3-0. This looked to be a flat game promising nervy moments, with one of them having just passed with Szczesny denying Villa from point-black, and I was still cutting up the video when Arsenal scored three straight goals. After that things got boring and uneventful, and it was the boring and uneventful you like.
It’s like when a doctor has to comment on a patient’s condition and he goes, “After the surgery, John’s heart rate was unremarkable”. That doesn’t mean John’s about to die, no, not at all. It means John’s doing just fine. And that’s what Arsenal were, just fine after scoring those goals as they let the match glide to its formal end.
Mesut Ozil scored after being put through by Danny Welbeck, and in that moment between when he received the pass and the ball went in the net, every part of my being was praying for Ozil to slot that in. He’s been getting so much schtick of late, like being called a ‘passenger’ by the Nancy Grace of football punditry, that he needed this to shut his critics up and a goal is a quick way to do that. A goal can provide brief but sustained period of relief from critics, and it’s a lot similar to when my wife is bugging me about not doing stuff around the house. After I mow the lawn and take out the trash, I immediately buy myself about two nag-free days where nothing is asked of me. Ozil just did that in a football context. That opened the game up immediately, and Welbeck slotted one in from close range, before an own goal sealed Villa’s fate. Going back to lawns though, here’s something I noticed in The Walking Dead which I stopped watching due to that shitty little kid:
Oxlade-Chamberlain got the start ahead of Sanchez, which surprised some people and the cynics would immediately classify that as Wenger dropping him, when in reality it was explained as a guy getting a day off after a mid-week game, and having played in the World Cup. I thought Ox was effective, and he appears to be a great replacement for Sanchez since both are very direct players. If he doesn’t loose the ball (a problem at times) or isn’t making speculative passes (also needs to be worked on), he provides enough thrust in midfield that forces the defense on their heels. That thrust right now isn’t being provided by Ramsey who tends to be drifting out instead of making those incisive runs that got him so many goals last season. Still, early days.
Villa had come into the game riding quite high after beating Liverpool at Anfield, but failed to test the Arsenal defense after the hammer blow of three goals. The defensive unit of Chambers, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Gibbs and Arteta, were never cut open because Arsenal controlled possession and Villa, other than Abgonlahor, don’t have a threat which could bother us, especially with Benteke out. They tried 19-year old Grealish to up the tempo in their favor but you, sort of, need possession and control to do that, which they were denied.
The great part about football is that there’s a tremendous amount of Schadenfreude at play, and watching Liverpool loose to West Ham was quite pleasing, even more so when it’s topped off by good humour:
This guy travelled all the way from 1721 to watch Liverpool lose pic.twitter.com/rrg8q8Snur
— Pat (@GoalCampbell) September 20, 2014
Here’s The Callout:
Welbeck: A goal a game isn’t too much to ask of an Arsenal striker given the amount of chances we usually create. Sounds too much? Think not.
Ox: He’s surprisingly strong in midfield, you think some big burly midfielder’s about to dispossess him and he evades him with a shoulder shrug. Also made a goal-saving block.
Ramsey: Dat pass.
Cazorla: He needs to start doing his goal celebration after non-goal events. Like, after a throw-in or when a FK hits the wall, it would be fantastic and confuse everyone. I didn’t notice him do anything special all game other than control possession and pass the ball around. Which is what was needed, I suppose.
Ozil: Scored one, created one. MOTM. It’s a good thing his English is poor or else he must be appalled at the hate-on the English press has for him. The goal will help, and even more so will what greets him when he goes home.
Arteta: I find it hilarious when he tries to win a header without leaving his feet. Reminds me of when I try to tear of a sheet of toilet paper with one hand. Not going to happen, you NEED both hands. Even though he struggles at times, he’s still better than Steven Gerrard in that role.
Chambers: Imagine being 19 years old and starting for Arsenal? Damn, it must feel good to be a gangsta.
Mertesacker: Didn’t fall down, except once, sort of. The less you talk about defenders, the better the game the team had.
Koscielny: Nice feint.
Gibbs: Every time I saw him in Villa’s half, I tried to look for whether Ozil was covering for him. He sort of was.
Rosicky: Saving his goals for Spurs. Triple sub executed by Wenger, looked happy to get a trot for his first PL game of the year.
Podolski: Had no trouble finding his shin pads.
Wilshere: Whew, he’s okay.