Ozil

Özil is struggling but he will get better

Mesut Özil has come in for a lot of criticism after his performance against Liverpool and there is no denying that on an individual stats level, that was Özil’s worst match of the season, perhaps even the worst match of his career. But what we are talking about here is form, not class. And when I think of players who fit the phrase “world class” Mesut Özil immediately springs to mind. So, while it’s true that his form has dropped I have not doubt that his class remains and will shine through. 

Using a method which weights goals, assists, key passes, and dribbles I looked at every League match Özil has played this season and the trend is pretty clear: for the first 10 games of the season he was brilliant but since the high water mark against Hull City he’s dropped off the pace a bit.

Ozil-Trend

In the first ten League matches for Arsenal, Özil created 33 shots for his teammates, scored three goals, and earned 6 assists. He even had a stand out performance at the Emirates against Liverpool, helping the Gunners to a 2-0 victory over the Scousers, which should have quieted the people who say he doesn’t perform in big games, but it didn’t.

There were only three performances in that batch which we could call below par: Swansea, Man U, and Southampton. The rest of the games in that group were all above average. It’s no coincidence then that as Özil’s performances were above par, Arsenal were clicking and everyone went hoarse signing his praises.

After Hull City, he scored against Everton, ensuring the draw, and got an assist in the 6-3 loss to Man City which goes to show me that once again some of this criticism that Özil doesn’t show up in big games is misplaced. Those games against Man U, City, Everton, Chelsea, and this weekend against Liverpool were all team failures — with the exception of Liverpool and Man U, Özil himself has played fairly well in each. Two assists and a goal against those top six teams is not a bad return, especially when you consider the fact that the whole team’s level was well off in most of those games.

But it’s still hard to escape the criticism that since the City match, Özil’s levels have dropped considerably. Six of the last ten matches have been below average and since City he’s only managed a single assist.

In terms of his stats you can see the drop in form pretty clearly: he’s completed just twelve dribbles in that period (19 in the first 10), just 10 crosses (v. 17), 13 long passes (v. 23), and just two through balls since Hull (v. 5 in the first 10 matches).

It’s true, Mesut Özil is having a rough second half to his season and his levels have dropped. No matter how I measure it, the fact remains, Özil is struggling at the moment. But he’s struggling at being one of the best playmakers in Europe, after his team has been hit by key injuries, in a new league, which requires an adjustment period.

Many Arsenal greats have struggled to adapt to the Premier League. Thierry Henry was famously pilloried by Arsenal News Review back in the day. Dennis Bergkamp struggled to catch up to the pace of the League, Robert Pires (it has been pointed out to me on twitter numerous times) struggled to get a foothold in the League, and so on. All Arsenal legends, statues are built to honor these men, and they all struggled at first under the demands of English Football.

As Michael Cox points out in his piece today, there are other notable players like David Silva and Michu who have come over to England from Spain, got off to a great start and then found themselves struggling for form after Christmas. So, again, this idea that a period of adaptation is needed is well born out by the facts.

But the problem, if there is one, is a team problem from my perspective, and Arsene Wenger’s perspective. Many of my readers have pointed out that that Özil is missing Walcott and the through balls stats back that up. Since Hull City, he’s only completed two through passes. Arsenal need to address that deficiency by getting Podolski, Cazorla, and Ox or Gnabry to make those runs.

Similarly in midfield, I have been banging the drum about Arsenal missing Ramsey now for quite some time and I’m going to keep banging it. There is no doubt that Arsenal and Ozil are missing Aaron Ramsey — Arsenal’s second leading goal scorer, second leading play maker, top tackler, and top passer. Ozil was the big money signing but he and Ramsey are both the superstars of this team and there is no doubt in my mind that Brendan Rodgers’ tactic of triple-teaming Ozil would have failed miserably if Ramsey was on the pitch.

