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Arsenal Chew Hard On Toffees

2 - 2


23rd August 2014 5:30 pm

Attendance: 39,490


I guess using Alexis up front was something we needed to try out given Girouds recent form. Giving Ox a chance out on the right seemed a positive attempt to make us a little more direct too. Playing Mertesacker in the less familiar role on the left side of centre defense was a decision that made itself unless we were to test Chambers further by moving him from the right side that he at least had some familiarity with having played there since the start of the season. Leaving Cazorla on the bench to accommodate Ozil seemed straightforward enough and Flamini was the obvious option to replace Arteta. What we were left with though were wholesale changes, whether by design or obligation, that taking a look at the team sheet prior to kick off didn't give the most comfortable feeling against a team that had been very strong at home last season and had turned us over quite comprehensively a few months earlier.

Everton, who haven't won a major trophy for 19 years, at Goodison looked a sterner test than Crystal Palace, who haven't won a major trophy ever, at the Emirates but unfamiliar team or not set up as we were to play on the break, we started brightly enough getting the ball forward quickly. But too many players seemed to want to play in the same areas with Ox particularly coming inside too far and too often off his flank. We seemed to deprive ourselves of space attempting to form triangles that were too narrow and too intricate. Once we'd gone behind and Everton were even more at ease sitting back and playing us on the break the counter attacking strategy became redundant.

The goal came against the run of play but was a classic example of uncertainty as to who should be doing what and where. Ozil has rightly been criticised for not tracking the full back though as much, maybe more responsibility falls onto young Chambers for playing everyone onside. At the same time Wilshere and Flamini should be asked what they were doing posing like statues with their hands behind their backs while offering Barry all the time, space and distance he needed to put a ball into the box. Ramsey making a late attempt to close him down seemed just a token gesture. Barry was probably trying to pick out Lukaku but as it sailed over Lukaku's head Colman met it perfectly.

Thereafter it was a question of whether we would be able to fashion a goal without conceding on the break. We couldn't. With everyone upfield and only Flamini and Debuchy in a position to offer any cover while Chambers, who still has a bit to learn, had gone missing Mertesacker was probably ill advised to try to win the ball deep in the opposition half even if he was fouled. For those who feel Ozil doesn't put in a full shift take a look at the only player busting a gut to get back and try to offer some cover. Naismith's goal may have been offside but even so it seemed punishment for some naive play.

Unable to play on the counter ourselves Wenger was forced to make the change and use Giroud in place of Alexis up front in order to have someone to hold up play and bring others into the game. Unfortunately Ox, Ramsey and Wilshere were all having poor games though, as was pointed out to me during the game, even though Ramsey is playing poorly he still has a habit of producing an assist or a goal while Jack particularly produces very little. Cazorla possesses the technique and ability on the ball and with the ball that enabled him to create as many chances in the limited time he had as Wilshere, Ramsey and Ox combined managed throughout the match. It was the introduction of Cazorla combined with Giroud rediscovering his touch and strength that ultimately earned what had seemed an unlikely point at half time.

Cazorla's ability to take and play the ball on either side created enough space to fire a ball across the penalty area to the far post for the industrious Ramsey to knock into the net. That willingness to put in the effort, to fill the unforgiving minute with 60 seconds worth of distance run, is what presently distances Ramsey from some others when they're struggling to contribute. He doesn't hide when things aren't going his way which somehow increases the chances that at some point they will. It was a poor over hit ball from Ramsey that Monreal retrieved and then fired in a cross that disturbed Giroud's elaborate quiff as he headed home decisively.

So we gained one point this season where we failed to gather any last. An improvement then but at the moment without the fluency of performance that might encourage the belief that we can achieve more than we have in recent years. There's time for us to find that and indeed there were passages of fluent play in this game but we first need to find some stability in defence and midfield. That might take a few weeks yet but the players are there. We just have to decide who they are.

In the meantime we have to find a combination to beat Besiktas, who haven't won a major trophy for 3 years, before our next PL outing against Leicester City, who haven't won a major trophy in 14 years - if the League Cup is a major trophy.

Star Player

Ermmm?? Monreal did ok. Giroud maybe? Cazorla? Ozil? Maybe we didn't have one.

Date:Saturday August 23 2014
Time: 11:56PM


Nice wrap up of the game and related issues, Amos. Good spot about how Ozil was the only one acing back to hassle Lukaku when he broke away. Everyone gets carried away with the media orchestrated stereotype of our players/team as 'soft' and lazy or unwilling to do the dirty work with said Ozil a popular target. I thought Monreal did well and the ploy to put Lukaku on him didn't quite as well as the last time. He would get better and maybe start to get the respect he deserves. Finally, I guess you meant the reverse when describing the positioning of both Mertesacker and Chambers, in the 1st part of the article. Merts played from the less familiar left side, while Chambers retained his slot on the right side of central defence.
24/08/2014 01:08:00
An honest assessment. I was more forgiven of the performance after watching the match a second time without much adrenalin and with the mute button on to muffle the commentators. Time and competitive matches for the players are really the missing ingredients, in my opinion. it was clear that Ozil and Mert needed the run out and Flamini too. For the rest just the usual chemistry and familiarity issues which must be sorted out. So, for the star player award I will go for the point gained.
24/08/2014 01:28:00
We will click soon enough, I just hope tis not too late in the season then. Like you said, we just need to find the right combination of players every match day. Jack is a wonderful player but maybe he's playing with the wrong group of players or he's played in the wrong position, who knows. To be honest, he put in a good shift today. At a time, I even suggested that Ramsey should be taken off. But then again, that lad has a way of scoring or making an assist even on his bad days. That's more than welcome for me. I don't think Chelsea or City will struggle against the Toffees even at Goodison, and that has me worried if we regard ourselves as contenders. Our attack is still suspect, only God knows how we pulled off a draw cos we were terrible for large parts of the game. I pray for a better performance against Besiktas. COYG!!!!!
24/08/2014 03:57:00
Excellent and fair match summary Amos. if Giroud isnt fit for the Besiktas game it would be bad news indeed as for all his short comings he remains the focal point of the team in attack and has strengths no one else in the squad has.
24/08/2014 07:31:00
Good spot on my centre defence confusions Naija. Once spotted I just had to correct it.
24/08/2014 07:56:00
cfc just played n beat 2 park bus teams n easily with goal difference ....our best defence of ramires matic has not been used so far ... n everton wont be so lucky .... ur team was rough on everton during tackles wenger must have told them to break some ribs it seems ... poor alexis had to work so hard .... ur pivot is weak seriously ... the lower teams throw too much long balls at pivot in the cfc games ... wenger should get ready for it lol if he can that is .....
24/08/2014 08:24:00
Some really cogent and incisive thoughts there gary.
24/08/2014 08:40:00
@gary777, i watched the leicester game & they didn't exactly parked the bus as you claimed. in fact could have got in front from one-on-ones a couple of times before you lot scored. on another note, we were only let down by our poor records against the top 4 teams in the last 2 seasons. our point tallies against teams below us were probably the best among top 4
24/08/2014 08:42:00
gary777 your keyboard appears to be sticking? please rectify and repost, as postings are hard to decipher.
Chippy Brady
24/08/2014 09:27:00
Can we sign someone who can lead the line, please?
24/08/2014 10:11:00
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