Mesut Treble As Round Of Sixteen Looms

Arsenal 6 – 0 Ludogrets Razgrad

Am I the only one who thought we didn’t actually play that well? I’m not complaining before you do about that sentence, just observing that I think I’ve seen us play a lot better and get less reward.

A giant step was taken towards the inevitable Round of Sixteen exit from the Champions League with this win. Mesut Özil grabbed a second half hat-trick – the first of his career – leading Arsène to tell the world that the German ‘has a taste for goals’ in the same way that a wild dog gets bloodlust.

I’m sure the Bulgarians feel hard done by with the final score. They might have had one or more themselves and would have done so were it not for a good display from David Ospina. The Colombian has exorcised the memory of Olympiacos last season – in his mind at least – with some good saves in one-on-one situations.

Even before Alexis opened the scoring, Arsenal had served notice and in all honesty, Ludogrets were poor at defending all night. It’s fair to say they won’t have played a team with a similar vibrant movement as Arsenal in their domestic game and at times, they looked overwhelmed.

And it was a marvellous opening goal, exquisite. As sublime a chip as has been seen at any of the club’s home ground. Theo joined in with a fine finish as half-time approached before Ox killed the game in the first minute of the second half. After that, it was the Mesut Özil show. Like London buses, nothing for ages and three come at once.

Three simple finishes or goals which were made to look simple. Lucas Perez got a couple of assists, might have had one himself and Arsenal played within themselves as Ludogrets lost heart. Unsurprisingly they were more intent of keeping the score down than anything else. Arsenal were passing it around but with the lead well and truly established, nobody really cared.

Afterwards, Arsène didn’t shy away from the fact that a better side than Ludogrets would have punished Arsenal more severely. It has to be acknowledged that you only beat the opposition in front of you and in all likelihood, a better side would have drawn more intensity out of Arsenal’s performance.

Arsène admitted some concern about the defensive lapses, as well as enjoying the free-scoring ways:

We could’ve paid for the chances we gave away, but as long as you score three, the opponent has to score four to beat you. Let’s continue to score goals and get these lapses of concentration out of our game.

To err is human and we’re all guilty of lapses in concentration – God knows it’s hard enough to write these posts at times without the mind wandering. Arsenal’s are more costly – or potentially so – in a ninety minute period. Some of the Ludogrets chances were through creative running and passing; some weren’t.

The latter saw the defence switch off a couple of times which is a continuation of a theme from the weekend. To me, it’s the impact of the international break and the partnership between Mustafi and Koscielny needing a game or two to get back on track.

The visitors inevitably enjoyed space on the left with Kieran Gibbs showing the impact of a lack of regular first team action; the understandings with Koscielny and Ox were rusty. I didn’t think Gibbs did badly, simply not enough to warrant his inclusion ahead of Nacho Monreal at the moment.

Inevitably with a win this big, attention is focussed on the forwards. Theo and Alexis are playing as well as they have for the club with the speed of passing from midfield giving the Chilean the opportunity to prove himself as a viable central striker. Theo, meanwhile, is in the form of his life; I can’t think of a time when he has played this consistently well which casts doubt on those who suggest he is the problem when it comes to his England career.

If he is turning it on for his club, like so many others before him the problem has to be with the national squad. This is England we’re talking about. And anyone who thinks modern football is brilliant should ponder the thought that a Chinese consortium looking to take Sunderland over has apparently identified Sam Allardyce as the ideal manager.

Back to Arsenal. With four goals in his past two games and six for the season, Mesut Özil should give his best ever goal return for a season this year. Six in total, doubling that is the magic number which is just baffling that a man as talented as he doesn’t find the net more often. If I’m honest, I think that in a straight choice between he and Dennis Bergkamp, the Dutchman wins every time for that reason alone. A mercurial talent and a joy to watch but a player who should score more often.

A comfortable win never does confidence any harm and makes the world a sunnier place. With the run of fixtures ahead, the chance to put together a strong run ahead of the matches against Tottenham and United either side of the next international break presents itself. Is this the year the November hoodoo is put to bed? Well, we beat Chelsea and Swansea at home so anything is possible…

’til Tomorrow.