I have no doubt that Özil will turn this poor run of form around and I am especially encouraged by Wenger saying that he is working very hard in training. I’m also encouraged by the fact that Ramsey will return for Arsenal soon reforge his partnership with Mesut. But in the end this is a player who has been one of the top players in Europe for a long time and who started the season going gang busters. His form may have dried up a bit but the fact that he is world class remains.

Patience, my friends, patience.

Qq

57 thoughts on “Özil is struggling but he will get better

  1. +2 Vote -1 Vote +1Canadian Gooner

    Another excellent piece. Checking your posts is becoming an integral part of my afternoon routines.
    Spare me asking you this question. Do you think we have good alternatives for Ramsey in the team?

    It seems to me his work rate and contribution is unparalleled in the EPL at the moment, yet alone among our MF options. He is also very balanced in both defensive and attacking skills. Cannot say the same thing about Flamini, Ox and Wilshere.

    Flamini lacks the speed and plays dirty. Wilshere is hugely inconsistent and is a bit egocentric. Ox reminds me very much of Ramsey but he is not very good at defence.

    I would really love to see a player like Lars Bender alongside Ramsey. Both are box to box, excellent pace, top level passer, fantastic tacklers and can switch duties with one another if they grow into the team.

    It is a shame really that Wilshere cannot fill in for Ramsey. I really expected much more from him. He is not living up to the his former prospect of a player.

      1. -1 Vote -1 Vote +1Dr.Gooner

        Why not Wilshere? Same type of player. I think it’s only fitness issues that are holding back the Jack.

      2. +9 Vote -1 Vote +1Tim

        This is going to be hard for people to hear because he’s often regarded as “tigerish” and “lion hearted” but Wilshere is not a good defender. He also doesn’t show for others the way that Ramsey does. Which is to say, I think he’s a bit of a diva and he’s not brave.

      3. +2 Vote -1 Vote +1Dr.Gooner

        There are almost freakish parallels between Jack and Rambo. They both showed much early promise, well above and beyond their age, then sustained major injuries which kept them out for extended periods. In Ramsey’s case, he was able to play himself back into fitness and form at the end of 2013 and that allowed him to sparkle in 2014, having put his injury and confidence issues behind him.

        I think Jack will do the same, given a sustained run in the side. I don’t disagree that he has negative aspects to his game. From interviews and following him on Twitter, I can attest that he’s not the sharpest of guys, certainly not the type of calm, mature figure that Ramsey seems to be. But, he does play with his heart, for better or for worse, and for me, it’s hard not to love him for that. He’s Arsenal through and through. The things he’s missing from his game are coachable, and the things that he does bring, like that trademark burst of pace through midfield, are special. If he stays fit, I think we’ll see the real Jack Wilshere in 2014; the one who tackles, passes the ball exceptionally well, dribbles past people and is a game changer at the highest level.

  2. -4 Vote -1 Vote +1Lexington Gooner

    I want to agree with you but I wonder whether part of the problem is that other clubs have figured out how to play him–close him down, feed him into corners or out to the touchline, keep him away from the box and in places that limit the damage he can do. As you note, Liverpool defensed him very well, as other, lesser teams have done recently. The slope of your line suggests a trend beyond just loss of form.

    I do think Ozil has the talent to adapt and will do so sooner rather than later, hopefully. I agree that it will also help to get Ramsey back both to take pressure off Ozil and to provide another outlet for his passes.

    1. +5 Vote -1 Vote +1Zeddington

      I’ve no idea why you have three thumbs down for what is a very valid comment, so I’ve given you a thumbs up to compensate. However, I disagree with your conclusion that the slope suggests a trend beyond a loss of form. Here’s why:

      Tim’s instrument is obviously useful but a bit crude. It weighs all actions equally, and all opponents equally. Still, it is quite useful as a broad tool to see his contribution to the game. As it is, the trend line looks almost flat to me. The teams he has “underperformed” in include Man Utd, Chelsea, Man City, Everton, Liverpool – so-called big teams. Part of this is down to the team not playing as well in these games, I imagine. So it’s pretty hard to come to any real solid conclusions.

