There are only so many games where you can spot the spectacular and Bayern was one of those games where the spectacular was coming from the opposition, which is why there was no post from me on that game. The Spurs game seemed to be going the same way and after the first half I was loathe to watch any more. It was one of those days Arsenal have at the cusp of certainty, when they need one single other win to just burst into flames. However, I trudged on with it in the hope of a renewed attacking threat from the Arsenal side. Needless to say it was more of the same in the second half except for one man. That man was Mesut Ozil.
Game after game this guy has been spinning out the goods and he doesn’t look like he is going to stop any time soon. Only some shoddy finishing and a bit of bad luck stopped him from getting a couple more assist to his name. There is only so much you can say about the bloke’s consistency so let’s tackle his in game performance.
Ozil managed a Whoscored.com rating of 8.2 for the game and it was very apparent from the 60th minute onwards that he was trying to take the game to the opposition by himself. Cazorla was apparently not well and so his first half performance is excused, but this makes Ozil’s second half performance even more astonishing. Without the pivot that our little Spaniard provides, the German was left to do everything on his own and he came out tops by any analysis. He created a whopping 7 clear cut chances in the match and to me 3 of them looked like ‘big chances’, and I am not sure what the statistics say but I think he made a good few crosses into the box, say around six or seven.
This is of course including corners but I believe corner delivery has been improved drastically in recent times. Whether it is some very specific training drill that the team are doing more of these days or whether Ozil’s really found his stride I do not know but it is benefiting the team. We look much more threatening with Ozil on the corners- the opposition goalkeepers seem to get nervous almost. If I remember correctly Lloris never even came off his line for a ball, even though some of them he could have gotten quite easily. This was because Ozil was floating in the crosses to a very specific range, the space just out of the 6-yard box which is a grey area for a goalkeeper as it causes confusions. And I use the word ‘floating’ them in but that was not what he was doing. The crosses were of every variety, from the whipped ball to the lofted delivery to the back post it was a veritable masterclass in crossing.
Ozil has been quietly developing an understanding with our fullbacks because when oppositions crowd us out of the centre, he begins to drift sideways onto the flanks and at these times the overlapping runs by Bellerin and Monreal especially alleviate a lot of the pressure from our side. I was not surprised to see that Ozil does not have that understanding with Matt Debuchy but I suppose we don’t need that as Bellerin will be back soon.
a) Giroud heading onto the bar and pummeling the ground after: I think desire is a big thing and the desire of Olivier Giroud was out there for everybody to see. With Walcott out injured and Sanchez looking jaded, Giroud is making the most of every opportunity crafted by Mesut Ozil and although he was unsuccessful and a tad unlucky yesterday, his desire is going to make sure that he gets on the scoresheets again very soon.
b) Kieran Gibbs’ goal: A left back coming on to play on the left wing with Sanchez shifted just behind the striker and Ozil moving onto the right wing? This would have seemed ludicrous to most. This just goes on to show that all of us are not Arsene Wenger and hence do not have the insight or vision to foresee where the difference maker lies on the bench. Gibbo came on to the pitch and made a telling contribution and it is good for him and for the other people on the squad who are not really starting XI material at the moment. It just goes on to show that determination goes a long way in grabbing opportunities. Kudos to Gibbs for making the run and to Ozil for seeing it.
c) Coquelin pirouetting away from two defenders before chipping a ball to the nearest player: With every game since his breakout games in December 2014 Francis Coquelin has improved. His tackling numbers and pass accuracy are all up and so is his dribbling ability though I am not sure it shows up on the stats as such because they don’t qualify as ‘take ons’ most of the time. However his close control has improved dramatically and he is making it apparent. I bet he’s a quick learner, and with Cazorla to teach him I see a good end product waiting.
Olivier Giroud: Another frustrating afternoon at the ground for Ollie boy I’d say. However he ran himself into the ground for the team trying to take down every ball and trying to win every tackle. He is the one who jogs up to the opposition keeper to make sure there is no time wasting possible. He is the one making decisive runs at corners. He is the one calling for the supporters to be louder when the game isn’t going our way. Olivier has had way too many Honourable mentions from me now. I hope in the near future he will turn up and grab the column for himself.
There were a couple of players from the Spurs who weren’t half bad but they couldn’t beat us when we have nine players out and a paper thin squad, so they must be shit! Remi Garde over at Aston Villa did us the mercy of holding City to a draw and since he’s a former Gunner I can’t help but think it was sweet fate. Thanks to Remi for the favour and a stick up the arse to the Spuds.
It’s good times people, don’t let anybody tell you otherwise. Look at the League table. There’s Christmas coming. The run of fixtures support me. I can feel it. Onwards and upwards!
Mesut Ozil with now 10 assists leads the Premier League in assists and indeed he leads all the European leagues in assists. This is why Wenger bought him and why he did not buy Cesc back. If he continues providing goal chances and his colleagues keep taking them he will break all existing records. He is on target to assist over 30 times in a 38 game season!!!
The Record for a season in this league by the way is 20 held by a certain Thierry Henry