Giroud, Ozil, Lucas, Coquelin And The Importance Of Not Losing.

Morning, shiny happy people.

Yesterday was exactly what we needed it to be; a victory to get us back on track. What’s important to consider as far as I’m concerned is we got the 3 points after two back-to-back defeats. It may not have been comprehensive, compelling, a spectacle or easy on the nerves, but we won.

These games occur when Arsenal have had a bad patch. You can sense the nerves from the players right the way to the fans. The longer the score stayed 0-0, the worse it got. Around the 70 minute mark (In some cases long before) swords were being sharpened across the internet as it looked very much like West Brom and an in-form, time-wasting Ben Foster would keep us at bay.

But thanks to a fine cross from Mesut Ozil and a header that deserves a great deal of praise from Olivier Giroud, we took the spoils of victory and postponed another epic meltdown amongst some of our more peculiar supporters. Both players had been relatively anonymous during the game – Ozil in particular appears to be having a dip in form –  but showed exactly their worth in that moment. Ozil’s cross was accurate to a millimetre and Giroud’s finish was cushioned perfectly to arc over Foster’s reach and executed whilst under considerable pressure from the defender.

The performance as a whole was far from bad. We created chances, controlled the possession and, aside from a wobble from Cech that presented West Brom a chance from which they should have scored, we didn’t look under any threat from our opponents. Admittedly, we were some distance from the level of performance we’ll need to show consistently if we are to challenge, but it wasn’t quite the shower of sh*t you’ll read others tell you it was.

Arsene summed it up best:

“We had to be patient against a very well organised West Brom side – nobody beats them easily in this league,

They are tenacious and disciplined. We needed to keep composure and our patience. We couldn’t afford to make a defensive mistake as they are dangerous on the counter attack.

We had a very high level of possession and domination but we needed something special from Olivier”

There were plenty of plus points. Lucas Perez looked sharp and eager to get involved when he came on. He’s also got a wonderful turn of pace. His goals record since he came to Arsenal is very good indeed. Players from abroad often need a period to acclimatise to the ferocious pace of the Premiership. Lucas has had a nice period of time to bed himself in and I think we’ll start to see more of him over the next 5 months.

However, I again noticed the phenomenon that is Francis Coquelin; trequartista. Maybe this complaint is something that only bothers me. The last time I put my thoughts down into words, there was a bit of a backlash as some of you felt I was being a touch unfair. I think Coquelin is a solid, dependable midfielder when it comes to the holding, defensive position. But he’s not Rivaldo in the attacking third, and at one point yesterday he was trying to do one-twos on the left corner of the opponents penalty area.

Against better opponents, we will get punished if he continues to do that. I noticed both he and Xhaka played in higher offensive positions. Taking into account the lack of an attacking threat from West Brom, I can understand if they’ve been given a freedom to join the attacks. But surely one should stay whilst the other goes? At times, I could see huge gaps in the midfield a good counter-attacking team would have used to rip us to shreds.

But that’s a slightly negative note and I’d far rather end things on a positive note today. We took 3 points after a very difficult week. Trailing Chelsea by 9 points at this stage doesn’t necessarily mean we have to concede the title and moan interminably for the the rest of the season. Of course, in all likelihood they will win the league as they look the most consistent and formidable at present.

But 3 months ago they looked anything but a title contender. Fortunes in this wonderful game can change quickly and until there’s a protuberant woman caterwauling at us all, nothing is decided and nothing is won.

That’s all for today, folks. Drop me some words in the handy comments section below with your thoughts on the result and the performance. I shall return soon with more so until that time, and as always: thanks for reading, you beautiful bastards.

6 Comments

  1. Xist

    Santi is essential for the team balance, and sadly, no one can fill this void but him. I don’t understand why we have all these midfielders in the team if most of them are competing over one spot. I really admire the tenacious and solid nature of Xhaka, he’s getting better with every game. He reads the field well, and most of all, he thinks before he plays the ball. Whereas Coquelin, no offense, he just fights for the ball and, most of the time, he plays it wrong when he wins it.
    I believe Xhaka will turn out to be the best DM, along with Santi they can rule the midfield. Coquelin and Elnenny are good substitutes, but not up to the level that the team needs right now.

    Reply
  2. Ruel Carvey

    Everyone seem to forget what is a job of a true defensive midfielder, and seek every opportunity to try justify why coquelin should not be playing, I would like to know how many bad passes coquelin made in the final third compared to xhaka, since it has come down to style of play.

    Reply
    1. James 'Raul' Stokes (Post author)

      @Ruel Carvey: You’ve got me wrong. I think Coquelin makes a good defensive midfielder. But he doesn’t exactly excel further upfield…

      Reply
  3. T C

    The thing is Coquelin would have been specifically told to not be afraid to join the attack, because it’s a Pulis ‘wall’ that needed to be broken down, and we have Bellerin back to deal with any breaks a hopeful punt upfield might have caused. I’d definitely agree that in a normal situation Coq should be sticking to protecting the back four, but this was a rare situation where any help to improve it from being 6 of our attackers vs 10 defenders would be appreciated. I actually thought he judged quite well when to join the attack, despite him not having the greatest attacking technique.
    But I totally agree this was a better win that many are saying. West Brom really gave Chelsea a test and I thought we actually handled them better, plus there’s nothing more satisfying than having to make Pulis explain to the fans that the negative football they just watched gave them a grand total of zero points.

    Reply
    1. James 'Raul' Stokes (Post author)

      @TC: I can’t argue with that. Neither of us knows what the players are told, but you’d assume both he and Xhaka are told to join the attacks. I would imagine more so with Xhaka, though. And they’d have been told to choose their moments wisely.

      Reply
  4. Connor

    I remember the instance you’re referring to about our clinical maestro that is Coquelin. He pinged a pass and darted directly to the touch line only to stand for about 10 seconds while play was thankfully dished wide. I happened to glance at Xhaka just to check for cover and he was sitting deep (about 30 yards out) looking directly at Coquelin thinking “have we ever made that run in training?”.

    Reply

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