It was such a refreshing performance. It’s a beautiful life folks. Manchester City have done us a favour by drawing with Leicester because that means we are top of the Premier League at the start of 2016 and that City are 3 points off the pace completely. I wonder what might have been if we had taken 3 points from Southampton but then, we all wonder way too much. There can be no remedy for that, however seeing Mesut Ozil score a goal has made my festive season.
Every mistake during the Southampton game was criticised up to the hilt and Mertesacker especially was singled out for it following his abysmal display. What a lacklustre display, they said- ‘they’ being nobody in particular but there are always people who have no description and facelessly pass their lives harping on others. Mertesacker pretty much doffed his hat to those people against Bournemouth but we can come to that later.
With us being linked to every elite striker there possibly can be, I wonder if Ozil sometimes laughs to himself about how he would do with one of those. This man is absolutely from another planet. Here’s what Wenger had to say about him:
“I think he plays in a position that suits him well. He plays in a style of football that suits him well. He is, today, maybe more in a more comfortable psychological position because he’s accepted and not so much questioned than he was in the years before.
This season he was not stopped by injuries and I believe that he arrives at an age – 27 – that you think ‘it’s time for me to really be efficient in every single game, and I want to enjoy every single game.”
Those are words that are absolutely spot on, and super classy. That sort of praise doesn’t come cheap and is befitting of Ozil’s performances. He created 9 chances, out of which 4 were clear cut. This is not a player having a break out season, this is a player breaking into a new level of play that nobody else has reached yet. @7amkickoff analyses here the kind of stats he is putting up and the By The Numbers column from Arseblog analyses what kind of numbers he is going to have to put up to continue this run.
First of all let us focus on the defensive side of things which was absent in the game against Southampton. It is time, and has been for a long while, to accept that the first name on the team sheet is that of Per Mertesacker. We may complain about his lack of pace but Wenger obviously sees something in him that the rest of us do not or cannot possibly see. The BFG was a rock in defence on Monday and I daresay the only time he was left exposed is from Bellerin’s side of the pitch, something which is happening more frequently than before these days and is a cause for concern. For some time now Bellerin’s forays up the pitch have not yielded the same end product as before, and that is alarming because his pace gives us an instant out in the scenario of an open right flank. I wonder whether it is because of the absence of Ramsey from the right, and whether it could come back while Campbell is there after accilimatisation.
It was a good defensive display against a side that could have hurt us like Southampton did, by simply wanting it more. I have to say with Gabriel in the side, there is very little chance that we will be lacking in the passion department. Did you know about that hashtag he created? It started trending on Twitter. It was this tweet which put about #OurHouseOurRules. The man is well on his way to owning the jersey he was given. Several times he made aggressive but well timed tackles to keep Cech safe and he seems to be a very good buy, a slightly more aggressive and pacier Koscielny if you will. His goal was fantastic and even after that he kept attacking the ball at every corner, might have had a second too. He played a few long balls which were surprisingly accurate and it is good that we have somebody ready to step up with some passion.
The midfield coped alright with Bournemouth but it is obvious that we need replacements at this point. Ramsey may love the role to death but he hasn’t been in the position to cultivate an understanding of the teams needs from him while in that position. Chambers also made a couple of good tackles, proved his general discipline in the role if you could say that. He certainly looked less inclined to over commit as Flamini can. Not much to see here because we all know we are running short in that department and the team is doing its best to somehow get us out of this period with the requisite number of points.
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The attack was what concerned me most before the game I kid you not. We looked smack out of creativity, wouldn’t have been able to score an inventive goal even if Wenger’s life depended on it. All my concerns were put to rest though, by one man and one man alone. Mesut Ozil ran the show for Arsenal and what a show it was. A game with 7 big chances and 4 of which were created by Ozil alone. Time and again he looked up and carved the opposition defence apart with art. This was best illustrated by his ball for Theo Walcott to race onto which simultaneously took half the Bournemouth team out of the game for a split second. If that were a goal, I would have said it was his best assist of the season.
Everybody else was relegated to becoming side notes in the Mesut Ozil show but we still had some decent plays. Oxlade Chamberlain showed some good energy and attacking intent with his trademark dribbles although I seem to remember him dribbling more into crossing position than into shooting position. He almost always ends up near the corner flag and that may yet be a good thing, just look at Douglas Costa at Bayern Munich, crosses flying in from every angle and cutbacks into the box at the speed of a missile. Somehow this has to be the next step in the Ox’s career. Theo was good with the runs although his final touch and therefore finishing left a lot to be desired. There could have been more goals on the night but we simply did not convert them.
Olivier Giroud’s flick deserves a paragraph of its own. Ozil played a quick one two outside the box before putting it to Giroud who sent it back to Ozil as elegantly as he could. This was the exact sort of flick he employed for THAT goal from Jack Wilshere. This array of flicks is quite astonishing really and Giroud deserves much more credit for his link up play than he gets, so when he does something special like that-it is really good to see. Ozil’s finish as always was assured and thoughtful, slotting it under the keeper for his 3rd goal of the season in the Premier League.
On a night when expectations weren’t exactly high we managed to put up a calm and assured performance which always looked like ending in 3 points for us. As the business end of the season approaches the confidence gathered from these games will help us edge the oppositions in the future by a single goal because although we haven’t kept too many clean sheets lately, keeping one is proof that the defence can hold on to the slightest of advantages. Let us now look forward to the next adventure that the Arsenal will bring us and hope that it ends in a high.
Sohum Sen is a half Bengali-half Gujarati Gooner from Kolkata, India. He lives the highs and lows with Arsenal and has a soft spot for Wenger. The things he loves most in the world are as follows- his little sister, his girlfriend and the Arsenal. Always available for a good debate, he fancies himself as a bit of a philosopher and as a tactician. He happens to be studying for a degree in Electrical Engineering, while simultaneously dreaming of writing a blog. He hopes to be a ST holder one day.