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July 2021

Arsenal – Fulham Bus Company 2-0

By Walter Broeckx

From the first minutes you could see that the only thing Fulham had in mind was to prevent a defeat and if anything with an acceptable scoreline.

The game could have opened up early on when a nice combination between Wilshere and Özil put the latter through on goal. His shot with the foot beat the Fulham keeper but Hangeland could keep the ball out of the goal a yard in front of the goal line. It might have made our match much easier. But as it didn’t go in we could expect it would become tough.

If you want to beat a bus parking team your creating players have to be in form. It became clear after half an hour that Özil today wasn’t in the best form. An unusual amount of bad controls, balls getting away from him. I think this was his worst match we have seen from him. But this can happen. And the good thing is that he always tries again and again and again. Until it works. Or not. But he will try again.

I can imagine that the fickle part of the fans will turn on Özil this week. As they did last week by turning on Cazorla. Can you imagine I had to defend Cazorla on social media against ones that are already talking about him as being not fit to wear the shirt. Amazing. Ok, one could say it was his pass that lead to the Aston Villa goal last Monday but surely that is not a good enough reason to start abusing him.

But later more on Cazorla. The first half we were on top but we didn’t create much. Gnabry with a few attempts but his canon shots were well off target. But he was very much trying to create things. Our defence stood good as usual and apart from a shot from distance from Sidwell, well stopped by Szczesny Fulham offered nothing up front. A rather disappointing first half ended with a correct 0-0 score.  We knew we could perform better it was up to us to show it in the second half.

At first Fulham seemed to go a bit more forward at the start of the second half.  But that was just a bit misleading as gradually the pressure from Arsenal was building up. More and more shots that got blocked on the line by defenders, keeper, legs, foots, heads… I think we had 4 shots in 2 seconds at one instance and you felt that a goal had to come.

The player some had asked to be benched provided the final solution. Cazorla started a move on the left flank, cut inside played a ball to Giroud who put it in the path of Wilshere a cut back and Cazorla was on hand to put it in the goal with his right foot.  Nothing more than we deserved.

And adding to the fun just minutes later Cazorla took a shot from outside the area that went in past Stekelenburg. 2-0 and game over.  Fulham showed nothing and even when 2-0 down they didn’t give the impression to try to get one back.

Podolski came on for Gnabry and the German striker was hungry. And he showed it with some good actions. And a bomber shot that struck the hand of the keeper and then the goal post and then flew back in the field.Unlucky.

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Arsenal then contented themselves with playing the game out. Passing and passing and when they played it faster they looked dangerous each time. But no more goals were scored.

Only in the last minutes Fulham tried to do something back. And on one occasion Bent even came one on one with Szczesny. The keeper stopped the ball but it rebounded kindly for Bent who then missed what seemed to be an easy goal. We must mention the presence from Koscielny who was quickly on to Bent and distracted him enough to put the ball wide.

And in the second minute of extra time of the extra time Szczesny again had to make a stop on a low shot that he almost spilled but he was first on the ball.

A difficult match for almost one hour till the ban was broken. After that it was easy and comfortable. You just feel this team will not let in many goals when they are in that mood.

Our defenders were again up to the task with Monreal getting the starting place in front of Gibbs after the scare on Monday was good news. In the absence of our midfielders Ramsey and Arteta and with Rosicky only on the bench after his broken nose the depth in midfield looks amazing. When they all are fit again… man what a squad.

Up front Gnabry was very busy and he could and should have scored maybe. But good work from the only 18 year old German. Giroud looked a bit flat today but with the twin towers from Fulham it was difficult to get much room and with Özil off tune the ball was not played enough on the floor.

Cazorla has shut up a few doubters who tried to find a new scapegoat last week. Well done Santi.

The best thing is that even with our best player having a bad day it became a routine win.

After 22 matches Arsenal is Top of the League. Long may it continue! COYG!!!


85 comments to Arsenal – Fulham Bus Company 2-0

  • Sammy The Snake

    Walter, scapegoat for what?! We’re top of the table. Anyone looking for scapegoats is a complete idiot. 🙂 There are no reasons to moan, non at all.
    Gunners love it on top!

  • Even when Fulham were 2-0 down they were parking the bus – awful team. Hope they are relegated.

    Good win given the circumstances, though we need to sharpen up. There were a few players not quite at it today. 3 points though and we move on.