 

88 thoughts on “Mesut Treble As Round Of Sixteen Looms

  1. andy1886 says:

    Morning YW. I thought we played pretty well, the odd defensive lapse aside. Not brilliantly, but then we didn’t need to against a poor side. Sure we took our foot off the gas at times but that’s what Arsenal under AW have always done. Some sides like Fergie’s United, Barca, Bayern etc, would have really hammered them but we favour conserving energy over being ruthless. It’s just the way we are.

  2. Damon says:

    andy1886,

    Why do we have to conserve energy at 1:0 though? I remember the invincibles putting three past Charlton inside twenty minutes. Then cruised.

    That’s a winning mentality that isn’t complacent. We could’ve easily been 2:1 down before Theo scored and on another night against another team, we would’ve been. And then the old wobbles rear their head….

    I know we might not have gone so relaxed after the goal against a “better” team, but these are the sorts of games we should be practising and honing that killer instinct in.

  3. C says:

    Good post Yogi and I think I will have to look into how many times he’s grabbed a brace.

    For as much criticism that I have given Arsene, and even though its still early days in the season, I have to tip my hat for not only gathering this group of players but a d most importantly being able to change our style of play back to how we played prior to the arrival of Giroud.

    Our front 4 have been nothing short of brilliant and its good to see us punish a side like that when we have seen in the past we woukd struggle and one of those early chances that they had would have been scored.

    Well done to Gibbs and Ox who both I thought struggled early on but both had good 2nd halfs.

  4. silvergunner says:

    Morning YW a good win!!
    Yea we have played better and not won as convincingly but today I don’t care we are on the cusp of coming out of the group, hopefully as group winners.
    I can’t remember who said it yesterday but we need to make sure Bellerin gets rest against Reading.
    On Ozil I am going to push the boat out and say he will get more goals than assists this season.
    The great thing about the system we are playing now is the goals are coming from so many sources. It makes us difficult to play against as there is no focal point for opposing defenders to focus on.
    Giroud is going to find it tough to get back into the team.

  5. C says:

    andy1886,

    To be fair, we had a couple of chances early, like when Ozil played Sanchez clean through only for the ball to ger stuck in his feet or when all Ox had to do was a simpke square pass for Theo to easily tap in.

    I’m not sure ita conserving energy as much as it is the games settling down after 20 mins.

  6. C says:

    The only semi-worry was Santi being wraooed in ice, hope it was just pre-cautionary though Elneny comes in and the team doesn’t miss a beat because he plays a very similiar style and also presses a bit more.

  7. C says:

    O and please give Perez more match time. I wouldn’t mind seeing him against Middlesbrough but I figure he will start against Reading.

  8. Arsetralian says:

    Ultimately AW gave the game away with his ‘we score 3 you need to score 4’ comment.

    He would rather play football to create and score goals than aim to just win.

    I like that philosophy and actually the most consistently successful teams have that confidence to play others off the park. Yes stubborn teams who play to spoil get results but not consistently. And it is always a bit rotten. I liked George Graham beating Parma 1-0 of course and resilient to a man but it was ugly.

    We just haven’t managed to play good football at Barca level although we usually score against them or draw in a good glowing contest. We play football and I like that.

    Loved your DB 10 comment YW. Very true but it would be great to have a proper hero again at Arsenal.

  9. C says:

    Hahaha I see Micheal Owen is still having a go at Ozil and saying he isn’t a big match player. Owen is a fucking moron and maybe he hates Ozil for actually making it at Madrid and not being an expensive bust!

  10. C says:

    I think the biggest thing with the comparision between Ozil and Bergkamp is that Ozil is a natural classic #10 who we all know can score goals while Bergkamp was a striker who obviously couls create. Different mind sets and completely different players.

  11. Arsetralian says:

    Ps glad my prediction of Gabriel Holding was utter nonsense – we would have been 0-2 after 15

  12. Wailesy says:

    Nice piece Yogi.

    You must be the last one standing needing exorcising of the memories of Olympiacos Yogi.
    Ospina was solid as always.