      My money is on fatigue. He came without a preseason, to a league without a winter break, and now he’s possibly feeling the effects of it. I think we’ll see the best of him next season.

      1. +4 Vote -1 Vote +1Lexington Gooner

        Thanks, Zeddington–appreciate the support. FWIW, I was merely trying to make a point that the competition is not letting Ozil have the run of the pitch–they’re not giving him space, they close him down quickly and surround him when he has the ball, they’re probably more physical than defenders he’s used to, and so on. In other words, the problem is not only his “loss of form” but also the opposition’s tactics. Not surprisingly, the better teams are able to make life more difficult for him, as they do for his teammates, too. I continue to think that he’s struggling, as the blogger’s data shows, and that he needs to adjust to how he’s being defended in order to turn things around.

  3. +3 Vote -1 Vote +1Arsenal Letters

    Great points Tim. I will just say this. Ozil’s greatest talent is to send players behind opposition defence by “defence-splitting” passes.

    With Walcott and Ramsey injured and Giroud not being “that kind of a player” who is the player that we are asking Ozil to send behind? Serious question.

  4. +2 Vote -1 Vote +111cannons

    Patience, my friends, patience.

    ____

    Not a concept that many tend to embrace these days, unfortunately.

    I appreciate that you didn’t fall into the trap of ‘he needs a breather’ that seems to sum up the tactical analysis of a lot of pundits out there. Even if it’s true it doesn’t really address the fact that our team game has slumped a bit since the Christmas period. In all honesty I thought a loss was coming [wasn't expecting a pasting] based on that series of 0-0 halftime scores.

    I really hope Ramsey comes back to full fitness and get back into form before the March schedule hots up. In his absence we need to right the ship with a performance [and result] against United and then up our level for Liverpool to give us a platform to build from when Ramsey’s back.

  5. +16 Vote -1 Vote +1Todd Parker

    Well said Tim. Would be interesting to note when it was Ramsey went out. I do not remember, just after his Cardiff brace was it? Anyway, if it correlates to the timing of the Hull game as it seems it may easily demonstrate your Ramsey drum beating, which I find correct.

    From a tactical perspective (you already have addressed Ramsey statistically), there is a specific pattern that develops on the field when Ramsey and Ozil play together. It is actually predictable if you follow both of their careers. This pattern points to how Ozil was pulling strings early in the season and how Ramsey was scoring goals. It speaks to a symbiotic understanding by nature, but also developed in training. I will try to explain, I wish I could just draw it:)

    Ozil as we know from his Real days likes to drift out wide into the channels. Yes, his passes are always probing as Arsene has stated publically; before that however his brain is always scanning the space to move into so he is probing far before he ever touches the ball. This is his genius and genius is always special.

    Ramsey is our classic box to box midfielder and he covers more blades of grass than any other on either team every single game. The best ingredient to throw in around a #10 like Ozil who probes with movement and is technically gifted at probing with his passes after receiving the ball is a player next to him who just wants to run into the open spaces on the field that Ozil leaves behind. This is why Ramsey shines and it is no coincidence why Ramsey’s breakout year has happened when Ozil becomes #10 at Arsenal. It is also why playing Ozil is a must and playing him as #10 is a must. His starting position must be central so his probing movement can pattern the attack accordingly because his understanding is unselfish and far more advanced than any of the other players in that dressing room too include Santi. That is just my opinion. Some point to Ramsey developing out wide and needing to recover post injury and certainly there is a timing involved in any one player’s development when considering when they have their breakout year. The nexus in all of this however is Ozil.

