably the best ’20 years of Wenger at Arsenal’ gift our manager would have wished for.

There are individual positives to take from this game, but I rather finish this post with pointing out the three team characteristics that got us the points today: desire to win for 90+ minutes, concentration and professionalism all over the pitch for 90+ minutes, and top camaraderie throughout the squad. The boys did us proud.

Happy Interlulling! 😀

By TotalArsenal

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26 Responses to The Three Qualities that Won Arsenal Three very Valuable Points Today

  1. HassocksGooner says:

    Not a great game but a last minute goal, 3 precious points AND no injuries. I’d have taken that at 4.29pm

  2. Waldo says:

    Lucky result versus Burnley. With matches coming thick and fast, I think Wenger can’t continue to play the same 11 players three times a week and expect the same level of intensity in their performance. Some rotation of players was and will be necessary. For example, Santi, Iwobi and Ozil looked visibly fatigued at Turf Moore and their performances suffered. Unfortunately the natural replacements for Ozil (Ramsey) and Santi (Wilshere) are unavailable but I think Perez should have played rather Iwobi, Ox should have played in place of Ozil and Elneny should have played in place of Santi. Subtle squad rotation like that against what could be described as inferior opposition will be crucial if Arsenal want to maintain consistency in their performances this season.

    On the plus side I thought Mustafi, Monreal, Walcott and Alexis all performed well versus Burnley.

  3. TotalArsenal says:

    It is hard to say whether those changes would have made a big difference, Waldo. Perez was injured btw.

  4. henrychan says:

    Morning all.. Have A great Monday morning..
    TA.. I wonder when ever we played without any CF.. not even in bench list.. hehehe..

    If only we had Giroud or Perez who tall enough, cause Burnley defenders are big and tall.. hehehe.. then We might had scored more ease.. We almost didn’t see any cross from Bellerin, Ozil or Monreal.. Maybe because they knew that it won’t worked.. hehehe..

    And I though Wenger must add Gibbs lastnight.. to give more creativity on our attacking game.

    Kos maybe did handsball.. although it’s still debatable between hand on ball and ball on hand.. hehehe.. but certainly not offside.. I replayed on tube again and again to make sure that it isn’t..

    Yes the boys make us proud.. their fighting spirit was awsome.. As you said the desire to win the game were in all of our boys.. Maybe we didn’t saw that a few season ago..

    So.. We are near to the top.. Two and one point only.. and City may lose another points against Everton.. I loved City lost, but I hated Spurs win.. hehehe..

    Now, take a break.. and watch what International break will become.. hope nothing bad will affect us..

  5. Waldo says:

    Fair point TA. I’m just hoping Arsenal rotate the squad a bit more this season so the team don’t suffer their usual fatigue induced injury and form crisis which kills off Arsenal’s title challenge. Didn’t realise Perez was out injured. That being the case and with Ramsey and Giroud also out injuried at the moment and Ox virtually useless on the wing without Giroud up front, Arsenal’s attacking options are a bit limited at present.

  6. njk84sg says:

    I felt that we were strong defensively, and Mustafi and Kos, but mostly Mustafi, made Sam Vokes so physically busted that he could not do much. Like how Mus-Kos did in the last league game against the Chavs.

    Allow me to write The Three Negatives to put what the lads have done yesterday in greater perspective.

    1. We wasn’t playing at the level that was required, but we kept our head down and made sure that threats were taken care of. The whole game was a little worrying though, as our passes were not accurate enough (the first negative), and Burnley’s defense and attack in the form of Vokes and their left-wing player (sorry, I forgot his name), pressured us constantly, and while Bells was fine in attack, his defensive work falls short.

    2. We were also not able to play the quick passing footy we were seeing for the last few games, and while this might not be fully self-inflicted, due to the fact that Burnley did not give us much space, but we are guilty of not passing well and quick enough at times, thus, this will go down as a negative.

    3. We are missing the height of Ollie. If he is fully fit he should feature against PTB teams, and yesterday is a very good example. It is not that Alexis did not do well, just that having height against defenders makes everything look easier.

  7. Jnyc says:

    My MOTM .. Mustafi. This guy is turning out to be all and more than we could have hoped. Like a younger, maybe even stronger Koscielny, who i count as world class. But a big bonus, great passing from him, accurate and long, really difficult for opponents to defend that from a marauding cb.