    I know what you mean about how well we played. We have problems at the back especially when the ball comes in from the left. Wenger’s aware of it but whether he or SB can do anything about it remains to be seen. Let’s hope you’re right and it’s an international hangover.

    Walcott’s form is incredible considering how poor he was in the states pre season.
    Great win!

  13. C says:

    Just saw Arsene’s comments on Santi’s Achillies. If there is any doubt about him, rest him, Elneny is more than capableand the pressing between he and Le Coq would be a joy plus, he literally never loses possession.

  14. nicky says:

    Watching the game on TV, for the first 4 or 5 minutes I thought we had a fight on our hands. The Bulgarians had the possession, our defence kept a tantalising high line and only poor finishing prevented a 0-1 score. But after Alexis had delighted us with a delicate lob, it was Arsenal FC in control for the rest of the match.
    You say Yogi, that ” a better side would have drawn more intensity out of Arsenal’s performance”, and that is true. But a team can only play as well as the circumstances permit and we did well last night. 😉

  15. Wailesy says:

    C,

    I tip my hat to you C.
    You called for a interchangeable front 3 with Giroud as the plan B from the start. But I just didn’t see Sanchez as a 9.
    I’m thinking now he is but I’ve never seen a 9 play so deep!
    Looks like I’ll have to eat that hat!?

  16. HenryB says:

    Damon:
    andy1886,

    Why do we have to conserve energy at 1:0 though?I remember the invincibles putting three past Charlton inside twenty minutes.Then cruised.

    That’s a winning mentality that isn’t complacent.We could’ve easily been 2:1 down before Theo scored and on another night against another team, we would’ve been.And then the old wobbles rear their head….

    Stop it Damon — you are beginning to mirror my own thoughts.

    It was a good win and very enjoyable to watch, but if they had taken their early chances ……. but then that is football. I have seen games where we were totally superior with 75% of the possession and some good approach play and be unable to score …… a hit and hope from the opposition and we have lost 0 : 1.
    C’est la vie – as Ras might say. 😀

    I’m watching England v Bangladesh, along with 6 men and a dog in their beautiful stadium. Weird.

  17. HenryB says:

    Wailsey,

    You stop it too — you will make The Father of C even more prideful!

    He is right of course, that the present side with the pace and interchangeability of the front 3 is far better than a leaden footed Giro, much though I like him, but a pacy honest to goodness dedicated CF would be even better, as none of the three lads is a ‘real’ CF — but they are putting two fingers up to those, like me, who are puzzled (and happy) that it is working. 😀

  18. Dukey says:

    I like the Ox on the left.

    Lets hope this tail can wag.

  19. C says:

    Wailesy,

    The thought of Sanchez dropping deep doesn’t suit most, but I think part of what allows for it to happen is that we have seen Theo and Ozil pop up there. Its also the change in style, going to a more high tempo, high pressing takes advantage of an interchangeable front 3 along with Ozil.

  20. Wailesy says:

    Hi Henry,

    Too busy yesterday?

    We’ll pick up Icardi in January Henry which for those like you and me will be more puzzling and…. and….. no more happy?

  21. C says:

    HenryB,

    Prideful, futbol whether its being a supporter or playing is too humbling of a game for that.

    I will say though, I am really hoping to see a front 3 of Sanchez/Perez/Theo because I think that would be even more potent than Iwobi/Sanchez/Theo simply because Iwobi is still developing in and while his goals will come (the lad is simply too talented and has that ‘calm’ about him) I wonder how Perez would get on.

    His two assists too Ozil last night were both very good balls.

  22. andy1886 says:

    That’s just it – we are just not a ruthless team. We want to outplay sides, but we don’t want to grind them into the dust. I don’t think that we cooled it a bit in the first half, I agree the game settled for a while, but in the second half the intensity did drop even if we did knock in four goals. It might seem obtuse to say yes we scored six but we could have had double figures, but it’s that ruthless mentality you need in tougher games when you take on the big boys.