    The primary pattern of play is simple. Ozil naturally drifts into the channels, at Real it was to the right, most often, and then the killer ball would find a cutting Ronaldo, but Real also had speed on the other side with de maria which is something we do not have. It has been said that Ozil thrives on the killer through ball and this is true because he is always probing. It is also why we need some out and out wingers or Theo types who diagonal in (like Ronaldo) signed because Ozil is seeing a different picture. At Arsenal I believe the plan has always been to have Theo be that guy so Ozil would be combining with Santi on the left with the threat of Theo on the right cutting in. This as we know due to do injury and bedding in has yet to develop.

    Back to Ramsey because we have already described Ozil’s natural play. Ramsey naturally in Lampard-like expertise loves to run late into the box and sees the space Ozil leaves behind when moving to the channel. His timing is far better than anyone else on the squad. Jack has scored this way, we saw Ox do it in his brace on the first goal and I think Rosicky can do it. Ramsey however is king at this, it is far more natural because he is the most willing runner (perhaps on the continent). It is symbiotic, both players need each other in this pattern and it is great attacking play. Ozil sprays wide and Ramsey sees the space open up and attacks it at speed.

    Willing runners will always look the best player on the field around Ozil because he finds them and can deliver the pass to break defenses time and time again. Real patterned their play around this and Ozil was the conductor. Wenger earlier in the year had shared one of his primary footballing philosophies: “you need a quarterback and a receiver.” This sums up Real, it has yet to define The Arsenal. We have the quarterback and he is the best. Right now Ozil doesn’t see anyone and his probing gets him in trouble situationally.

    This is from my perspective why the two together are the plan moving forward and also why your point about Ramsey being a huge miss is spot on. Great post as usual, thank you:)

      1. +3 Vote -1 Vote +1Todd Parker

        Thanks Tim. I am just constantly learning; as I learn I share because sharing is part of learning, so if you and anyone else I interact with value that I think it is good for everyone. If it means anything to you, I come here because you teach me a lot too. so kuddos.

      2. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1jvmauer

        I haven’t the brain for tactics and stats; I just come here to hang out with the wise-arse Goonerati. But I appreciate what you and Tim and all the other stat/tact inclined commentators bring to the discussion.

    1. +4 Vote -1 Vote +11ntta

      Do you have your own blog? If not, I would suggest to you that the 7 am community would benefit by a more formal contribution from a Gooner with such a keen footballing mind. If both you and Tim have the time, interest and/or inclination and are able to co-ordinate, I’m sure a guest spot on the blog would be welcomed by most.

  6. +6 Vote -1 Vote +1Jaymin

    This backlash against Ozil is so typically Arsenal. I really think our fans, especially the home fans who are willing to boo as their neighbors do, and as quickly, turn players off, sap their confidence, and ultimately breed deep resentment against our club in the minds of said players and, crucially, their agents and our rivals who then pick them off. The Emirates, when I go there, will be like reaching Mecca for me. But I won’t be surprised if, in a difficult period, the reaction of the crowd, entitiled and jeering, will turn me off a bit. I understand our away fans are the best in the league, and I’ve heard them singing “We love you Arsenal” even when we’re being embarrassed by 6 goals in Manchester or by 5 in Merseyside. But our home fans, man… If you can’t see that Ozil is world class, what literally any team in the world, including Barcelona, Bayern, Chelsea and Manchester City, would have him in their starting 11 immediately, you are really just talking nonsense, in my opinion. He is suffering from being in a weaker team than Real and Germany, with lesser players around him, and the ones he fed off best being injured. We hadn’t [(the game is still on) won a trophy for 8 years when he signed for us. One of the best midfielders in the world, probably better than Cesc. He gave us prestige, talent, and a lifeline we maybe didn’t deserve. Let’s not forget who did whom the favor by signing for us. And if you’re comparing him to Andrei Arshavin in his potbelly days, you are simply a click-bating charlatan.

    1. +4 Vote -1 Vote +1Tim

      Wait… Someone is comparing him to Arshavin? That’s some blue ribbon, prize winning, world class fuckwittery right there.

