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Sunday 22 September 2013

Mezut - Here's Hoping He's The Main Man Catalyst To Convert Leaden 4th Place Losers Into Silver Encumbered Superstars, Rather Than A Seriously Overpriced Passenger

Le Vélodrome - Will be nice when it's finished

With all three assists against Stoke and with the Gunners currently top of the pops, on paper it would appear as if we're already receiving a lucrative return on our £42 million investment for Mezut Özil. Yet after raving about the Umlaut’s economy of movement, following his debut on Wearside, there were plenty of murmurings in our corner of le Vélodrome in Marseille in midweek, about our new superstar’s lack of earnest endeavour.

I don’t intend to rush to judgement, by suggesting we’ve blown the bank on a “luxury player”, since it might well take Özil time to attain the sort of match fitness required, amidst the frenetic environs of the Premiership. Nevertheless, it was most amusing to savour the poetic justice of Aaron Ramsey stabbing home the rebound from Özil’s free-kick in the opening minutes on Sunday and then subsequently serving Stoke up a long overdue taste of their own medicine, with two headed goals from Mezut’s corners.

You can see why Özil was relegated to taking corners and Ronaldo had dominion over the free-kicks at Real Madrid, as our new No. 11 doesn’t appear to strike a dead ball with anything like the ferocity of a Leighton Baines (who does?).  As was the case in his first two appearances, aside from trotting over to take control of all our set-pieces, our German superstar barely broke sweat again in Sunday’s game. Having been all too often robbed of possession, on those instances when he might’ve had an opportunity to pick the lock of the Potters defence, Özil was largely anonymous in open play.

However he was far from alone in his failure to light the Red & White touch-paper in his home debut. Thankfully, unlike most early KO’s, where we’re in the habit of not turning up until the second-half, we laid into Stoke with a vengeance. But having taken the lead so early on, the Gunners were patently guilty of taking our foot off the gas. Much as in our laboured Champions League triumph in the South of France and the majority of our matches thus far, we achieved the most satisfying trick of securing all three points, with the sort of mundane display that would’ve otherwise resulted in uproarious disgust on the terraces, if it wasn’t for the small matter of an unbroken winning streak, ever since the anomaly of our opening defeat against Villa.

Gay Gooners On Tour

Mind you, I barely had time to draw breath after the long drive back from the North-East last weekend, before heading off to warmer climes for Wednesday’s encounter. Indulging in some late-night liquid celebrations in Marseille’s enchanting le Vieux Porte probably didn’t help my cause, but I was cream-crackered by the time I returned from my Provencal jolly and with our injury-ravaged squad denying Wenger the option of much rotation right now, it’s perhaps not surprising that some of our players appeared equally jaded, the longer Sunday’s game wore on.

In the past the Arsenal might well have succumbed in the face of the Potters blatant physicality. Admittedly Mark Hughes has begun to oversee Stoke’s evolution from Pullis’ Neanderthal incarnation of ball hoofers (their former manager would’ve blown a gasket if his charges had been guilty of so much passing!) but more importantly, the Gunners appear to be discovering the crucial knack of winning games, despite performing well below par.

In listing the various deficiencies of the main contenders' squads in a piece in the Guardian, Barney Ronay wrote “….Arsenal’s inability to stop winning right now is clearly an affront against nature, considering their basic lack of pretty much everything”. Although Ronay’s obviously neglected to consider our glut of midfield options (even the hapless Myaichi got another look-in on Sunday, while his mysterious Asian mate, Park Chu-Young remains on the missing list!), with Bendtner and his oversized ego, our solitary other striking option on the bench, there’s no disguising our insecurity, so long as North London’s rapidly expanding feelgood bubble remains only one nasty foul away from being burst.

On a more optimistic note, if the Gunners can continue to build momentum, by maintaining our winning groove, heaven help the opposition when our best XI truly begins to click!

Pre-Match Meal Watching the Marseille Sunset Show Off Norman Foster's
Contribution To The 2013 City Of Culture, In All It's Excessive Glory

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Anonymous said...

What an extraordinary criticism of Ozil's work rate.
He worked very hard today and worked the right flank very effectively. Given the pressure/adjustment and attention I thought he did very well

Anonymous said...

hopelessly inaccurate assessment of Ozil, and the team

Bern said...

I assume that neither of you were amongst the 850 Gooners in Marseille on Wednesday, where by the sound of so much vocal criticism, one could be forgiven for thinking Ozil had been transformed from the source of Gooner salvation, to a lazy mercenary sod, in the space of four days.

I pray he'll prove himself to be the former, but the proof will be in the pudding of his performances, or his willingness to graft against more serious opposition

Bern said...

Admittedly we didn't pay £42million for Mezut to toil industriously, making tackles all over the pitch but I expect a certain level of effort from all of our players.

Now Flamini has worked his socks off and that's what he's paid to do, but I'm afraid that if you seriously believe we've seen Ozil exhaust himself in any of his three performances thus far, you've either been watching entirely different games to me, or have seen our games via the auspices of TV coverage, where you are denied the opportunity of knowing exactly how much work, or lack thereof takes place off the ball.

I sincerely hope I'm tempting fate, by even suggesting the possibility that Ozil could end up something of a passenger in games where we find ourselves with our backs up against the wall and he'll go on to make me look thoroughly stupid.

After all, I rarely recall the likes of Dennis Bergkamp needing to break sweat because his talent was demonstrated in the ease with which he played the game. Hopefully Ozil will do just the same, once he's become fully adjusted to his new surroundings and any such concerns will then prove completely unfounded

Only time will tell

Anonymous said...

Do u know any thing about ozil, that is jus how he plays he's not one to throw in tackles but wen he is on the ball he is class once he's in the apmiddle 3rd to the attacking 3rd expect something of quality so hop off his back deer is no pleasing u ppl is there chupz!!!!!