“Play shite and lose is unforgivable……..play shite and win is what champs are made of.”
I can’t improve on that. It is not easy making Newcastle look good but we really gave it our best shot. They are poor, really poor but the same team that were mauled at Southampton returned and it could have oh so easily been the sequel to Nightmare on the South Coast.
I felt sorry for Ozil from start to finish: an artist surrounded by journeymen. It was embarrassing at times watching Walcott and Oxlade-Chamberlain failing to fulfil the most simple of football tasks such as trap the ball and pass it to someone in a red and white shirt.
As I was watching I was trying to work out what had gone so wrong with those two, the only idea I could come up with was that although in training the energy of Sanchez and his determination to defend from the front has clearly rubbed off; they track back with greater determination, the problem is they also seem to both be copying the man from Chile’s unnecessary obsession of trying to beat at least two opponents before making his pass, Sanchez can get away with this – just — but it is downright infuriating when Walcott and Oxlade-Chamberlain try and do the same as neither of them has Sanchez’ close control; nothing like it in fact, the result is that we lose possession so easily and so unnecessarily which gifts attacking opportunities to the opposition. This happened so often yesterday I wanted to scream.
Some plum on this site wrote a match report not so long ago suggesting that the collective eleven were playing better without Sanchez; he might have had a point when the collective were playing simple, one touch, find your man football, but that was not the brand on display yesterday. Walcott or Oxlaide-Chamberlain going to keep Sanchez out of the side, I don’t think so. The Whirling Dervish can’t return soon enough as far as I am concerned.
We started quite brightly really with two excellent chances in the first five minutes both of which should have been converted and both of which should have put the game to bed but, no, we insisted on making Newcastle look better than they are by giving them opportunity after opportunity to go ahead; the most generous being at the beginning of the second half when one of their players got free and found himself one on one with Cech, fortunately the Helmeted One was on his game and saved our bacon again.
The breakthrough came our way, although, it could have just have easily have fallen to Newcastle considering the amount of chances they had. Özil sent in a corner, it pinged around a bit, Giroud did well to keep it alive and Koscielny was Johnny on the spot to tap it home which produced a huge sigh of relief around the ground rather than wild celebrations.
Wenger made his usual changes with Campbell replacing the Ox, and Gibbs replacing Walcott to shore up the left flank and then finally Chambers to add some more steel to the defense.
I find it fascinating how Wenger has introduced Chambers. Not so long ago both Arteta and Flamini were injured and Wenger was forced to throw Chambers into the fray; he was poor. GIE wrote after the game that he felt he could never see Chambers becoming a midfielder, his body language was all wrong. This is not meant to have a go at GIE, I like a bold comment, after all where would this blog be without them and what’s more I agreed with him at the time. But since then Wenger has been slowly building this one with a few minutes at the end of a game here and few minutes at the end of the game there and then interestingly a good twenty minutes against Southampton, the more observant would have noticed that Wenger always tries to salvage something when all seems lost and in this case it was giving valuable unpressured pitch time to the young would be DM before finally starting him against Bournemouth during which he found his confidence and got better and better as that game went on to the point where we were all singing his praises at the end. Chambers is a better passer of the ball than Flamini although the latter’s experience was exactly what was required yesterday but I do expect to see Chambers start next week.
I am going to give GIE the final word on yesterday’s game: “1-0 is 1-0 is 3 points”. Can’t argue with that.
Cech: I don’t know much about this breed, I could never understand why people used to give Szczesny a hard time — I do now. Another clean sheet. 8
Bellerin: This young man has set high standards for himself and yesterday he fell below them, too many stray passes, substandard crosses, positioning not so good. 5
Mertesacker: Per is not likely to start getting called the Luftwaffe of the Arsenal defence in the near future; his aerial cover is non existant, time after time Newcastle were first to get their head on a cross when it really should have been cleared by the BFG. However, that said, he was as composed as ever on the ground again. 6
Koscielny: his goal covered a multitude of sins or miss placed passes if you prefer; he was slightly better than the others and a winning goal goes an awful long way. 7
Monreal: again, way below his usual high standards, poor passes, poor crosses; still, he has a lot of credit in the bank. 5
Flamini: the Frenchman is playing with far greater control; well, apart from the booking when he tried to kick the ball when it was a good six foot in the air. Not the man you expect to score us goals but gave a decent Flamini performance nevertheless. 6.
Ramsey: his day was summed up by the pass he failed to make to Campbell for a tap in which would have put the game to bed. Too many poor decisions. 4
Ozil: People questioned his ability when he first arrived, what we now know is that the problem wasn’t his ability it was his commitment. Mesut had been used to playing with the likes of Ronaldo for goodness sake and then what, Gervinho? Santos? If that doesn’t lower a player of his calibre’s self esteem I don’t know what will and yet the change has been incredible, this man has brought into Arsenal lock stock and barrel. I mean, did you see him wearing that silly Arsenal Santa jumper, awful, absolutely awful, but he wore it and he did do with a smile on his face, now that is a man who is committed to this club. Wenger must take a huge amount of credit for patiently guiding him to where he is now and my guess is that he will continue his integration by making him captain next season. 9
Walcott: put the ball in front of him to run onto and we have good Theo, put the ball to his feet and ask him to think and we have bad Theo. Too much bad Theo yesterday. 4
Oxlade-Chambelain: how did we all get so excited about this player, someone remind me because I cannot see a single attribute that is above average and most were well below yesterday. 3
Giroud: little bear’s porridge, not too good, not too bad, played an important part in getting the all important goal. 7
As Peaches’ title says “Rubbish Game, Great result”, I’ll take that right now.
Written by LB