    One last thing, T. .. what TF has Arsene done to Xhaka?. Today and lately, a shell of his former self. Regardless of the great goals. ZERO long passes. No switching of play, even when our players were calling for it today…. only took short easy passes. No through balls. No aggression in defending or tackling. I want the Xhaka we bought and got initially.
    Go to you tube and watch his motm vs Watford, or performance at the euros. We havent seen any of that since Arsene benched him for a few games in a row, without explanation, or tried to make him play higher. I miss him prowling in front of the defense harassing attackers.
    Why coach the special qualities out of him?. The guy was player of the bundesliga in his position, outplayed Alonso too.

  8. njk84sg says:

    Jnyc, with an opponent that puts 10 man behind the ball, what space does he have to play long shots?

  9. Jnyc says:

    Njk, i did note that situation today, but im talking about his last few appearances as sub and starter, and i did see teammates waving for him to switch play vs burnley, and he went for 5 yard sideways passes instead.
    I’m happy we won, but i don’t stop observing our individual players performances. Maybe ill watch again, but i feel like one of our 11 (Xhaka) was subpar today. You could also say the same of Mesut, but i expect to see some tackling and defense fron Granit on days when the hollywood pass isn’t on.
    And I’m not hating. I want to see the 35 mil future Xabi that we bought, and I hope we all see it in the next game, whether starter or sub. Not an in-between Wenger alteration, tinkering project that holds back a natural talent.
    Btw, i just saw that Mustafi did get motm. He is really impressive so far. Almost doing the job of 2 players on the pitch.
    And yes, T, Alexis up front is looking much better in general.

  10. njk84sg says:

    Also, Jnyc, Mustafi was in every position on the right side of the pitch for yesterday’s game. From right centre back, to right back and right winger in the end, he is the best player in a tough match against Burnley

    I went to the official team site and they had a Man of The Match quiz. As of now, 46% voted for him, 30% to Bosscieny, 16% to Alexis and 8% to Cech.

    Somehow, we love ball playing defenders.

    Cheers,
    JK

  11. TotalArsenal says:

    Agreed Waldo, I reckon Arsene is currently focusing on getting a best first team playing together regularly. Once the core is established and a number of key players are fully fit again, we should see more rotation.

  12. TotalArsenal says:

    Johnnie, Xhaka did very well imo. He was in the Coquelin role and played it with discipline. Not sure whether there were much long ball opportunities yesterday, but good point,

  13. Gerry says:

    I think I’ll stick with your three positives/qualities TA. Picking up on negatives, after all that effort, seems somewhat inappropriate to me?

    Fatigue! I warned that it showed in the previous game. I said we might get away with for this Burnley game, BUT, also that this International break might be timely … except for those who might play twice during it?
    Fatigue! What it does do is cloud the brain functions, no matter how physically fit the player might be. That showed in this game. For crying out loud they are not machines!!
    Fatigue! The physical effort to overcome their own mistakes takes an enormous amount of effort and courage. Much easier to throw the towel in. This is not fantasy football where the computer generated players start afresh each time the machine is switched on.
    TA’s words ‘The lads did us proud’ and they truly did!!!

    So, even after the Interlull rotation will be in order. I gave out the fixture list after the previous game because it give us a great opportunity. No travelling until the end of the month. No big name teams until November. Relatively, emphasis on the ‘relatively’ easy games in the CL and the EFL Cup. The only problem which might throw out all that positivity will be injuries on Intnl duty?
    I fear the worst on that front.

    However, I hope AW will make the necessary changes that keep the balance in the side. I think he has been reluctant to make the changes while things were going well, so how ‘real’ the injuries to Perez, Giroud, or even Ramsey are, I have my doubts. They at least will be fresh, but not necessarily in top form? I think with Perez he is trying to get him up to speed with how the PL operates, and has been reluctant to even give him bench space until he thinks he will make a difference?
    Giroud will probably get the nod in the Ludogorets game, and Perez in the Reading Cup match, especially with Chuba injured. Mind, Nketiah might step up for that one. Given the travelling that Alexis will be doing, I would like J R-A to take that slot for that first game. We will have to see how Zelalem does for the US Under 20 side, to see if he is up to being Ozil’s deputy, as like for like are thin on the ground, without changing the dynamics of the team. I would probably lean towards Iwobi, rather than a name from the established ranks. Ox for/or Theo, depending on Interlull injuries.
    A M-N might again get the nod over Debuchy, whilst AW works out if the latter’s replacement is needed come January? Holding, Gabriel, and Gibbs are all natural drop ins for their regulars. Santi in midfield might depend on the game in question, and if Coquelin is ready to resume later in this month, but Xhaka looks the obvious candidate? Elneny and Coquelin making up the midfield trio.
    Others might come into the reckoning if they are looking sharp enough?
    Note, these are suggestions for the whole month, not all slapped in for the first two games.