  23. fabrechenko says:

    kudos to the ludo guys, they didn’t play with a mourinho mentality, at a point before theo’s goal, i thought arsenal were playing in green jerseys.

  24. mesutsleftfoot says:

    Shame Santi and Xhaka will miss the game this weekend! El Neny to start it is!

    So happy Ozil realised he doesn’t have to look for the pass all the time, always seems to pop up in the box these days now!

  25. blazon says:

    Mesut Ozil
    will listen to any reasonable proposil
    but does not countenance fools
    who persist in questioning his goalscoring tools.

  26. mesutsleftfoot says:

    HenryB,

    Football is all if and buts….what is Swanea had scored 2 before we did?…Fact is they didn’t…

  27. C says:

    mesutsleftfoot,

    Elneny isn’t a bad option at all. Actually, I think Xhaka, Santi, LE Coq and Elneny have been really good; all bringing different qualities that allow them to play together. The other thing is, Elneny actually has a style similar to Santi but presses more.

  28. C says:

    andy1886,

    Like the 3-0 against Chelsea? I think there are some things that are changed about this side, most notably the spine of the team. Sanchez, Ozil, Xhaka, Kos/Mustafi seem to be leading this side not just vocally on the pitch but in their play. The toughness will come from them. The one thing that I actually see happening is Ozil or Sanchez having a bad game and people immediately saying, “see if was just a mirage” but then they produce that bit of magic.

  29. jonnygunner says:

    Great result for us-and good to know that we have a squad that allows us a like for like substitute for most of our positions.
    Our squad is a lot stronger this season and touch wood,nearly everyone is fit.

  30. nicky says:

    @HenryB,
    Anything over 250 after a poor start would be acceptable.
    Visited Chittagong in 1944 but not for cricket. 😉

  31. Highbury says:

    C:
    Good post Yogi and I think I will have to look into how many times he’s grabbed a brace.

    For as much criticism that I have given Arsene, and even though its still early days in the season, I have to tip my hat for not only gathering this group of players but a d most importantly being able to change our style of play back to how we played prior to the arrival of Giroud.

    Our front 4 have been nothing short of brilliant and its good to see us punish a side like that when we have seen in the past we woukd struggle and one of those early chances that they had would have been scored.

    Well done to Gibbs and Ox who both I thought struggled early on but both had good 2nd halfs.

    I am 100 percent with you. The team is playing at a level I never even imagined. Kudos to the manager and the players.

  32. Highbury says:

    Yogi

    I don’t think we played badly at all. At 1 nil I remember saying to myself, what a good examination this team is providing us with. I prefer teams that challenge us in the manner Ludogorets did for there is no better preparation for mid table PL teams.

    The other thing is that should we continue on this trajectory, it’s not going to be “the inevitable round of 16 exit”.

  33. C says:

    Highbury,

    I know its just early days and so I am tipping my hat because I didn’t think that Arsene had it in him.

    I know its not a zero sum game 😉 , but I think it will be interesting to see what happens wehn Giroud and Ramsey are fit again.

  34. Dukey says:

    I can’t see how giroud can get back in the side, I’d rather theo in the middle with perez and Iwobi either side if Sanchez pulls up lame. Or perez in the middle with the Ox and Iwobi either side if both walnut and Sanchez are out.

  35. Dukey says:

    And isn’t it amazing, we see it time and time again that when a player is up for contract renewal time they start playing like Greek gods.

  36. C says:

    Dukey,

    To be fair he played like a Greed God last year. Tend to think a certain manager does a job too!

  37. austinpaul says:

    Brillant writeup as always YW!sometime last season wen criticism nd negatives conerning *rsenal and AW was all pervading , I did say that the team was work in progress, now everyone can see the finished product. Wjich is wat we are now enjoying. I read an article. Today presumably put out by Dailystar .com claiming Arsenal will be 6th at the end of the season; am quite amazed about the negative thoughts these media. Outfits spew everyday concerning Arsenal,unfortunately such nonsense are mere wish of detractors bcos Arsenal will suprise even themselves this season no matter the conspiracy in high places; this season is a season of the ‘doubles’-a very successful season indeed! Every true Arsenal must keep faith with the Club in all circunstances.Shallom!!!

