The Welsh Jesus has returned. Against Stoke, Ramsey showed a glimpse of the player who shone in the 13/14 season. His first touch was sharp, it allowed him to quickly pick out an offensive pass; no more 360′ wide-turns, slowing down our attack. Watching him off the ball was a revelation: his stamina is truly remarkable, box-to-box, late runs, tracking back, assured in defence – and continually raising his hand and asking for more. He may have occasionally taken up the positions you’d have expected Lacazette to be in – but then again, if Ramsey hadn’t been there, who is to say Alexandre would have?
The one player who looked like he would make something happen, every time he received the ball. Whether playing as an advanced wing back in a Back 3, or as a traditional RB – the Ox once again made a case for his retention. For me, he is streets ahead of Bellerin (I personally don’t get the Hector love-fest) – and I believe there is plenty more to come from the Ox. Pay him the damn money (take it from Theo, ffs) and give him a chance to reach his potential at Arsenal. I love his attitude, I see improvement in his crossing and defending, and I’d love to see him succeed here. He had his faults, but he is certainly our most exciting player with ball at feet, and I love watching him.
I must admit – the transfer hype made me very sceptical. But I have nothing but praise for the diminutive French striker. He was superb with back to goal; he collected, retained and distributed the ball with aplomb. He poached, he made great runs, and he was denied a fantastic Away debut goal (to match last week’s Home debut goal) that on any other day would have been given. I honestly believe that he is going to thrive at Arsenal, especially when Alexis returns.
I love dat guy. I get so sad when I see his eagerness short-circuit his efficiency in front of goal. He works tirelessly to drive the team forward; his dribbling skill is unquestionable. However – when faced with a scoring opportunity, he tends to overcomplicate things.
Be The Force, Danny. Stop thinking. Let it flow.
Had a decent game – made some good decisions – when to come out, when to turn back – and some fine reflexive saves. He was far more commanding in the box, under crosses, unlike last week. Can’t help feeling that he could have done better on the goal conceded. Can’t blame him for our wastefulness at the other end of the pitch though.
Needs to find some consistency. Although he fights to win them back, his sloppy passes have proved costly for us. He had had a couple of questionable performances, which I hope will not be indicative of his season to come. Hopefully he can regain his distributive sharpness and return to lasering balls to our strikers and wingbacks.
Continues to frustrate. There is no denying his positive attributes, however it is his negative attributes that confound. Firstly, his aversion to any kind of physicality, he ducks out of challenges, is bullied too easily off the ball, and won’t even consider competing for a header.
I’m sure his frustration in not having the many chances he creates converted must be mind-numbing. He quite obviously misses Alexis. However, his tendency to drop his shoulders, mutter under his breath, and sulk when things don’t go his way, or when the ref doesn’t offer him protection, are unacceptable. Ozil’s immediate slumpy response to Xhaka’s misplaced pass contributed to their goal: he could very easily have recovered the ball due to the intercepting Stoke player’s poor first touch.
Obviously other factors contributed – Ox not tracking back, Monreal hesitating, Cech beaten too easily – but football is built on many tiny, instantaneous decisions, something Ozil excels at on a skill level, but on a mental level seems to be found wanting.
Whereas his substitute decisions were impeccable last week, this week he essentially defused our attack. Walcott offered absolutely nothing. Iwobi was so careful and back-offish that he ended up slowing us down. Giroud possibly could have done better with the one good chance he had, but I still think he performed admirably. (I’m glad we didn’t sell him).
I don’t know how Mustafi ended up being such an integral part of our attack in the dying minutes!? – it wasn’t helpful at all. Hopefully Wenger (or Bould) can cut that part out of his game.
Wenger’s post-match comments about his central defence were classic Wengerismic waffle: he had the opportunity to pick actual centre backs and didn’t. Not sure why. He’d have to ask himself that question…
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Andre Marriner (Referee)
Had a shocking game. Didn’t issue any yellows (as far as I remember) – despite a fairly physical battle. Could have awarded Arsenal at least 2, possibly 3 penalty kicks.
His assistant flagged Lacazette for offsides, disallowing what should have been a cracking equaliser, when the barest sliver of our new striker’s boot was ahead of the last defender. Unlucky? Definitely. Agenda? Probably not. But then again…
A game we should have won, with the amount of possession and chances we had. Questionable refereeing, and an obstinate opposition (with a keeper who played his socks off) means that our terrible opening-2-games-of-the-season record still stands.
Onward and upward. Plenty of ups and downs still to come.