    So I will let your positives TA, keep that warm satisfaction on the team’s ability keep me going during the break. Best wishes on Ox’s call up, he could be a standout for England?

    Cheers,
    Gerry

  14. Shard says:

    Exactly TA. Barcelona, Real Madrid, Dortmund, Bayern Munich, Leicester, ManCity all dropped points after a midweek CL game. Spurs beat City playing at home with an extra day of rest compared to them. We went to Burnley, which is a tough away ground (as Liverpool will attest to) and came away with a win, however ‘lucky’ the goal may have been.

    I was really happy with our determination and focus even when I thought it is going to be a draw. We kept at it. Kept them out. Generally controlled the game, and in the end got our reward for it. Phooey to all those who would bemoan this. It was a performance of supreme determination, and I hope this continues throughout the season.

    A good way to go into the international break. No injuries please and hopefully Giroud, Ramsey, Coquelin and Perez to come back after, and we go again.

  15. njk84sg says:

    Gerry, agreed that we did well and the positives far weigh over the negatives.

    And as I put it simply, it makes one who did not see the match have a full view of the situation we were in yesterday. And apart from the negatives, the positives are what TA mentioned. And the team were stronger mentally compared to last season where we lost points against PTB teams.

  16. Steve says:

    Am glad we finally got the 3points. Somehow, I felt Arsenal will eventually win the game, even at 30seconds to go.
    Arsenal wasn’t at their best, but that was down to Burnley being very organised and parking the bus. Against teams that park the bus, you need a striker in the bus to make movements, while the wingers and midfielders make runs into the bus. Unfortunately against Burnley, Sanchez dropped deep as usual and theo making runs from the wing into the box, With that, it was easy for Burnley to sit back and watch us attack them ineffectively. Unfortunately we had no out and out striker on the bench, Giroud would’ve been the best for this game and Ramsey playing as the box to box midfielder which allows him to make timed runs into the box, with these 2 players we would’ve won the game with at least 2 or 3 goals in normal time. Am not really a great fan of ramsey because sometimes he has this nonchalant attitude in some games, but I know very well he has his own qualities, very different from others, which balances the team, especially his movement off the ball from midfield into the box and his recent eye for goal.

    I think some of you have forgotten about Carl Jenkinson, well, he is back to normal training, not ready thou, but when he is ready, I will prefer to give him the nod when wenger wants to rest Bellerin. Obviously debuchy no longer has a future in arsenal.

    Our defenders were faultless against Burnley, especially our central defenders, I am really impressed with the way Mustafi handled the physical nature of the game, He plays like a soldier. He is a more vocal Vermaelen with unbelievable character and maybe a bit more tactical than. He has obviously settled in.

    When wenger wants to rotate his team, I do not expect him to change too much, rather he should make about two changes, that will keep the chemistry of the team intact. Another way of giving your best players rest is by starting them, then get a good score line in the first half, then substitute the ones you want to rest early in the second half.

    Our next game is Swansea at home, its a tough and tricky game, so I expect wenger to play his best 11, no rotation.

    Yesterday, I was in a meeting in a hangout place, so I watched the game there after/during the meeting, I had some man united and Chelsea fans watching the game with me, so when the goal finally came, they were so angry and disappointed, Guess what, I enjoyed every bit of anger and disappointment they had….lol. at least lets enjoy mother luck too, its been many years we had this kind of luck.
    THANKS GUYS.