  38. Stringer says:

    The invincibles were an incredible team but listening to some you would think they won every game by a minimum 3 goals. We drew 12 games that season and certainly had some luck along the way, penalty miss at old Trafford and penalty given at home to Portsmouth when we’re playing terrible that day are just two examples. Reality can be difficult but it really does help the truth.

  39. bob says:

    biggest problem will be when ramsey is back. arsene likes him and will play him. however, I think he will slow the team down and severely damage our tempo. I hate when he gets the ball and tries to turn around the ball instead of quickly passing it forward. id rather have perez given more of a run out than ramsey. for the first assist he gave ozil, ramsey would have cut inside, taken another touch and then tried to cross, by which time the chance would have gone.
    also, did anyone see the number of interceptions that coquelin made? quite impressive he was.

  40. Phil says:

    Afternoon,
    Finally back in the Northern hemisphere and at the Emirates last night.
    So busy enjoying the game that the no beer policy wasn’t an issue.
    A lot of positives right now.
    Amazing what some depth in the squad can do.

  41. Dukey says:

    C,

    I’m not taking anything away from ooozil and Sanchez as they have performed very well since they both arrived, it’s just lets be honest this season they have upped the anti, whilst contract renewal time(shop window?) looms over. It’s just a human nature thing though but it’s an interesting part of psychology.

  42. philmar says:

    andy1886:
    Morning YW.I thought we played pretty well, the odd defensive lapse aside.Not brilliantly, but then we didn’t need to against a poor side.Sure we took our foot off the gas at times but that’s what Arsenal under AW have always done.Some sides like Fergie’s United, Barca, Bayern etc, would have really hammered them but we favour conserving energy over being ruthless.It’s just the way we are.

    That, I believe is due to insufficient squad rotation. Players can run over 10 km a game (much of it at sprint speed) and know they’ll have to do it again in 3 more days. When we have a lead they often switch off because they are conserving their energy because they know there’s little rotation.

  43. Bill says:

    Great post yogi

    Fantastic game yesterday. We played at home against a team from a very small league and we should have beaten them but yesterday was a awesome no matter who we were playing. I absolutely love the fact that we did that while only having 45% of the ball possession. We talked about ball possession a a lot for the last couple of seasons but our possession and passing stats are certainly down from last year but not surprisingly our attacking effectiveness is way up.

    We have gone thru a run of form where we are the best team in the league in just about every season in the entire Emirates era but hopefully this time we can find some consistency. Its hard not to get excited about the way we are playing right now. Its the best run of form since Jan – March of 2015. The fact that we are doing this without falling into our tippy tappy habit is really encouraging. I don’t expect Ozil to get many more hat tricks but I hope he can continue to score. We have plenty of playmakers but goals from the number #10 position are something we really could have used for the last several seasons. Where was this Ozil and Theo when we needed them last season? I guess better late then never and long may it continue.

  44. Phil says:

    How are things Dukey?
    Must be feeling good about how we are playing now?

  45. Phil says:

    We do look the goods on the counter. Speed, precision passing, and importantly finding the net

  46. Jerry says:

    I thought we where much better v Basle personally..great win though

  47. C says:

    Dukey,

    It can be human nature, but I also think we are actually playing to their strengths and not trying to fit square pegs in round holes.

  48. lemayian wesley says:

    cocquelin was tremendous yesterday defensively

  49. C says:

    Bill,

    Theo was stuck on the bench with both he and Arsene still solely focused on making him a CF and was both out of form and confidence. Ozil was creating the most chances in PL history for a single season only to be failed by Giroud at CF and Sanchez on the left.

    Goals from teh #10 position or from the 2nd striker is a bit overrated and overblown if you ask me. Say we play with 2 strikers, well one of them is going to be the creator or pivot while the other is much more of the goal scorer. Henry and Bergkamp played and Henry was the goal scorer to Bergkamp’s overall brilliance. Leicester won the PL last season playing with Verdy the goal scorer and Okazaki the tireless worker and bringing the overall aspects to the game. Citeh won the title with Yaya playing in the much deeper position with Silva being the chief creator to Aguero.