      1. Vote -1 Vote +1craig

        The internet is awash with ‘is Ozil Arshavin or is he Pires’ today… I hate the f^<ki!ng internet.

  7. +3 Vote -1 Vote +1Eurazian

    One of the things I’ve been noticing about this Arsenal team for a while is that we are full of players who are very good at certain things you’d expect at their position, but are lacking in certain other dimensions. By which I’m talking about all our strikers struggling to create their own shot, and Arteta being a key part of our passing game but lacking in some of the defensive qualities needed at his position. Add Ozil to that list; he’s a genius at through balls (my favourite was his pass for Flamini’s goal), but he barely looks to score at all, doesn’t defend that much and seems oddly one-footed for a player of his level. He’s not Fabregas, a man we could look to to single-handedly drive on our team with both scoring and assisting. As has been mentioned before here, Ozil racked up his phenomenal assist stats by passing to really top class forwards making intelligent runs.

    It’s true that Ramsey (13/14 version at least) is the missing piece of the puzzle; he contributes in virtually every statistical category you can name. Without him, we’ve lacked goals, and Giroud’s deficiencies have hence become more apparent. Without him, we’ve lacked the same energetic defensive work. Without his offensive play, teams can focus on shutting down Ozil. Ozil is a bit of a luxury player who thrives when playing alongside world-class teammates, so it’s no coincidence that his form has dropped without the one teammate who was in truly world-class form.

  8. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1Nikki

    Good description on the pattern and relationship between Ramsey and Ozil by Tim and Todd. Although after reading it, yes we have the best quarterback, the best in finding teammates when he is in a free space, but are we looking at his full potential? If his greatest potential is be the best playmaker, than by that description and his previous statistic, he already is and has reach his full potential. Do you think that he can still develop and improve his qualities to add to his already outstanding ability in passess and finding spaces? Or rather the teammates should develop around him and improve so his best potential can be unleash, that is by becoming the best playmaker that we know he is?
    I hope that with Arsenal, he can develop not just becoming the best playmaker, but also add another dimension to it to become an even more unbelievable player than he currently is.

  9. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1craig

    With Chelsea, Man City, and Man U all dropping points at worse places than Anfield, our debacle looks less and less important. As long as the players forget about it and give Man U a spanking.

    Watching Chelsea today it reinforced how poor Arsenal’s recent off the ball movement is. Ox scored the other day by running through the defense, but he doesn’t always do it. Wilshere has been hit and miss with his movement to goal. As Tim, Todd, and others have pointed out, Ramsey has been great at running into space and giving Ozil and our other creators someone to find. As everyone (except maybe Piers Morgan) has pointed out, Walcott is the natural runner we miss. But watching Chelsea in the first half today it was shocking how many Arsenal players either stand around, or show for the ball, instead of running into space. How is Ozil supposed to split the defense without anyone moving through the space? Giroud really, really, needs to improve here. Cazorla will always show for the ball (except away to L’pool apparently), so our RW needs to move even more to compensate. But the CMs and to some extent the FBs are the ones who create the unexpected overloads the defense can’t deal with. Arsenal just don’t do that enough anymore. The Ox and Gnabry are extremely talented, and I love them, but they need to improve there. Jack is pretty good, but not at Ramsey’s level and needs to work more here and on defense if he wants to keep playing when Ramsey is healthy. Walcott and Ramsey are excellent, but not in the side. Cazorla usually doesn’t, and won’t… And he’s good enough to make that work, but the side needs to balance that by moving around Cazorla and Ozil. Giroud is a CF, and Arsenal would be far, far better off if he stopped always showing for the ball and started rolling into space sometimes.

    The best sides move through the spaces, cycle around, and do it again. Arsenal’s recent poor performances have been stagnant. No running into space, at best standing in space. Arsenal’s recent good performances have been from our midfield and fullbacks giving Ozil, Cazorla, and even Giroud someone to find. Without Ramsey and Walcott, the boys need to step up, and the ‘supporters’ need to stop scapegoating Ozil and realize it’s a team. (Exactly as Tim has put forward).

