By Walter Broeckx
Looking back at the Sunderland match there are a lot of good things I have noticed.
Last week one of our commenters came up with an interesting stat. He pointed out that when we went behind we usually lost the match. I think only once could we turn a deficit around in a win. Leicester being that one where we turned it around after coming behind early in the match. But in other matches we couldn’t do this.
So when we came from behind against Sunderland after bad mistakes by Gibbs and Koscielny the signs didn’t look good. Certainly not when you looked at the players on the field as we were without what we could call the big and experienced boys. No Özil, Per, Flamini… players that have been around and could lead us. Or without the injured players like Santi, Alexis and Coquelin.
But the youngsters didn’t panic. They just kept on playing their game. And they managed to turn it around. Bellerin was very impressive in the second half with two assists and certainly the second looked to have been taken out of the Özil book of assists. Bellerin who wasn’t even expected to start this match as he had a few days off and was spotted in Amsterdam at the start of the week. But going to Amsterdam got him going on a high.
Iwobi made his proper home debut. And he surely didn’t look out of place. The 19 year young man didn’t shy away from the ball. He kept asking for the ball and he had a great moment when he went past 3 Sunderland players and only was denied by a good block of the Sunderland keeper. That would have been a dream debut for him…scoring in his first match at the Emirates. But now he had to be satisfied with just the excellent home debut. Don’t worry Alex, the goal will come. His record at youth level isn’t that bad when it comes to scoring so I’m confident he will score.
Apart from the goal from Sunderland and one moment in the second half when Fletcher headed the ball against the crossbar our central defenders Gabriel and Kos did a good job. It is good to see that we can use different combinations at the back without losing our stability it seems.
Chambers also did play his part in the match. Offering himself the whole time to his team mates so they could give the ball to him. And for the first time he didn’t look nervous from the start. Something I have seen in the past from him and was for me one of the points he had to improve on. He looked a lot calmer and composed from the start. Good job.
A player that grew in to the match was Oxlade-Chamberlain. Playing more central and drifting all over the field. At times still overdoing it a bit. But that is part of his playing style one could say. Sometimes the simple pass is the best option but then The Ox decided to take one more on and losing the ball. Experience is the key I think. The Ox will always be more of a dribbler than a passer. It is the way he has been playing for his whole career. And he has the skills and the pace to go past people. We cannot take that out of his game as it might cost him and reduce his abilities.
Yes he will make the wrong decisions from time to time but all players do. But his pass with the outside of his boot to release Bellerin for our third goal was excellent. The Ox has somehow frustrated some fans as he has so much potential but hasn’t used it in the most effective way so far. Once his effectiveness raises he will be a great player who can dribble, pass and score. Certainly for a man with his potential he should be able to become a 15 goals a season player. And avoiding losing the ball in dangerous places. His big working point at the start of the season.
I thought Gibbs also had a good match. His pass to Koscielny that made Kos lose the ball for the Sunderland goal was a bad moment. But apart from that he did an excellent job for the rest of the match. He was involved in a lot of dangerous attacks and if our strikers would have been on fire he could have had at least the same numbers of assists as Bellerin. Some dangerous crosses high and low that weren’t finished. Monreal has seen that he has to remain his high form to keep his place. As it should be.
Finally a word about my man of the match. Joel Campbell. He found it a bit difficult at the start of the match to get in to the rhythm and it took him some time to really get going. Van Aanholt had him well in control in the opening 20 minutes. But once the team went behind Campbell came to life and started running things on his flank. And then started drifting around when he got the ball. The equaliser was of course a very important moment both for the team as for him.
After he had scored he became one the players who started running the show. His work rate was great once again. He was very much involved in the second goal with setting up Bellerin in the one-two that allowed Ramsey to score. Some good interplay with Iwobi on the right flank and a bit of bad luck when the Sunderland keeper made a great stop on an effort after a good pass from Theo.
Wenger said on Arsenal.com that Campbell was this season’s Coquelin. A great compliment from the boss on the young Costa Rican. Danny the scout and Untold writer, did a great job. And another example on why it is important for younger players to keep calm and wait for the chance. It will come and then you have to be able to take it. Coquelin did it last season and now Campbell seems to be doing it and stepping up to the first team and become a real Arsenal player.
Who will be the next Coquelin-Campbell? We can pick from Chamberlain (another C) or Chambers (another C) or will Chuba Akpom make the step next season? It sure looks it has to be one with a C at the start of their name.
- Ozil was a last minute panic buy in a position we didn’t need to strengthen
- Two dead cert Arsenal transfers to follow through and see how they pan out.
Two from the anniversary file
- 11 January 1930: Of course no one knew at the time it but the FA Cup third round game, Arsenal 2 Chelsea 0 was the start of the journey to the first major trophy. Appropriately for history, Lambert and Bastin got the goals.
- 11 January 1936: Bristol Rovers 1 Arsenal 5 on the way to another cup triumph. Ten of the Arsenal team were full internationals – it was the first time this had happened in a senior match in England.