  50. Bill says:

    I know we spent a lot of money on Xhaka but we have done very well with Le Coq at DM. We don’t need high level technical expertise at every position. Its not that having high level technical skill is bad but I think we can actually have to many players who try to be playmakers and we end up passing for its own sake rather then just sending the ball forward. Xhaka certainly makes a nice back up.

  51. Bill says:

    C

    Theo moved to the RW and played a lot at that position last season and you know as well as I how poorly he played. He is one of the least effective players in the squad when he is not scoring but for some reason he has found his shooting boots this season and now he is undroppable. Long may this continue.

  52. C says:

    Bill,

    I wouldn’t say least effective but that is a debate for another day and time not to mention I stated that he lost both confidence and form. Lets just focus on your enjoying Theo and NOT just his scoring but his work rate and everything else that he brings like his movement to help create space for others.

  53. Dukey says:

    C,

    Agree about the square pegs in round holes, I bet Wenger was rubbish with that toy as a kid.

  54. C says:

    Dukey,

    Yup! I wonder, was he worst at that toy or trying to zip up his coat…..

  55. Dukey says:

    Shoe laces…. That would have caused him trouble.

  56. Bill says:

    Last season Theo and Alexis were playing with the man who created the most chances in the history of the PL but their finishing was miserable. This year for some reason Ozil and our midfield are not creating the same number of chances or assists but Theo and Alexis are scoring goals on chances they probably would never have finished last season. This season I think we have one of the highest goal/shot ratios in the league. Who knows why that is happening. Sanchez has even morphed into our chance creator and assist provider in chief.

    I think part of the reason is the chances created stat is flawed. The “chances” that we create when we are in tippy tappy mode are much harder to finish. The defense has time to set up while we are pinging the ball around midfield and its much harder to finish when the shot comes after we have given the defense time to organize. I also think that part of this is just a good run of form in front of goal. Giroud and Ramsey did this in the first half of the 13/14 season. Alexis was unstoppable in the first half of his first season, Theo has had good runs in the past. Even Cazorla was our top scorer in his first season with the club. Who knows how long this current hot streak will last but its certainly fun while its happening.

  57. HenryB says:

    I was reminded by a screen shot on BT last night of the teams that have knocked Arsenal out over the last 8 years.

    1 * Manure, 3 * by Barcelona; 2 * by Bayern Munich, 2 * by Milan, 1 * by Monaco so if you are going to get knocked out, then other than Monaco …….. not a bad bunch of opposition clubs.

    Win the group, Arsene, and all may change this season. 🙂

  58. HenryB says:

    Sorry, Bill, but there is circularity to your interpretation of the ‘assists’ and what they mean.

    By definition, an assist is only an assist when the person who is given the chance scores.

    Özil’s record of ‘assists’ is not just done to him, but also the wally he hits the ball into row z, or completely misses a tap in. Now my buddy, C, will think I am talking about Theo, and I am, but he is not the only one.

    So to try and interpret data on an assist, or a lack of an assist, as down to Özil, or Santi or whoever, is not really very meaningful — much tho I know you like to do so. 😀

  59. Dukey says:

    Bill, C. How about we call it a draw/tie. A bit of both of your points I think.

  60. Bill says:

    Henry @ 5:04

    I agree. That is a point we have discussed a lot in the past. You can have the greatest creative players in the world but they can’t score be themselves. The great creative play is attractive to watch but its comes to nothing without the forwards to turn those beautiful passes into goals. Ozil was clearly at his creative best last year. Statistically he had one of the best creative season in the PL this century but we had one of the worst attacking season of any Arsenal team in this century. This year Ozil and our midfield has the benefit of playing with 2 of the best “in form” forwards in the league and if they were creating a lot of good chances then you would expect that they would have lots of assists. However, Ozil had not recorded a single assist before yesterday and none of our midfielders had recorded an assist since the Liverpool game. IMO, the only logical way to interpret that is that Ozil and our midfield in general have not been at the same “creative” level this season. However, despite not having that same degree of “creative influence” from our midfield this team is currently on pace to score the most goals of any Arsenal team in the Wenger era. You can interpret that data any way you want.