  10. +4 Vote -1 Vote +1JV Mauer

    So, City sit one point behind us and Chelsea sit two above (for now). A win tomorrow and we go back to the top of the league. Doom and gloom my rosy red Ribbery! Buckle up, lads… the fun’s just about to start.

  11. +2 Vote -1 Vote +1Dr.Gooner

    I have a little bone of contention with that graphic you posted, Tim. It doesn’t pass the “eye test” when it comes to selling me on the idea that Ozil has under-performed in the last several games, or that the drop in form came after Man City. To me it looks like his recent performances against Fulham, Palace and Villa were three of his best on the season. Before the Liverpool game, which has a huge impact on the mean of that distribution, I would say it is a bi-modal distribution, with the Hull game an outlier. The real dip in form seems to have come after the United result, which started a streak of 7 games in which he appears to be below par: Soton, Cardiff, Everton, City, Chelsea, and West Ham. His score in the Hull game is so wildly different from the mean around this time that I’m not convinced it’s anything more than a blip in the data, though it’s your data so you have much more insight on this. Since the West Ham game and before Liverpool, his performances were consistently of a high standard, suggesting that he was getting back to the same player he was in September.

    It’s not unreasonable to suggest therefore, based on your data, that we are seeing a player who lost form and confidence after the United game, played poorly for a couple of months, and is now finding his feet again. Let’s hope the Liverpool game doesn’t dent his confidence too much because as you and others have said, he is an absolutely crucial part of this team.

    1. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1Tim Post author

      That’s an interesting observation and points to one of my inherent problems in analyzing content: I tend to split things 50-50. That said, if I take your suggestion and look at this as pre and post Liverpool it could be interpreted as a major fall in form after Liverpool.

      For example, according to my metric Özil’s first 7 games for Arsenal were all positive except the Swansea match. After the Liverpool match, Özil’s performances were all negative, except for the 4 peaks. Thus the distribution is 6/7 good games before Man U, 4/13 good games after Man U (inclusive). And even if we go with the porno stats (assists and goals) he had 4 assist and 2 goals in the first 7 matches and 4 and 2 in the following 13 matches. That’s why the trend line is down.

      That all said, 20 games is a small sample and player predictions are notoriously difficult (ummm, Suarez? All the stats guys got Suarez wrong) so I’m actually using the stats as a story-telling device here not a predictive device. Either way, the point stands: Özil is a world class footballer and people are freaking out over nothing. He will be back to his best soon, I firmly believe it, and I don’t need stats to back that up.

      1. Vote -1 Vote +1Dr.Gooner

        I don’t know about you but I actually thought the second half of the Soton game was the best he’s played in an Arsenal shirt. Certainly the most eye-catching, most chest thumping (for him) “I’m taking control of this game” Ozil I have seen up to now. Gives me hope. I’m not worried about him coming good, but we need him to do it ASAP.

  12. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1Dr.Gooner

    To make myself feel better, I just watched that 2nd half. He was indeed very direct and created both goals plus other chances, but shockingly lax in the defensive phase compared to his teammates, at times. That needs to change.

  13. Vote -1 Vote +1@Enyocherish

    “To who much is given, much is expected.” This is true in the case of Özil. This is the expectation of the fans. He’s expected to live up to that tag of a match influencer or better still, game changer when the ships are down. Better still, there’s enough time for him to master his adaption phase in the Premier League and I hope he’s coming back stronger than ever to silence his critics. #UpAaarsenal!

  14. Vote -1 Vote +1Marshal

    I think people are been bias about ozil, he is a one of the best in the world in his position. Every day is not christmas, so some people just criticise him base on some matches an dont give him credit for the other games. In man u match back in nov giroud failed us after not able to convert sagna good deliveries an people wer on ozil neck. An man city an liverpool game was a team lost an people are still cricising ozil. Allow d boy to enjoy his football. Y are people not criticising hazard 4 his poor performance againts wesbrom.