  • Yassin

    1- I believe Ozil was freakly good today, dont know why you said he played worst game for us.
    2- Player who played a very bad game was Giroud, and specially in the first half, and look how much less chances were created when he wasnt on. For all those who say we need a striker better than Giroud, all the team form are dependent on him. He is the main man for chances to come, first time he clicked in, 1-0 Arsenal. Second time, Podilski shot was saved by defender. Is it too much pressure from our fans on him, or is it the calling we need a quality striker that has made his form so.
    3- Cazorla and Ozil still dont know how to gel together, plus Ozil should be given time to gel in the whole team, ohhh next year is gonna be superb.
    4- you stupid goal post that was goal of the month.
    5- Monreal/Gibbs, no one notice. What a quality players.
    6- Scszeney best on form Goalkeeper in the world right now, no one argue me.
    7- let us have a normal rest before City game, and we will make the points gap their, if other teams just like to not try against them.
    8- Best team, best blog, best attenders on this Blog.
    9- Walter, how could you forget to put the league table, I want to see who is top of the league, in case somebody forgot or somthing.
    10- Arsenal home fans are back to what they were before, thank you.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Why do so many English teams lack so much imagination….a lot seem to do little more than hoof, park the bus and time,waste. Or is it just when they play us?
    SC a scapegoat!!!! …..that really is a desperate measure from desperate people….or spud sleepers

  • Mandy Dodd

    Villa ahead! Really hope they can keep it up

  • Mandy Dodd

    Villa 2. 0 up now!

  • AL

    Awesome result, and brilliant performances from everyone all round 🙂 Top of the table!!

  • Sammy The Snake

    Let’s hope Liverpool don’t wake up in the second half, and drop some points.

  • Suarez just dived to get the equalising penalty against Villa. I was going to pity Villa but then I remember the opening day at the Emirates. Maybe it all indeed even out in the end 🙂

  • John

    Off topic; Suarez has got away with blatant cheating!

  • AL

    Yeah, just seen that too John. No contact whatsoever….. It was Moss who got conned but wouldn’t blame him as suarez is a master at these things.

  • Tom

    I’m afraid I have to disagree with your assessment of Ozill’s performance and I’m a little surprised at the criticism he’s been getting from some on here since his arrival from Real.

    I think there maybe some misconceptions as to what Ozill’s game should be like and what the reasons for which he was brought in were.

    I find it amusing that people who criticize him are often the very same people who say we don’t need another striker with perhaps a different set of attributes than Giroud’s

    In Madrid, his passes into channels were finding Ronaldo, Benzema,Higuain and De Maria ,all of whom were capable of making decisive runs in behind the defenders whereas at Arsenal , our only striker ,Giroud plays primarily with his back to goal and is never going to run away from anybody.

    This is not to knock Giroud by any means , who had his hand in both goals scored today( a flick on in the build up to the first one and blocking the view of Stekelenburg’s in the second one- that one perhaps less legal 🙂 )

    In football, a run dictates the pass and when he was presented with a telling run , he has found the right pass most times.
    I don’t think I have to remind anyone the pass to Monreal in the build up to the first goal in the Villa game or his sublime passes to Walcott in the Sunderland game.

    Injuries to Walcott have been the biggest hindrance to Ozill showing his true worth. Ox and Gnabry are very quick but nowhere near the finished product Walcott is.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Complete,dive by Suarez. Strange,the way Jon moss was in such a,rush to give it though , maybe FIF is right about him after all.
    Liverpool got another soft pen with Sterling recently as well

  • Sammy The Snake

    @Tom Good point. Thanks for the positive attitude.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Think you may be right about Ozil, and I expect wenger to bring in a forward to play with Giroud and his qualities….but maybe one that can get more from Ozil and his qualities.
    That may happen in the summer but convinced it will happen.
    Ozil clearly likes playing with they, but though he thrives with Ramsey as well

  • Tom

    Suarez didn’t dive. He won a “Spanish penalty”:)
    I have to disagree again . I hope Liverpool win. Someone has to finish ahead of Man U for the fourth CL spot.

  • Sammy The Snake

    Even the commentator is perplexed by the ref’s bias towards Pool!