  61. HenryB says:

    I tend not to interpret data to be honest – there is no base plate against which to measure football actions.

    I see what your are getting at in your in your 5 : 47, but without the specific data on which you rely, I can neither agree or disagree with you – so I will, just for this once 🙂 go and see what I can find.
    Altho even with the data, what does it tell us — everything is simply guesswork without more data from football as a whole, and not many will be assed with that. 🙂

    In the meantime I suspect C will have an alternative opinion! 😀

  62. HenryB says:

    Well, it did not take long, Bill. 🙂

    A very good app you can get for free, it’s called ‘4 4 2 Stats Zone’, complete with videos showing player influence per club, per competitions, wordlwide.

    But it needs a man like you — I could not get up the interest. 😀

  63. Bill says:

    Henry

    We talked about it a lot last season but I think the difference this season is we have a couple of players who are in great form in front of goal right now and we are attacking at pace rather then using the slow build ups and 75% ball possession and millions of short passes between the midfielders that characterize our bad runs of form. That slow pace style of play maximizes the influence of the central midfield and the faster style maximizes the influence of the forwards. When we attack at pace and get the ball into dangerous areas in front of goal before the other team has a chance to set up and organize then its much easier for the forwards to score. IMO. The forwards can score without having to wait for our passing game to break down an organized defense and they don’t have to rely on that killer pass from a creative midfielder. I hope that makes sense.

  64. Bill says:

    When you attack at pace you score more goals and decrease the need for a great creative midfield maestro and you take maximum advantage of the skills of your forwards. By 2004 DB10 was on the downhill part of his great career. I think he only started 21 games in that season. However, that team was always attacking at pace and Henry was the creator in chief. I think TH14 still has the record for most assists in a PL season. Fergies teams had very little midfield creative influence after Scholes started to fade and his team that featured ronaldo and Rooney had a midfield of Park and Fletcher. Ancelloti’s Chelsea title team scored more goals then any team in 50 years without a notable creative midfielder. The Liverpool team in Suarez’ last season scored 103 goals and Suarez was the scorer and creator for that team. This season we are maximizing the influence of Alexis both creatively and scoring wise which I think is happening because we are moving the ball forward more quickly. Even Giroud is much better and the team plays well with him at CF when we attack at pace.

  65. Two Owls says:

    I agree that Le Coz. had an amazing game yesterday. Outstanding defensive play and, on occasion, moved into the attacking third of the field.

    I am not one of those that worries about Giroud and Ramsey getting back into the team. Both are fantastic players and it is a very long season with nicks and strains almost always taking a toll on the players. Over the course of the season, and rotation of players, Giroud and Ramsey will see plenty of action.

    Nice to see the team play a game on cruise control. As well , like C, I tip my hat to Arsene with respect to the team and tactics that he has organized.

  66. Bill says:

    If Ozil does not have to unlock the defense or make the perfect pass then he can concentrate more on scoring. I certainly don’t expect him to maintain this scoring pace but at least so far what we are doing seems to be working out pretty well for the team.

  67. HenryB says:

    Yup, I do get that, Bill, and you are coming up with a perfectly sensible reason why stats can be confusing, because we have changed tactics and are playing a high line and quick counter attacking in a way we did not last season, and the slow build up which does need some sorcerer to have the creative skills to bye pass the parked bus.

    If you have not got the app mentioned above, and not that I want to encourage you, but it will be right up your alley — to use a British euphemism. 😀

  68. C says:

    Bill,

    I don’t think that the chances created in tiki taki are more difficult, I mean think of how many times Giroud, or Ramsey or Theo or even Sanchez missed chances that they should be putting away?!??! I am also of the mind that unless you have a player that is running from box to box with the ball, there will generally always be an assist, no? The difference this year isn’t just down to the chances that we are creating, I mean look at the 6 goals we scored yesterday, outside of probably Ox’s, none of those were simple tap in: Sanchez audacious chip, Theo top corner (after Ozil picks him out with a lovely cut back), Ozil’s goal off the cross from Perez, Ozil’s brilliant take from the ball over the top by Santi (I mean, how many players could be running full speed and take the ball like it landed on a pillow infront of them) then Ozil’s volley from Perez. Its not down to chances created, its down to who the chances are falling to and how ruthless we are.

