Vital Football

Latest Arsenal FC News

The 5-0 Win That Wasn't

5 - 0
Aston Villa

Emirates Stadium


Attendance: Anthony Taylor


I've heard a couple of post match comments along the lines that this wasn't 'a 5-0 game'. Considering that we also hit the woodwork twice and had what looked like a fair goal from Ozil unfortunately ruled offside there might be some truth in that, though that's not the context in which such an observation appears to have been made.

I can understand what was probably meant because some of Villa's play wasn't that bad. Lambert's tactics weren't necessarily wrong, they showed ambition in pressing us with some determination, but they seem cursed in not really having players good enough to execute them. If anything Lambert still seems to be paying the price for O'Neill's earlier insane and ultimately crippling profligacy. It isn't as though Villa had been all that defensively weak this season. Prior to this game they had conceded fewer goals away from home than all but Southampton and Man City but really Arsenal didn't always make the most of their chances, especially in the first half, and the score line could well have looked even more impressive from an Arsenal perspective and more depressive from a Villa view.

The stats show that Villa shaded possession but Arsenal players had more touches of the ball and only slightly fewer passes. In fact for most of the game we played on the principle of the shortest route being a straight line and much of our play was through the middle with Cazorla, Giroud, Walcott and Ozil all playing fairly centrally and drifting out to the flanks when space was needed. Villa played largely down the flanks but found themselves unable to get behind us that often and crossing early from wide areas allowing Mertesacker, Koscielny and Ospina to deal with the threat fairly comfortably.

In the first minute Ramsey picked out a through ball to put Walcott in on goal but a good blocking tackle prevented Theo from taking advantage of the early opportunity. Instead the first goal came 10 minutes later as a ball from Mertesacker was read perfectly by Ozil who, with the outside of his left foot deftly met the ball on the volley and dropped it in the right place with the right weight at the right time for Giroud to find himself on goal with only the keeper to beat. It was wonderful example of the subtle skill our record signing possesses. His is a different kind of flamboyance.

We continued to make chances in the first half and fail to take them and there's always then a doubt whether we might suffer for doing so. Villa were always going to get at least one chance and late in the first half Weimann had a big opportunity to equalise but the excellent Ospina, who hadn't really had a great deal to do in his other outings for us this season made an excellent save from the header. I had doubted the wisdom of dropping Szczesny feeling his performances hadn`t been that poor bar the mistakes in the Southampton game but Ospina seemed alert and positionally sound claiming a number of high balls. He was to make another great save in the dying minutes of the game to keep a confidence building clean sheet. It maybe the young Pole will have to wait a while before getting another chance between the sticks other than Cup games if Ospina maintains this form.

With our 5th clean sheet in the last 6 outings our defensive stability seems to have returned largely because selection stability has returned but Coquelin is also earning a lot of credit for his role in front of the back four. I have just watched an interview Wenger recently gave to Alan Smith and in acknowledging the upturn in Coquelin's performances he reflects on the fact that he had always seen the young Frenchman as a ball winner. In the 7 years he has been on the books Wenger says he went through a period where, having won the 2010 U19`s Uefa championship with France, he saw himself as a box-to-box midfielder and neglected what Arsene saw as his core strengths for a time. With maturity Coquelin seems to have been persuaded where his talents lie and that in developing them he would develop as a player at the highest level. This was another match in which he tackled, intercepted, closed down and passed with maturity.

As I was beginning to think we would have to replace Walcott, who had only briefly appeared to flicker into life, Theo picked a loose ball up in the right back position and sprinting forward released Giroud who returned Ozil's earlier assist playing in the sprinting midfielder who does what he does best and passed the ball at the right time, in the right place with the right pace into the back of the net.

Less than ten minutes later and Theo got on the scoresheet himself. An astute throw from Ospina had Theo sprinting down the left flank before playing the ball to Cazorla and then cutting inside to intercept Santi's pass, probably intended for Giroud, and neatly curling a shot inside the far post.

