Arsenal 3 Stoke 1: Lessons Learned from the Gunners’ Victory
The world’s most exciting league had its fair share of twists and turns as Gameweek 5 began with Liverpool knocked off the summit of the table following a surprising home loss to Southampton. If you thought that an away victory for So’ton against Liverpool was astonishing, I’m certain that I saw a rainbow outside my house in Lagos, Nigeria as John Mikel Obi, yes, the goal-shy John Mikel Obi, scored his first league goal for Chelsea since the days King Arthur ruled Camelot.
Sunday began with a lunchtime fixture between Arsenal and Stoke City and lot was spoken in regard to the Gooners’ profound hatred for the lead Orc, Ryan Shawcross, after he halted Aaron Rasmey’s fledgling career, albeit temporarily, with a horrific tackle but the Welsh Dragon had put the past behind him and focused on the game ahead.
Despite the fact that he was in a very rich vein of goalscoring form, Arsenal fans were hoping that he was going to score against a dreadful side like Stoke, although they aren’t that dreadful under Mark Hughes, as he has transformed them from a Rugby outfit to a rather decent footballing side.
At the end of 90 minutes, Arsenal earned an all-important victory that propelled them to the top of the Premier League, and this has given the fans a renewed sense of optimism as this might just be the year *coughs*
Without any further ado, here are some lessons I’ve learned from the Gunners victory over Stoke.
Mesut Ozil – He Assists When He Wants
Despite the fact that he signed just 22 days ago, it still seems like a fantasy.
Mesut Ozil, Europe’s most potent creative force in the last five seasons, is actually a Gunner, and he has picked up where he left off as it took him just 11 minutes of Premier League football to create his first assist in Arsenal colors. When the Gunners traveled to the French riviera to take on Marseille, Ozil executed a neat back heeled pass to Kieran Gibbs and if the fullback had converted that chance, it would have been assist #2 for m-OZIL-la Firefox.
In his home debut, Ozil was a class act yet again as he supplied all three assists for his teammates. The first was a delightful free kick that was parried by Asmir Begovic into Ramsey’s path and the Welsh Dragon wasted no time in picking his spot and slotting it past the goalie. The second assist was a neatly executed corner kick that was nodded by the Big Friendly Giant, Per Mertesacker. Ozil’s final assist on the day was an inch-perfect cross that was converted courtesy of a dipping header from Bacary Sagna.
As expected, Arsene Wenger was effusive in his praise for his German perpetual assist-creating machine of the first kind,
“When you look at Ozil’s numbers, the assists are not a coincidence, it’s just the reality of his game. I believe that once he is completely integrated we’ll see even more of him but he has shown today that he is a great player.”
In rather simpler terms, Mesut Ozil assists when he wants.
The Ramsey Inferno Keeps Burning
I really think that we need some ice around the Emirates, because the Gunners’ Welsh Dragon, Aaron Ramsey, is scorching hot. After just eight appearances, Ramsey is leading the Gunners’ goalscoring charts with seven goals to his name, which is his best goalscoring return in a top flight season.
The fascinating thing about Ramsey’s goalscoring form is how simple he has kept his football, eradicating his previous over-elaborate style of play and now his every move is now carefully thought out, which shows maturity way beyond his years. Amazingly, Ramsey has also shown a predatory instinct in the box as well as the edge of the area and his composure has allowed him to convert his chances with clinical accuracy.
With Mikel Arteta on his way to full fitness, Mathieu Flamini will be to be sacrificed because Ramsey is on supernova at the moment and we can only hope that his amazing form continues.
Arsenal – a Threat from Set Pieces?
At some point in my life as a thoroughbred Arsenal fan, I loathed and dreaded games against Sam Allardyce’s Bolton side because their Route-One style of play, coupled with the massive beasts of players in their disposal, was more than a match for Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal side that was all peaches and cream. Anytime that Bolton side had a set piece, the Gunners were always sweating in their pants as the chances of conceding a goal was very high.
As the years went by, Arsenal focused so much on creating goals from open play but offered little or no threat from set pieces due to the surprisingly limited amount of natural free kick takers as well as defenders that hardly threatened from attacking corners. Stoke City on the other hand, are a team renowned for the prowess in dead ball situation and they applied it to devastating effect in the league.
Yesterday, Arsenal beat Stoke in their own game (not Rugby though), as Arsene Wenger’s side scored all three goals from dead balls courtesy of some excellent delivery from Mesut Ozil. Last season, Theo Walcott, Santi Cazorla, Jack Wilshere and Mikel Arteta tried their luck from dead balls in the course of the campaign, but more times than normal, their attempts were wasteful.
In Ozil, the Gunners have a player that is blessed with a cultured left foot blessed by the gods of Mount Olympus themselves, and the more Ozil will get on the end of those set pieces, the better for everyone in the team. An assist can only be worthwhile if the pass is converted into a goal so due credit must also go to Ramsey, Per Mertesacker and Bacary Sagna for picking their spots in Begovic’s goal.
There are a lot of lessons that have been learned from Arsenal’s victory against Stoke. Feel free to share yours with your comments.
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