By Tony Attwood
You know the world has gone even madder than it was yesterday when you wake up and see the Daily Telegraph (that most sneering, jibing anti-Arsenal of papers) has done a double somersault and turns itsself on its head (if you see what I mean).
Of Arsenal against Olympiakos they said, “little had been learnt from similar nightmares here last season.” And ran headlines like
And what do they say today?
“Much has been made of the fact Arsène Wenger didn’t sign any outfield player during the summer transfer window. Well, he had one here, with the arrival finally in a key Premier League match of Özil at his most incisive, plus a glimpse perhaps of something new too.”
Well, yes, much was made of the fact that there was no signing. By the Guardian among others. Ignoring the whole notion of evidence-based football reporting by missing the fact that we brought through Coquelin and Bellerin.
But perhaps that is a detail.
So the Guardian writes…
“The game’s about to start. No…No we’re 3-0 up already. Özil’s playing like a god. Arsène. Arsène, stop babbling into your pillow.” Quite what that last bit means I am not sure. Maybe the author actually wrote “Fleet Street stop babbling” but the editor took it out.
And so we get to the position of the Telegraph’s headline, “if Arsenal can reproduce the aggression and the intense will to win they showed here they have a fair shot this season at beating any team on any ground at any time. Özil is key to this.”
To be fair the article does make up for lost time speaking of Özil as “a lovely, beguiling infuriating sprite of a No10 – well worth waiting for. His first significant touch was a dreamy little flick with the outside of his foot. After which Özil drifted left, dropping into Ashley Young’s space, creating pockets of alarm wherever he went….
“On 35 minutes he did something only semi-possible, pulling a high pass out of the air by backing into Carrick and simultaneously allowing the ball to run down his shin on tot his toe where it briefly stuck dead still, like an orange impaled on a skewer.” Barney Ronay you are rehabilitated.
But let me help a little more. In term of assists last season we had Santi Cazorla who with 12 assists was the second highest deliverer in the league, despite the position he moved into alongside Coquelin. Mesut Özil had five because he too was playing in a different role.
This season Mesut is the third highest in the assist league, just two behind the leader David Silva. Two behind Mesut are three more Arsenal players, Santi Cazorla, Theo and Monreal. You see, we tend to share these things around.
The smoke, mirrors and endless patronage of the media that Liverpool and indeed Chelsea use, is not part of the Arsenal way. If the press used evidence, they might have noted that.
- 5 October 1889: First ever FA Cup match played by Arsenal as Royal Arsenal beat Lyndhurst 11-0 although there is some debate over which Lyndhurst it was, but the club in Hampshire which is still playing, claim the honour. See also here
- 5 October 2004: The name “The Emirates Stadium” was announced, with naming rights granted for 15 years alongside an eight year shirt sponsorship deal. The price was about £100m. Although the name did not leak out in advance, Arsenal did start buying web sites with EmiratesStadium in them – but forgot emiratesstadium.info which Untold Arsenal purchased for £2.00.