  17. Steve says:

    Swansea have just sacked their manager Francesco Guidolin and replaced him with American Bob Bradley.
    In my opinion, I think sacking Guidolin is a wrong move. Yes, they have not been doing well this season, but when you look at their last 5 games, they have played Leicester, Southampton, Chelsea, Liverpool and Man city. These are teams you expect to win Swansea, but still they gave their best, they gave man city and Liverpool tough times, they drew against Chelsea. I believe they will gradually get better had Guidolin stayed on. Bradley is a good coach, I like him, but there is no guarantee he will do better or hit the ground running.
    I like his son thou, Michael Bradley, he is a good, hard working midfielder. Am still confused as to why he left AS Roma for MLS’s Toronto FC.

  18. Gerry says:

    Good point on Jenks, Steve. I’d be the first to admit I still see him as a WHA player 😀

    I had a couple of thoughts about our goal.
    1, It was not offside. The Burnley number 2 was still coming out from their goal line when Theo struck the ball. The BBC made two errors on their description of the goal; one, by calling it ‘questionable’; and two, leaving the off-side question hanging there, which they compounded by say Kos was on the goal line, when he wasn’t? Are they biased? 😀
    2, If that had been a defender’s elbow it struck from Ox’s shot it would have been given as Ox’s goal, because the ball was already on target? Kos’s elbow, which you could not say was deliberate, given the power of the shot and the distance travelled. Nor did the deflection make it harder for their keeper to make a save, as he was scrambling to get back from the other side of the goal.
    Natural justice would be served if it was given to Ox, but as Kos was the last player to touch it before it went over the line, he will have to settle for the assist. Which, if Kos hadn’t got in the way, would have gone, rightly, to Theo?

    Oh, two managers down. Matteo is out of the Villa poisoned chalice job. May be a third if West Ham want to get Bruce before he gets offered the England job?

    It is a crazy world we are living in …
    Cheers,
    Gerry

  19. Jnyc says:

    Shard great point about all the champs lge teams that dropped points.. i hadnt even put that together..,, but this makes my point about rotation. We’ve all been bragging about our depth but when circumstances call for it, Wenger is afraid to use it. Now, I’m aware of the injuries to le coq, Olivier, and i guess lucas. But why not el neny,gibbs, or someone on the wing like oxlade? Against Burnley, who were uber organized, but not talented, i think it would’ve been an opportunity.

  20. Shard says:

    Jnyc

    I agree with you. In my pre match comment I’d had Wenger play Walcott and Iwobi because they were taken off against Basel, but to bring in Elneny, and perhaps Gibbs. I’d also put in Lucas as striker, and rest Ozil by playing Santi at 10 because he has no international commitments.

    My guess is that Wenger was reluctant to disrupt the system that’s working right now, until after the international break when he’ll hopefully and presumably have more (trusted) options. In the end he was proved right, so I guess it’s ok. I think Ramsey’s and Giroud’s return might see us rotate more depending upon the style. Like yesterday was definitely a day for both of them.

    I remain uncertain on what the correct balance between rotation and keeping a team stable is. I do however agree that we’ll need a bit more of the former.

  21. Shard says:

    Steve

    I agree about Guidolin. My guess is this is less of a football move and more a marketing move. I believe the new Swansea owners are American (or have American interests). Not sure but that’s what the commentators seemed to indicate. Bringing in an American coach would probably sit well with their new target audience. I mean let’s face it, Swansea is tapped, and Asia and Africa are already divvied up by the big boys. The US remains the biggest untapped market.

    Personally I thought Guidolin was doing a good job. They were very unlucky to lose against ManCity and could have won the game. Likewise vs Liverpool. I wouldn’t have sacked him, but then again, I wouldn’t have sacked Moyes, or especially Van Gaal if I were ManU. Considering that Mourinho has less points at this stage than both of them, maybe I am not wrong about it though 🙂

    Michael Bradley once had this weird rant lambasting Arsene Wenger. He called himself good enough to play in England, and said he would be great for Arsenal and the only reason Wenger didn’t buy him is because he is an American. Seems to me like he’s on dope.

  22. 17highburyterrace says:

    Due to technical failure (with satellite signal) I missed the final five minutes of the match and only saw the goal this morning on MOTD…And I (immediately) have to disagree with Gerry. Theo wasn’t offside but surely both Kos and the Ox were. Also, the Ox’s kick was actually going to miss the goal but his blushes were spared by Kos blocking it in with his arm. What’s up with that kid? It reminded me of the very late goal vs Bayern Munich last Autumn that he headed down and over the bar but that one was ruled already in (off Ozil). Anyhow–and no matter which way it went in, nor how blind the refs might be–thank goodness it counted and we got the full points.

