September 20, 2014

A Happy Özil Is A Happy Arsenal

It's fair to say that Mesut Ozil's recent displays have warranted a call for improvement. It's also fair to say that the Arsenal midfielder responded very well to such criticism, and deserved his Man of the Match award.

Three minutes of action and exhilaration, while the best part of 90 minutes is played out rather routinely, almost boring. I see a lot of myself in this Arsenal team.

It may have looked as if we weren't going to find a breakthrough after the first half an hour, but then something happened that hasn't happened in a long time. Perhaps too long. 
Mesut Ozil ran. And he didn't just run, casually as if galloping through a grass meadow in Spring, he ran as if Per Mertesacker was chasing him down with an enraged look on his face with his finger pointed firmly is Ozil's direction.
A lovely Welbeck pass (more of that, please!) fell nicely into the path of the German and was calmly slotted away to give Ozil the confidence boost he really needed. 

I must admit I held my breath as our number 11 approached Villa's box, slowing slightly. I don't think anyone could be blamed for not having full confidence he would net it, one-on-one with the 'keeper taking into consideration the luck and confidence he's been lacking lately. Nobody can have been more delighted but the man himself as he put Arsenal 1-0 up against an Aston Villa side thats showed some promise so far this season.

Ozil repaid the favor just 79 seconds later when he played a luscious cross into the box, with new boy, Danny Welbeck only having to meet the ball to put us up 2-0.
After an own goal to put us 3-0 up in three minutes, the wind was sucked out of the home teams' sails and any fight that Villa may have had in them dissipated immediately. 

I want to say that Arsenal did an amazing job to hold of a Villa side who were playing for their lives.... except that's not what happened. We got the clean sheet, and we kept possession, but I think the boys in Red & White (and the manager) can consider themselves quite fortunate that Aston Villa simply gave up in the second half. They could have put pressure on us - they had the talent and they must have known our defensive options were very limited, to say the least. I suppose we should just be happy that we got three points, no injuries and no above average physical exertion for the most part. All in all a good day out.

Hands up if you looked at the Arsenal substitutes before the game and simply laughed out loud? Or whimpered? Or both?
7 - Rosicky
9 - Podolski
10 - Wilshere
13 - Ospina
17 - Sanchez
24 - Abou Diaby
34 - Coquelin
I'm not being funny, but that's ridiculous.
One defensive player? And even he, Francis Coquelin is a midfield option normally. There's no point getting into the lack of defensive additions in the summer transfer window, but I'm surprised we haven't looked into the free transfer market since then.

We should also be scared shitless excited to find out our starting line up for the midweek Carling Cup fixture against Southampton. Surely we can't field the BFG or Koscienly, but must instead opt to give some of our under 21's a run out. This is, let's be honest, somewhat of a second team game in which we are almost expected to field either under-played first team-ers (Podolski, Rosicky, Campbell, Sanogo etc.) or up-and-coming players with oodles of potential (Zalalem, Bellarin, Hayden). We'll find out when host Southampton on Tuesday. 

For now, let's sit back and enjoy the fact that our creative midfielder may have rediscovered something resembling his top form, our newest purchase, Danny Welbeck has got his goal talley up and running, and that we now sit in 4th place (pending Sunday's games) with 9 points in the Premiership.

Up The Arsenal!