Ludogorets 2 – 3 Arsenal: Blood, Sweat and Tears until Ozil’s foot-ballet

The Ludogorets Arena will always be remembered for that Ozil display of foot-ballet. Yes there was also a mighty comeback, and the best ones are always those when a team are 2-0 down and then win 3-2; yet this was somehow to be expected. But without any doubt, Mesut’s demonstration of total control of time and space whilst caressing the ball with his feet, will become immortalized in many a Gunner’s red and white brain.

You do not want to make this Arsenal side angry, as Sunderland and Ludogorets have now experienced in the space of just a few days. It took the new team, without the normal ‘midwingers’ Theo, Iwobi/Ox and second choice full backs, Xhaka restored to the double DM-pivot and Ollie as our CF, a while to get into the groove. It looked more like 4-5-1 than anything else; as a result we had an army of central midfielders trying to dominate proceedings.

Before we could take proper control of the game, we were two goals behind. That’s football!

Did Arsene make too many changes to the team? Was playing with OG up-front too much of a tactical change for in-form Arsenal? I reckon we needed to rest Ox and Iwobi who looked tired against Sunderland on Saturday. Playing Alexis on the left meant we could start the super-fresh legs of Ollie and Rambo in the front three, so it was a one-off compromise to me. And having Nacho and Bellerin back fresh and focussed on Sunday will also help our cause in defeating the Spuddies; so playing the limited Jenkinson and Gibbs was another compromise we got away with.

A teasing cross, from a wrongly awarded free-kick, kept Ospina rooted in goal and our defenders struggled to cover the attackers. A clumsy goal to concede but there you go. Soon after that it was 2-0 to the Bulzilians: Gibbs got skinned and a cross was put into the box from close range; Koz went to block it but was too late and Mustafi, not for the first time in recent games, allowed an attacker to squeeze between him and his fellow CB and beat Ospina on his left. Upsidaisy, that was not part of the script.

To Arsenal’s credit, the boys did not panic and started to attack with more intensity. There was still a lot of miscommunication and bad passing of the ball, but with so much individual quality in the team we had a good chance to get back into the game. And soon we did. Ozil, who at the start at the game had missed a glorious opportunity to give us an early lead, crossed the ball to the edge of the box from the by-line and there was Xhaka to score ala Giroud on Saturday with a finely placed left foot shot. 1-2 and game on.

Ludogorets kept defending really well in numbers around their box but it was a simple floated cross by Rambo from the flank and an easy header past the goalkeeper by Ollie that undid them. They had prepared for the Sanchez-as-CF Arsenal but forgot to practice the classical Giroud areal threat… to devastating effect.

Equalising before the break was just what we needed and the last thing the Bulgarians had wanted.

The second half was a lot of hard work by both teams and it looked like we were going to settle for a point in the end. But there was Mesut Ozil who felt it was time to show us all how good he is again. Giroud steels the ball of a midfielder and it ends up with Elneny. The Egyptian has no hesitation in putting the ball brilliantly over the top to the German maestro. Mesut’s first, deft touch is exquisite: it keeps to momentum of the ball going but it is now under the spell of the magician. The keeper, Borjan, does well to spot the danger and comes running out; Mesut spots Borjan and then eliminates him instantly with an out-of-this-world half circle scoop only the very best are able to produce. But he is not there yet as a few eager defenders have made their way back to block any of Mesut’s attempts to shoot on goal. The German spots the danger and decides to ballet-dance his way to goal with the ball magnetised to his feet, fooling the defenders who subsequently end up on the floor and then slotting the ball home with total composure. 2-3 to the good guys!

Mesut Ozil lobs goalkeeper Milan Borjan.

More CL football in 2017 for the mighty Arsenal, even though we have two more group games to come. A job well done, decorated by one of the finest goals we have ever seen. Ooh to be…

By TotalArsenal.

21 thoughts on “Ludogorets 2 – 3 Arsenal: Blood, Sweat and Tears until Ozil’s foot-ballet

  • Watched the first half and the end of the second half.

    Without pacy wingers, we lacked incisiveness until the first goal, and the ref is a prick I should mention.

    It was good to see us labouring to a win, and one day more of rest compared to spuds is welcome.


  • You are right TA, Mesut’s goal will live long in the memory.

