Creators Vs Predators: The Arsenal Dilemma by ElusiveArsenal
When writing an article after an Arsenal match. I find staying off Twitter and taking an hour off to cool down absolutely necessary. Without that, most of this would be filled with curses and rants directed at everyone from the manager to the players to the irritating fans.
I think it’s a sign of the times when a loss to Chelsea is seen as an ‘improvement’ over last season’s match. Sure, we started well, passed well and all that… but that was it. We passed well. Once again, we were caught in the same trap of passing in front of the opposition’s defence with no purpose or cut. It says it all when Podolski’s late cross was more or less the first time we put a decent ball in from wide positions.
I once said having Jack, Ramsey and Ozil on the same pitch was a mistake that should never be repeated. Then injury takes Ramsey out and we were lucky enough to witness Ozil in the middle with Welbeck, Ox and Sanchez around him. We destroyed Villa and Gala with similar lineups, but as always it seems Arsene just plain refuses to learn from mistakes.
Throughout this season, whenever Ozil was pushed out wide, he had underwhelming performances, but the few occasions he was played in the middle he shone like a star drawing plaudits from everyone. It is because of this consistent trend that I will never judge the German on his performance as long as he is on the wing. Because: HE IS NO WINGER!
Now I agree we should not have bought Cesc 100% but Wenger’s reasoning that we already have Ozil is rendered mute when the German has started only two matches this entire season down the middle; One of which was in the EPL.
But enough of the general rant. Let’s take a look at this match. Here are five standout points:
Referees Vs Arsenal:
Two matches in a row. Two leg break challenges in a row. Both yellow cards. Oscar’s persistent challenges result in a 78th minute yellow after numerous cynical tackles. Handball denied, and overall poor game from the ref. Arsenal players will continue to get injured until they receive a fraction of the protection other big clubs receive from referees.
Too many Creators, Not enough Predators:
Most fans agree that the ideal line-up is having three runners ahead of an astute provider. We had that in Sanchez-Welbeck-Chamberlain behind Ozil mid-week and they ran rampant on Gala. However, this week, we fielded Ozil and Sanchez on the wings with Cazorla in the middle. Sometimes turning into a 4-1-4-1 with Wilshere sharing space with Cazorla. Problem with this selection was the complete nullification of any wing play which is what Chelsea kept using to stretch the Arsenal defence. With too many creators looking to squeeze the perfect pass through the middle, we were quite predictable and Chelsea defenders were all too happy to let us pass in front as long as we did not attempt to go behind. A lack of willing runners also meant that there were no through balls to be had either.
Cazorla and Wilshere were quite easily the best Arsenal players on the pitch. Granted it took a bit longer for Wilshere to grow into the game but by the second half, he was beginning to boss proceedings. Hung out to dry on the left, it was always impossible for Ozil to put his stamp on the game and his frustration showed more as time wore on. He should have been off very early for Oxlade Chamberlain, but as with the Southampton match, if Wenger decides he likes a player, they can do absolutely nothing and still stay on: a la Podolski. Once Cazorla was taken off, our attacking game stumbled, then it was absolutely murdered when Wilshere was taken off. A hungry wild card like Joel Campbell would have been preferable to Podolski: the only Arsenal player with worse work-rate then Ozil.
There WAS something positive:
For all the hate and bile poured into this article, I must admit that there were positives to be taken from this match. Chambers absolutely refused to be bullied down his side even after he got a yellow. Another solid performance from the lad. We did create a few chances and if Wilshere’s control was slightly better, we might have been 1-1 or even better. We weren’t outplayed and was a pretty even contest until Cazorla was taken off… and oh yeah, Wenger shoved Mourinho.
Fans.. fickle as flies:
This match demonstrated the problem with our current state fan-wise with lots of fans spewing absolute garbage about Ozil, Wilshere and Welbeck all game long even though they Ozil was hailed as a hero few days ago. It’s time we got behind the team and recognize when a defeat is the manager’s fault and not the players..