    You say that Sanchez is our chief creator but remember Sanchez missed like 3 or 4 in ONE match that all came from Ozil, Ozil played him clear through last night and in un-Sanchez like fashion the ball got stuck and he got caught. I think this notion that you put forth sometimes of, “we have plenty of creators” is maddening because if it was so easy then anybody can do it and we ALL know that they can’t so lets give credit where its due. Also this season we have seen the return of Theo, who always had goals in him, there was never any doubt about that, it was just his confidence was shattered and injuries took their toll. You also have Ozil finishing, again another player that EVERYBODY says and knows can score goals (he is too technically talented not too) but like all of the great #10’s of old, he is a passer, a creator so scoring goals was never top of his list.

  69. C says:

    Anyways, lets just enjoy what our boys are doing, no matter who is scoring setting up the goals. I mean so of not just the goals but our defending has been nothing short of spectacular, including Kos’ brilliant tackle that resulted in Ozil’s first goal.

  70. Ras says:

    AW supposedly offered new contract..

  71. Bill says:

    C

    When our build up is slow the defense has time is set up and organize and they can watch the game unfold in front of them and they can anticipate the runners and the passes and they can cover for each other and make sure the dangerous space in front of goal is covered. The forwards have to finish thru a sea of bodies and legs filling the penalty area. Teams practice that sort of organized defending on the training pitch every day. However, when the ball is moving quickly and the defense is scrambling to get back into position, the defenders are running back towards their own goal there is no way they see what is happening behind them and they can’t keep track of the players they are suppose to mark and they can’t cover for each other or cover the space. You can’t practice that sort of disorganized defending on the training pitch and the scorers are going to have an easier time finishing their chances.

    Any team is going to be much more efficient and score a much higher percentage of its shots when they are attacking at pace and getting the ball into dangerous areas before the defense sets up. Leicester last year is another example.

  72. Dukey says:

    Ras,

    I suppose we can put off the positivadivas meltdown again, I don’t mind. I said before I still think Wenger can win the title again, although I think I might have said that last season.

  73. Bill says:

    I think its always going to be more difficult to score when you are building your strategy around your central midfield dominating the ball possession and you build your attack slowly. Barca always had a lot of ball possession but the difference was they pressed so hard whenever they did lose the ball and they would regain possession quickly and often run 35 yard counterattacks. The other thing that was different about the Barca teams is they have scorers who are really good at creating their own goals. Messi and Suarez and Neymar can thrive because those guys so good that they will still find a way to score no matter what system you use. However we don’t have players of that caliber upfront and we bog down when we slow down. I think Theo is going to struggle most of the time when he is going up against an organized defense the way he was last season irregardless of whether he plays on the wing or centrally.

  74. YW says:

    Henry

    Milan were pants at the time and only another year out, you add PSV to the list and it changes the flavour a little.

    TBH, I’ve never had an issue with losing to these teams but look at the pattern: we lost the tie in the home leg – bar Milan and the 2 – 1 win over Barca. It’s the repetitve nature of the mistakes which grates and its why I don’t think Arsene will ever win a European trophy.

  75. Wailesy says:

    This year it’s ours Yogi! This is our year!!!!!

  76. tonde says:

    yh, it was a good game.hop we keep up the heat

  77. OluwaBayode Jegede says:

    Hi YW & the whole house…

    Greetings from Nigeria on a wet wet evening dear ACLF folks..

    Beautiful piece as always by Yogi’s..

    Particularly loved that bit about the Chink consortium seeking to buy Sunderland (Black Cats) club and the allusion to Big Sam linked to Walcott’s 3 Lions hoodoo..

    Masterpiece in pun usage there!

    Cheers all..

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