    As you say, the second half was more of a struggle than a goalfest that was promised by the first half. I certainly do not blame AW for making the changes. Prior to the game I suggested it would have been more straightforward if it was not the NLD coming up at the weekend. I think who played may well be dictated by who is going to be fit on Sunday?
    For example, Bellerin got a kick on his foot. He needed a break, and not being any use on the bench he did not travel. Ok for Sunday though. His replacement did not deserve the criticism he got on line … simply for not being as good as Belllerin perhaps?
    Ox rested with Sunday in mind? That might suggest Walcott will miss out on Sunday … and any England call up perhaps? (Nice one Baldrick 😀 )
    Iwobi was sacrificed for the option of Giroud, and possibly for Alexis superior tracking back …but as with Iwobi, the two changes was to the detriment of his game, but favoured Giroud to play his.
    Ramsey was a logical choice on his cameo earlier, but I think this change had a knock on effect with the other two in midfield. Understandable as they have not played as a unit before, and free styling it from the right side takes some getting used to? I suspect AW just wanted to use this game to bring Ramsey up to speed for games coming up later in the month. He will be wanted by Wales, so a quick follow up start after such a long lay off? Perhaps AW has him down for the bench in the NLD

    Both Cazorla and Monreal staying back is a little harder to read. Really serious, or tactical break?
    Gibbs starting 3 on the bounce suggests Monreal will back. Finding the right combo to replace Santi though is proving more difficult, but may suggest that our Spanish maestro is needing more time?

    I thought you were being a bit harsh on Gibbs though TA, especially as he got caught out in positioning in the same way as Monreal has repeatedly done? Yes, he messed up in the move that led to that goal – I accept your correction on my previous comment, btw. One of those mistakes that fall within ‘my parameter for errors’ 😀 – but he didn’t half put a shift in going forward?

    Overall, despite some balance issues, it was a hard earned win that they can take forward, and a few fresh(er) legs might make it a perfect start in this 11 month … let us hope injuries do not turn it into a glimpse of sunlight before a mighty storm.

    But we have our ‘Casablanca’ moment don’t we? …. Yes, we will always have Mesut’s goal …

  • Actually, it was the linesman JK.

    Oh, on Clatts for the weekend. I think he is one of the best referees around .. But! He is not ‘an Arsenal’ referee, in the way that some appeared to be in Fergie’s back pocket.
    He is a very good ref, but human. He can make mistakes. Where we gain over some, mistakes contain no bias.
    Remember that.

  • I thought Jenks was ok defensively, and put in some nice crosses. Gibbs adds alot to the push forward, and is not bad defensively.

    I dont know why, but when i saw giroud up front, i was annoyed that Alexis didnt get a rest.

    Right now, though he’s scoring already, i prefer olivier as a change of pace sub vs “park the bus” teams, when we want to start raining crosses into the box. He really does slow things down and clog us up as opposed to theo, alexis, ox, Iwobi, etc.. If you remember, he performed very well as a sub when theo started up front last year.

    Id expect Ramsey on bench this weekend, so i agree with Gerry.. And i hope he’s not overplayed on international duty.

  • It’s all gone quiet over there…
    You only sing when your losing….

    I do not get why it is so quiet on here. Not even a peep about the Spurs short lived venture into Wednesday night football?

    Oh I get it …. you’re saving yourself for Sunday?


    You don’t want to wake the curse of November?

    Oh dear, it’s not you, it’s me isn’t it? ? Like JK said, I wrote so much that nobody had anything to add?

    I take a week off … fill your boots…


    p.s. Nice one Jnyc. I am glad I am not alone(with Waldo) in thinking that Jenks did okay, in the circumstances.
    Ramsey repeated himself about playing centrally, without actually admitting that he did leave Jenks to his own devices far too often.

    I know it sounds contradictory to say that Ox did fine doing exactly the same thing previously, but the difference was it was clear that he and Elneny worked together. If Ox went inside, Elneny went wide. If Elneny went forward, Ox was deeper. How much that came from training, or was just developed out of common sense I have no idea. May be it Was simply Elneny’s experience, and organised it on the night. All I know is whenever I clicked in to see who was where, it looked impressive. It helped Coquelin too. It gave the team a balance look at the back.

    Strangely enough, Ramsey’s play reminded me as to what was wrong with Ox’s game last season. Trying too hard to impress, and not playing the team game? He will be fine when he eventually gets his wish as the B2B CM. At least his partner will no what he is doing?

    I also agree with you about Giro being more a Plan B, not an intrusion into Plan A. We have the players to give him the crosses for him to still have a big impact. Right now I think AW is keeping Alexis sweet regards your last point?

    My final wish of the week, find the balance that can keep Iwobi high up the pitch, and not have to waste energy, and talent, defending.


  • Johnnie, Gibbs and possibly Jenkinson are good nr2s but it was very clear to me that Nacho and Bellerin are way ahead of them. Jenkinson has only just returned from injury so I will give him time, but he is very one footed and technically limited imo.

  • Gerry, I am starting a new project on Monday and will put the blog on holiday for a couple of months from Sunday. So you better use the next few days to converse with us about all your remaining ideas before it is too late 😅

  • Gerry, no offense taken, and when we win we forgot about the time we complained “Wenger Out”… Maybe not..

    The “less noise” here is not so much about the team.. maybe there is not so much to add per the team performance, so literally there is nothing much to write about.