  • Yassin

    Isnt it time the divers get some punishment, or is it ok for someone to dive, as long as he isnt Arsenal player. This has to stop, a lot of points this seasons had been won through cheating, and am not talking about Liverpool only, we should have won the league already if it was not of cheating. Those who moan all day, buy buy spend, should be standing in the face of PGMOL and refs And FA for such stuff. Dont come here in the end blaming any player, manager, or anyone at Arsenal except yourself of you cant see those cheating, or y accept it.

  • Sammy The Snake

    Everton can finish 4th. Liverpool can draw today and still end up 4th.

  • AL

    Absolutely agree re Ozil, he has been effective and the stats back him up. He is the one player you want to get the ball in the final third, no matter how many players are around him you know he is always going to find a teammate. The only unfortunate thing, like you say, is he hasn’t had much playing time with Theo, for us to maximise his slide rule passes.

  • bjtgooner

    Good write up Walter, but I also thought you were a bit hard on Ozil, I thought he showed a lot of intelligent movement and positioning – and held up the ball nicely as we wound the clock down. The important thing was the overall good team performance and the win.

    Mandy – agree about Suarez – thought the dive looked premeditated.

  • Tom

    Sammy the snake
    I would love for Everton and Martinez to finish Fourth ahead of Liverpool ,Totts and Man U

  • Mandy Dodd

    Well, they seem to be getting a few Spanish pens of late.
    Nothing against Liverpool or them knocking Utd out of the CL places, in fact, like Tom, I am all for it, just don’t want them threatening us!

  • AL


  • Mandy Dodd

    I would like to see Chelsea 4th…..ok not dealing with reality I know

  • Tom,

    I like your defence of Ozil. That is what we should all be doing as supporters. But I disagree with:

    “I’m a little surprised at the criticism he(Ozil)’s been getting from some on here since his arrival from Real”.

    I think that you must be thinking of another blog or another writer. Walter could be easily crowned as the president of Ozil fan’s club. In fact this is the first time that Ozil will be getting any criticism from any Untold article writers. Kindly provide link to any previous please (I might have missed it).

    Walter’s criticism of Ozil’s game today is spot on. I think AW agrees with Walter as Ozil was substituted with his replacement bringing more life into the game. There is nothing wrong with saying that a player had a bad game no matter how great we might think they are. I stated in no uncertain terms that the goal that we conceded at Villa park was Cazorla’s fault because it was. I love Cazorla (even more than Ozil) and knowing that he cost us a goal does not diminish that affection in any way.

    There is nothing wrong with stating so when our players have poor performances. It is different from repeated attack of players (which you have wrongly alleged here) and/or asking the manager to buy some other players whenever our players fail to live up to some exalted expectations.

  • Tom

    Mandy Dodd
    When will keepers ever learn not to commit themselves into 50/50 challenges against players like Suarez, Rooney ,Sterling, Young, Gerard, Januzaj, Ramirez,Agbonlahor , Welbeck.

    My sincerest apologies to any other serial divers I might’ve forgot to mention 🙂

  • AL,

    Ozil is a great player but he was pretty poor today. I don’t think the latter negates the former. That was Walter’s point. He wrote:

    “It became clear after half an hour that Özil today wasn’t in the best form. An unusual amount of bad controls, balls getting away from him. I think this was his worst match we have seen from him. But this can happen. And the good thing is that he always tries again and again and again. Until it works. Or not. But he will try again.”

    This is clearly a critique from an admirer. Ozil may score 3 and assist 5 next game but he was poor today.

  • Lanz

    I just checked in unto this site. My guess about the likely title of the post match article was very close!!! Lol.

  • Also re: Ozil,

    When he plays well, it is because he is so freaking good; not because the players around him are also doing their bit to make his actions fruitful. When he has a bad game, it is the fault of the players around him who just wouldn’t respond to his genius. It appears Giroud is the favourite scapegoat. Poor fella.