With half a hour still to play Villa seemed resigned to defeat and it was just a matter of whether we could score more. Eventually Cazorla got on the scoresheet courtesy of a penalty won by an enthusiastic Akpom who had replaced Giroud. Cazorla hasn't missed from the spot so far this season and has varied his placement on each occasion. At 3-0 it wasn't exactly a pressure situation and he elected to put it down the middle. Guzan read it nearly right as he stayed put but instead of dinking it he leathered the ball. As he rocked back on his heels in surprise Guzan got a hand to it but the force of the shot meant he deflected it inside the post.

Another good afternoon for Cazorla was capped with his second assist as he set up his fellow countryman, growing in stature as a rookie right back, Bellerin for his first ever professional goal. It's one he is bound to remember with some satisfaction.

Arsenal are on a good run but tough challenges still lie ahead. In his interview with Smudger Smith Wenger said that it was important to dispel the prolonged negativity that has surrounded the club for too long. The recent run of successes hopefully provide a platform from which to do just that.

Star Player

Santi Cazorla

Date:Sunday February 1 2015
Time: 11:53PM


I thought we completely dominated much of the game. There was a 15-20 minute period before half time where we weren't as sharp but get ally very comfortable. Lots of good performances around, santi, coquelin, Monreal but I personably would give motm to Bellerin. The kid has come on a long way and we can see why so many rated him from the reserves. He has a good chance tk make that position his now, and possibly for a long time to come. Good to continue our positive run, all be it against a very poor side. I think they might actually get relegated this season. It's a good time for us to play spurs(from our own momentum), think it will be a really good game. I think we will beat them, but it is a derby so who knows.
02/02/2015 00:10:00
How many times do I want to use the word good and mistype. Blame my phone....
02/02/2015 00:17:00
In addition to the observation made with regards to Coquelin's evolution, it appears to me that he is also taking the lead in setting the 'tone' for the level of 'commitment' required right out of the gate. I may be reading more into it that it warrants but he is all business with his controlled aggression from kick-off to the final whistle.
02/02/2015 05:27:00
I agree Bellerin was very good as was Monreal on the opposite flank but Santi was every where making more passes, having more touches and creating chances while also making almost as many tackles as Coquelin. He was superb once again but it's probably easier to play well when everyone else is playing really well too and that seemed to be the case in this game.
02/02/2015 09:07:00
Cazorla is the main man at the minute, he's always been one of my favourite players to watch when he's playing well.

David Ospina is looking to be a shrewd buy too, 4 clean sheets in 4 games. Commanding, calm, good shot stopper. And only 26. Bargain.
02/02/2015 09:22:00
Brilliant, we battered 'em. Full backs were superb, the squad's blend of experienced signing and the outstanding Bellerin, Coquelin, really good stuff.
02/02/2015 10:00:00
Great performance, real team display. Coq is showing us all why we've been crying out for a mobile, physical, committed and tactically disciplined DefMid for so long. He makes such a difference to the team and he really is very unselfish in the role, always resists the urge to charge forward or to try the Hollywood pass.

The whole team was great but Ozil was simply beautiful to watch. Can see why Santi was given MOTM but for me Ozil's efficiency of touch is just out of this world. Felt he stood out above everyone yesterday.

Galway Gooner
02/02/2015 10:28:00
Ozil is my pick of man of the match, closely matched by Santi, of course. I thought he was very steady and deliberate with every move; he didn't hide and seemed to attract the ball from all over the pitch. Exquisite display.
02/02/2015 17:10:00
Good game all round. Similarly when I was feeling that Theo was a bit lost he comes up with a great pass and shortly after that a good goal.
02/02/2015 21:26:00
Page 1/1
  1. 1

Login to post a comment

Site Journalists

Write for Vital Arsenal
Write For Vital Arsenal
Apply Here

Current Poll (see more polls)

EL - AC Milan MotM
Suggested By: Site Staff
Sub - Chambers20%
Sub - Elneny0%
Sub - Kolasinac0%
ScoopDragon Premier League Network Sites
Vital Football Comment
Latest F1 News
Latest Vital Boxing News
Write for Vital Football

Recent Arsenal Results (view all)

The Vital Football Members League