  • I am going to miss this from my daily routine, but home priorities must come first.
    I wish you well on your new project, and hope it concludes around the Christmas break?
    All the very best, Gerry

    My final word is this, from the Christmas forecast post, editing out the New Years Eve fixture
    We will play Giroud, with Perez, against Sansea. Probably at the expense of Alexis and Iwobi. Giroud because he will be invaluable against Llorente in our box defending.
    We win 2-1
    Next is the Ludogoret’s CL game at home, and play with the Plan A team, fully rested.
    We win 3-0
    Only 3 days later we play Middlesborough, the banana skin! Much changed team, probably Gabriel for Kos, Ramsey for Xhaka, Iwobi for Ozil, Giroud with Alexis, and it backfires. ‘Boro are capable of scoring, and do so. Complacency set in, as the main cause.
    Lose 1-2
    EFL game next, v Reading. Similar line up to the last round.
    Win 2-0
    Sunderland away on the Sunday. Ludogorets, away on the Tuesday. Tricky? CL more important if we are to top the group. Sunderland important, but they don’t score very often. Change from the Boro game. Gritty stuff but hold on.
    Win 1-0
    Ludogorets away. Fittest members of the ‘A gamers’.
    Win 1-2
    Tottingham home. The usual stuff from a derby game. An injury or a red card?
    Draw 1-1
    A 13 day break for another Interlull I assume? Good chance of exaggerating injuries to fully rest up players?
    Man U away. The full A gamers. Must win. Do win!
    Win 2-4
    CL – PSG at home. A bit jaded from the weekend effort.
    Draw 1-1
    Bournemouth at home. Modified team, but successful
    Win 3.0
    EFL? First we have to beat Reading. Next, await on the draw. Third, scheduled only two days after the League game. How strong a team we can muster, and how strong the opposition are open questions. But both sides will know win this, and they are only two games away from a Wembley trophy?
    WHA away … but no travelling. Strong team needed, especially if they have got their act together?
    Tentative win 2-3
    CL away at Basel. We should be too strong, but not a given.
    Win 0-2
    Stoke at home. So many games are beginning to take their toll.
    Draw 1-1
    Everton away. Open game suits our play. A gamers come good, again
    Man City away. Could we? Bouyed by the previous win. Yes!
    WBA away. Turgid game, but yes, a scraped victory
    Summary to date, 4th November 2016.

    We are 1 point better off as we got a draw with Middlesborough. I expect some rotation.

    I have us down for a draw against Spurs, but we look in a slightly better place as things stand. It also means they will be smarting after their managers comments today?
    What shape we will be in by December is any ones guess, but if you book mark this post you can follow my predictions perhaps? It will probably need you to keep it in your ‘History’ though.
    I originally forecast 41 points, including C. Palace, so that drops to 40 now.
    I also suggested a 10 point drop if we did not rotate!
    Also, it looks like the WBA game will be rescheduled because we are involved in the EFL Cup game.

    Bye for now,

  • Total, I’m gonna miss checking comments here daily. Maybe try to post a general expected back date, so we’ll all be reminded when to start checking back, and get right up to speed.
    Good luck in your endeavor.

  • The blog going on holiday?!?…. Oh no…. 😦

    That’s not the best news to hear after my “media lock-down” on Tuesday (I was traveling…) so that I could watch the match as if it were live. Of course after the opponent scored two quick ones I broke the lock-down and checked in on the blogs… 😀 I’m only now just catching up but I’ve seen the whole match and at least scanned the comments here…

    And, lo and behold… I don’t really have anything to add to your excellent match summary…except maybe another Wow, what a goal…

    Keep us posted (somehow) about your blogging plans…I’ll miss it…

  • Cheers 17HT and Johnnie be good 🙂

    27 December I will publish a new post, but first we will do a match preview and review for the Spuds game. Just wanted to give prior warning. 🙂

  • Ah, timely comeback on my birthday, no less.

    Good luck TA after this weekend and the review, then see you guys on the day I was born.

    Gonna miss your posts guys.


  • Everyone mark 12/27 on your electronic reminder calendars for Totals Bergkampesque.. i just did..
    I’ll look forward to totts preview and discussion this week.

  • Before New Post pops up, here are the Fantasy Leader Board numbers from WK 10:

    CLYDE’S 14+1……………….62 ….. 438
    DOINK CITY…………………..59 ……. 436
    UNDERRATED……………… 50 …… 414
    AWAY GUNNER………………36 ….. 362
    NITTANY GUNNER………….68 …… 336

    Terrifi score fro Bods G U, 94 no less, But only 102 points between top and bottom.
    All to play for before the next up in December.

  • I’m busy moving home over the weekend, so as your not back till the 27th Total, may you and yours have a very Merry Christmas…..

    A Vorlijk Kerstfeest even….

    Chat next month amigo…. 😊

  • Hi all..
    City slip another 2 points.. time to lead the league..
    Chelsea were awsome lastnight.. it’s seem it will be London’s fighting for Trophy.. hehehe..

    2-0 for tonight.. Walcott and Ozil.. And yes.. Live here.. See you soon..

  • Thanks guys and good look with the move Allexiskev… rather you than me. 🙂

    Apologies for the delay but there is a match preview out now.

    New Post New Post 🙂

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