Auba the Mentor, Ozil Purrrs Again, Two MOTMs, BFG’s Impact: 8 Observations

West Ham 1 – 3 Arsenal: Three Priceless Points for Fab Freddie

As a passionate fan it is hard to analyse the game straight after it has finished, so further analysis will follow by me or a fellow BKer in the next few days. We need to understand in full why and how things turned round for us in the second half and whether this can be contributed to Freddie’s team-talk/tactical changes at the break. There really never was a better example of a game of two halves: the first one was pretty dire and the second one was pretty impressive. 

Ieder schot op doel is raak voor Arsenal bij beëindigen van horrorreeks

Here are some initial observations of a well-deserved and much needed win:

  1. Freddie was of course a winger/midfielder during his player days and his biggest contribution until now is getting some confidence back into our wingers. Martinelli and Pepe both had sublime second halves with a goal each (and involvement in all goals). Now I am calling Martinelli a winger because that is what he was asked to do today, but he really is an all-round attacker with great runs and presence in the box. Both players announced themselves today and are my Men of the Match!
  2. Ozil was much less isolated in the second half and so he could start his passing game and make things happen. He had pre-assists in our second and third goal, with quick and well-placed passes from the ‘hole’ area. Mesut is not back to his old self yet, and he may not get back to that level again, but today he was very good again at controlling our game and using the available space.
  3. Torreira and Xhaka are becoming a partnership again. Both players had their confidence undermined by the previous manager – in different ways – and it is taking them time to get it back and to click as a partnership. Both had a couple of poor, rusty moments, but it would be silly to focus on those too long. Xhaka and Torreira were key to our revival in the second half: they moved the ball quicker forward and dared to take on opportunistic passes, something the whole team struggled with during the first half. They both gave much more protection to our defence in this game than we are used to and they helped a lot in bringing Ozil into the game. It is now important to keep the midfield of Xhaka-Torreira-Ozil playing regularly.
  4. We allowed the Hammers – who, it must be said, were poor today – ‘only’ 11 shots of which four were on target. Arsenal had 10 shots with three on target (and against the inside of the net), and that is a massive improvement. As our opponents weren’t that great on the day it is hard to say whether this is something to celebrate or not, but it is definitely something to build on.
  5. Our full backs – both the nr.2 in their positions for today’s match, as Bellerin did not start and Tierney had to come off quite early in the game – had mature and well-balanced games. Kola had a great assist for the all important first goal with a well-spotted, measured and low to the ground pass and he also gave good defensive cover. AMN worked well with Pepe and had a pretty good game. Does the BFG have something to do with this?
  6. I thought we defended much better today and credit should go to both Chamber and Sok. Both are limited on the ball, especially when we try to play from the back forwards, but they are purist defenders and were strong aerially and on the ground in the box. Again, does the BFG have something to do with this?
  7. Auba looked happier as the lone CF, especially in the second half when Ozil started to purr properly. His biggest strength is of course his incredible chance-conversion, but I also rated him for the way he allowed both Pepe and Martinelli to be at their very best in such an unassuming way. Top guy.
  8. Freddie, well done my man. You changed it round in the second half and your post-game interview was very professional with typical Swedish enthusiasm and humility. You have got something to build on – a shame the Citeh game is next in the PL, but we just need to see another strong team performance (and this time for 90 minutes) and the result is less important.

By TotalArsenal.

7 thoughts on “Auba the Mentor, Ozil Purrrs Again, Two MOTMs, BFG’s Impact: 8 Observations

  • “This is down to the players – the boys did amazing – and I’m just there to guide them,” added Ljungberg.
    “In the first half we were slow and lethargic, we didn’t move or run, and that comes from low confidence but in the second half it was how we wanted to play.
    “I hope this changes the mood and the players looked happy in the dressing room. It’s been tough for them, they have been living under enormous pressure and you see it in their performances. We have a lot of things to work on but it feels nice.
    “It is amazing what they did today. I just want to enjoy the day and then get to work tomorrow. We enjoy tonight and we continue working tomorrow. We have to work on our belief – that was the difference.”

    Freddie on BBC

  • If it was us against Citeh in the first half we would have been burying our faces in our hands. I hope that the second half performance would have done good to our mentality, and we needed to do more than just win: we need to play well and break away quickly.

    Nevertheless we were hungry in the second half and it showed that we have good tactics and if the confidence is high we will win games.

    Um TA, Martinelli is similar to Henry. He will start his career as a winger, but he will end his career as an out and out striker. Many more goals to come from him too.

  • Its great to taste victory again. It was a game of two halves. That our 1st goal and particularly the 2nd goal flooded the team with confidence that had been in poor supply. Great credit to Torreira and Martinelli in the 1st half when the team was sleep walking for having kept their individual energies up.

    Playing only one of Laca/Auba improves us. In Emery’s 22 unbeaten run that was largely how he was using them. Also we are better with only one of Xhaka//Guendz playing. Freddie should stick to that simple formula.

    We now have 2 away wins and Chambers played right center half in both. Maybe we should stick with it too. In the 2nd half with confidence back he was giving penetrative passes which helped our overall transition game.

    The big but in the two halves is our playing out of the back. It is a tactic that I appreciate except we make had work of it. Against a team with good finishers (aka City) we need to be wary of bungling that phase of play.

  • Good morning 🙂

    It is amazing how many still go on about the attitude of players in blogworld. Freddie worded it perfectly in my comment above, and I hope many will print that text and put it above their TVs or computers.

  • thanks for your mention of calum, TA
    i’m very, very happy for the lad
    at long last, he was handed out a chance in his favoured position, and he sure made the most of it
    his headed clearance in the final minutes must have been cheered by graham’s back 5
    he’s the kind of reliable soldier any club needs, and as all clever payers, he ‘ll keep improving, mark my words
    glorious morning, at last
    i feel gooood

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