    The best part is that it *should* make us continue to compete all the way to the final whistle. That lesson was perhaps driven home already this season with the (very) late pen we won vs Southampton that secured another two (additional) points. Without that one plus yesterday’s goal we’d be on 12 points instead of 16 and in 8th place instead of 3rd. People wouldn’t be celebrating AW’s 20 years but, instead, demanding his head on a platter…

    Tight margins…so it’s good to be on the correct side of them…and–esp. if you add in the late draw at PSG–we seem to be getting results that in the past slipped by. I like it…

    As for the performance and some of the comments above, I agree about bigger more central figures vs PTB teams but I also wonder why we can’t maintain better spacing even without such players. Iwobi plays well with his back to goal but often seems very passive with his positioning. If Alexis abandons the #9 spot, Iwobi (or Theo or Ozil) should aggressively fill it. That was lacking yesterday, I thought.

    So, too many players in mid-wing or midfield (but too far from goal) means that the most creative forces–Ozil and (to a much lesser extent) Santi are languishing out on the wings. Add in very little in the way of aggressive wingback overlapping (they can always pull the ball back as well as cross towards the midgets…) and it makes it too easy for a team like Burnley

    To me, it’s jadedness of thought as well as body… Hopefully a little change of scene plus working with some of the fringe players (not off on international duty) and we come back refreshed. In the meantime, football isn’t a fair game so time to appreciate when the breaks come our way, I think…

    Finally, I’m agreed about impressions re: Mustafi and Xhaka with the former pushing forward sometimes the way we might’ve preferred to see the latter. I also agree with TA that Xhaka might be under instruction to do everything via deep positioning to avoid 50-50s and yellow cards. Coquelin maybe gets his spot back after the break esp. if Xhaka is off with the Swiss team…

  23. Shard says:

    17ht

    Have a look at the replays again. Ox never kicked the ball. Koscielny did, and Ox kicked his foot, which sent the ball on the trajectory it did. Hence Kos is not offside. I’m also not sure the ball was going over the bar. It might have hit Kos’ head instead. However, it certainly wouldn’t have gone in directly.

    Now is it handball? This is contentious. But over on Sky Sports Dermot Gallagher (former referee) says that the decision was correct as the handball wasn’t intentional. Burnley got away with a couple of handballs on that basis so why should a different standard be applied to us?

    Personally, I don’t care if it shouldn’t have stood. Way too many incorrect calls have gone against Arsenal in the past few years for me to worry about something like this, especially when it might even be the correct decision.

    As to the rest of your point. This was the third game in a tough week, and Burnley away is a difficult fixture. I’ll worry if this sort of thing happens often, but somehow I don’t think it will. We adapted to the situation and pushed ourselves to the limit, regardless of how diminished that limit was. Do that every game and we’ll be in good shape.

  24. 17highburyterrace says:

    Shard, Looking at the replay you might be right–which would still make Gerry wrong… 😀 I don’t care either… For years we’re told that all the calls balance out but Arsenal fans know better. No team is hated more than us and that filters down to the refs, I fear… Maybe this season it’s starting to turn around…

    What I saw watching the match–and it’s just my impression–is that Ozil spent a lot of time near the touchlines and we had very little rotation between those positions and the mid-winger areas (near the corners of the 18yd box). Overlapping with the full-backs/wingers to the by-line would have certainly helped. When Alexis abandons the “D” area others going in aggressively to fill that spot would help too. We want Ozil on the ball (Santi and Xhaka too) but in central spots. None of them are going to dribble past a lot of defenders to get into those positions where their through-balls make clear cut chances…

    In my opinion…of course… 🙂

    A final thing…The pitch, though relatively smooth, appeared kind of ‘spongy’ to my eye making us look slower and even more in need of playing through the air. Just an observation and not an excuse… No surprise that in the end we won going through the air, Theo getting another (very rare but telling) touch with his head just as all of Burnley’s chances did…

  25. TotalArsenal says:

    Wow, fab, insightful comments today.

    New Post 🙂

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