  15. Vote -1 Vote +1Abdulwahab

    Let us not forget that Özil used to have the winter break back in his time in Spain and Germany. Maybe it is also has to do with fatigue

  16. Vote -1 Vote +1Dr.Gooner

    I saw some wonderful data on Ozil & average sprints per game. Was averaging 70 sprints per game early in the season, but hasn’t hit over 40 since the United game. Article also points out endurance was a big problem in his Madrid days as well. Goes on to say that we have put our hero up on a pedestal when he first arrived, but now it’s up to us to accept his genius, “warts and all.”

    http://www1.skysports.com/football/news/11670/9161356/why-is-ozil-fading

    1. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1Tee Söng

      Interesting stuff about the decrease in high intensity sprints. I know that criticism of the medical staff has been constant over the barren run but sometimes I wonder about the competency of our staff or perhaps more likely, whether or not Wenger listens to them. We already know of one very high profile case in which Wenger simply ignored important physiological data concerning Wilshere which may have directly contributed to his now two year struggle with an ankle injury. The muscular injuries of Ramsey, Podolski, Arteta, and Cazorla this season are concerning because these types of injury can be associated with overtraining. Top level professional footballers are subject to nine months of 60+ high intensity matches. With a summer tournament, that’s possibly 21 straight months without a significant break. Players need to be managed very carefully if there not going to completely break down. Physiologically, it’s almost like an exercise in damage control. And it’s not just the games which stress the players, it’s practice. TV5 is struggling with a calf injury and he can hardly complain of playing too many matches. Are practices too hard and high intensity, compounding the lack of rest that a big club has due to the number of competitions they compete in? Arsenal have consistently had more injured players and lost more game to injury time just about any top BPL club. Maybe, as some believe, it’s only due other teams overly aggressive approach to playing us and the refs complicity in allowing that play. I have doubts that’s the whole story.

  17. +4 Vote -1 Vote +1Scott Von gooner

    Ozil is a great talent. He is just adjusting to the prem. He will be great for years. Now Wilshere on the other hand is so overated I wish Wenger would sit him. Unless of course he has been told to constantly lose the ball in the middle and give counters and slowley jog behind it all watching. If that’s his job then he is doing wonderful.

    1. +2 Vote -1 Vote +1Tee Söng

      6 turnovers, twice dispossessed for Jack. I’m not sure why Wenger seems reluctant to use Rosicky alongside Arteta. And Szczesny’s save–wow! How many points has he won for us this season? A point won in this game.

  18. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1Tee Söng

    Ugh, worse ManUre team in 20 years and over two games we still can’t score against them and manage only a point. This team is definitely still a work in progress. After the summer window closed, I thought 80 points was the over/under mark for us and I still stand by that, although if I was a betting man the loss of Walcott for basically the entire season and Ramsey’s 10-12 week injury absence would have me pretty damn worried.

  19. +2 Vote -1 Vote +1jop

    Frustrating game.

    Never initially expected the team to be so in the race, now that we’re up in it it is really disappointing to see the opinions of the most dislikeable pundits come true: thin squad, will choke, etc. etc. =(

  20. +2 Vote -1 Vote +1ctpa

    I could only watch the first half but I thought a draw was looking likely. In spite of and despite what Wenger says, we have no offense if we can’t A) get players behind the back line and B) we have no one driving into the box. A + B =Walcott and Ramsey. I have a foreboding feeling about that situation.

    WTF? are we always presenting RVP gilt edge chances in the opening minutes? First it was Vermaelen and RVP scored and now comes a shaky Arteta doing his best Özil ‘caught in possession’ imitation.

    I’m not a happy camper because this draw sucks.

  21. +3 Vote -1 Vote +1Zeddington

    Those who argue that Ozil is missing his supporting cast got a boost today. How many times did he create space, or make a run, or burst on the break, only to have no support (except for a clumsy Giroud)?

    Also, what has happened to Wilshere? Is this the player that burst on the scene a couple of years back? He has the same qualities but looks but a shadow in terms of effectiveness. Perhaps the system is different, but where does he fit in this team? With zero tackles he’s no future Arteta. Without the all-action box-to-box runnings (as well as offensive and defensive contributions) he’s no Ramsey; and without the creativity he’s no Ozil. Is he destined to sit on the bench? He just doesn’t seem to have a role anymore.

  22. +2 Vote -1 Vote +1Tee Söng

    When Wilshere had his breakout season, Arsene commented that he was played in a deeper role for his education and that ultimately, Jack would end up behind the striker. I seem to remember that Arsene went so far as to compare him to Bergkamp. And Wenger was consistent in those comments right up until Özil signed and now he’s said that Jack is best in a deeper role. He certainly has some of the qualities to play both positions but he does seem to play rather chaotically and not in sync with the rest of the team, pushing up when he should sit deep and yet slow to burst forward when the opportunities present themselves, trying the eye of the needle pass when a simple ball was better, and holding on to the ball for far too long and seemingly unaware of where the opposition was. And currently, yes he’s a squad player behind better playmakers in Özil and Cazorla and a better box to box midfielder in Ramsey.

    1. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1Zeddington

      I remember that. It’s one reason he has the number 10 on his back. Strange. He couldn’t make that place his own, and now he’s got Ramsey for competition further back. If he doesn’t up his game (and I’m sure he will), he’ll be warming the bench more than he’d want.

  23. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1noble jerry

    i love you. besides all that ozil will not get an assist when giroud keeps wasting all the chances ang getting slower every match.

  24. +2 Vote -1 Vote +1Yan

    Couple of thoughts:

    Was that parking the Utd bus or what? Mata, RVP, Rooney and Valencia went anonymous for like 60min if not more.

    Arteta’s “mistake” gifting rvp that chance was really his fault? Szczesny shouldn’t pass it right there in the middle so close to the box, it’s too risky. Player receiving the ball there can’t see what’s behind him. That’s why you go with fullbacks.

    Handbrake was on. You could smell the fear of losing the match. For both sides.

    Vidic should’ve got like 3 yellows.

    Why nobody is talking about the penalty on Giroud?

    Both Giroud and Ozil need runners. Playing with fear prevented comitting to much to attack -> no runners.

    Still, a couple of headers should’ve go in. Koz’s and Giroud’s

    Gibbs is a monster.

    We were close. We will get better.

    Big question… we will play with the same fear against Liverpoo come Sunday and Bayern next week?

    Come on you reds!

  25. Vote -1 Vote +1JV Mauer

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but it seems to me that when a long ball is sent in to Giroud, he doesn’t trap it, but rather deflects it and trusts in his long legs to get himself to it before the defenders do. Could it be that the opposition has sussed this out and are looking for the deflection, thereby beating him to the lose ball?

      1. Vote -1 Vote +1jvmauer

        Yeah, as much as I usually like to say we should expect this crap and play like we’re always up against 12 men, that was pretty blatant, and the non-call was pivotal. I won’t say it cost us the game, ’cause we should’ve converted one of the other chances, but we go Crapped on there.

  26. Vote -1 Vote +1Panther

    The problem is simple, Giroud never runs in behind defences he wants everything played into feet.Wenger realy is a stupid man in relation to forming the right ingrediants for a title winning team. He insists on building the attack around Giroud who is very limited and is a poor finisher and on top of that, Wenger wants to play Giroud in every game. Ozil needs movement around him so he can make the defense splitting passes he’s famous for. Theres no point Wenger buying Ozil if he doesn’t buy the right forward to make decisive runs in goal scoring areas. It’s Wenger and his stupidity that is the problem.

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