  • Persian gunner

    Tom & bootoomee
    I agree with both of you friends
    You can see it in his face, when he has the ball near the box, he holds it up to find a player stepping forward and make an incisive run in empty spaces.
    Earlier in this season we had fantastic Ramsey who made himself available for his passes and scored e.g the first goal against Cardiff

  • AL

    My response was not aimed at Walter’s assessment of Ozil’s performance today, but generally speaking some have started to be critical of his performances of late, especially those in the media, just like Giroud has come up for some unfair criticism himself. I was just agreeing with Tom’s summing up of his performances, which I feel highlighted Ozil’s biggest strengths(his defence-splitting passes, rather than goal-scoring prowess) which many of our friends in the media appear to have missed.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Yes, quite a few serial divers these days! I will certainly take that result though, along with a bit of damage to the hopes of Chelsea, Utd and the Spuds tomorrow.
    Ozil has done well this season, goals, assists, assists of assists, creating chances and generally being a handful to bring others into the game. It is a huge adaptation from the highly talented, but very well protected Real who at the moment are only challenged by a couple of teams and often only one. He has made a big contribution and there is a lot more to come….as he recently said himself.
    Giroud should not be a scapegoat, winning goals in the last couple of league games before today for starters. He contributes so much to the way we play.

  • Persian gunner

    Today I was shouting to encourage Gnabry to do this job and move deeper to the box, but I was not that loud 🙂
    My problem with Ozil surfaces when I compare him with the Great Great Warrior General Thomas Rosicky
    Rosicky never ever walks in the field, while opponents have the ball
    He is always pressing and fighting

  • AL,

    I get and agree with the general sentiment of your comment, in which you were just being supportive. Apologies if I come across as antagonistic.

    Walter was pretty clear that his comment was specifically about today’s game and he went out of his way to give the player credit for his persistence. I guess my disagreement with you was due to your “agreement” with Tom who is accusing Walter and “some on here (i.e Untold Arsenal)” of criticising Ozil “since his arrival from Real”. Knowing you, I’m pretty sure that you don’t agree with him on that. We are pro all Arsenal players here, all the time.

    Congrats on today’s 3 points, my friend!

  • AL

    No worries Boo 🙂 Congrats on the win too pal, and may the others stumble tomorrow 🙂

  • AL

    I felt quite embarrassed for redknap listening to him attempt, unconvincingly, to explain the Suarez dive. And another stat that Sky gave us was suarez has won 7 penalties since start of the season?(can’t really remember but they said he’s won more penalties in that period more than anyone else)

  • Tom

    I think you should make up your mind whether it’s OK to criticize Arsenal players or not because I seem to remember you being on both sides of this argument:)
    Or perhaps it’s OK to do that for certain members of UA fraternity only 🙂
    Otherwise you’re AAA

    Perhaps we watch football games from different prospectives( which wouldn’t be that unusual) but when I see Ozill receive the ball ,his first instinct is always to look up field and his body is always facing forwards .
    Watching him play reminds of Zidane and how you could’ve past the ball to him anywhere around his reach and he would control it immediately ready to pass.

    Ozill is a consummate assist provider and as such he will always try to put people through on goal . By definition he can’t have a good game if players around him don’t do their part . He’s not the type of player who can be content with keeping possession and probing for openings for long stretches of time .

    Paying 42.5 M for his services is only fully worth it when you surround him with talent which can utilize his skills. It wasn’t for no reason Ronaldo freaked out ( along with the entire Bernabeu) when he found out Real had sold him.

    All Arsenal players know his skill level even if you don’t .

    As for Cazorla being at fault for the goal against Villa, I disagree .
    He lost possession some 40 yards from the goal by the touch line as a result of being double teamed , with two Arsenal players ball watching instead of showing themselves for a pass .
    There’s still a whole lot for Villa to do in order to score from there .
    A perfect cross behind our defenders and a perfect header to put the ball in the net.
    Mertesacker screaming at Cazorla doesn’t change anything .

    Sometimes you just tip your hat and say to the opposition , well done!

  • Mandy Dodd

    He’s won 7 pens since the start of the season! Incredible…that’s probably more pens than we have had in the last decade…..ok slight exaggeration but you get my point. When are the refs going to wise up to players like him……as I say, almost looked like Moss could not wait to give that. If someone was constantly cheating me, I would probably end up with a serious grudge against them….maybe that’s not why I am not a ref, but they seem to be bending over backwards in favour of Suarez…quite incredible in the circumstances…until you remember how they were with Fergie. The worse you treat them, the more they reward you, ….almost a bit kinky in a strange sort of way that I don’t even want to think further about, but can imagine Riley as a bit of a gimp? Then there was Chelsea accusing Clattenberg of racist language, and what happens, instead of punishing them or even being fair to them,, they get virtually every decision going.
    No wonder wenger wanted Suarez, probably the only way Arsenal would ever get anywhere near their fair quota of genuine penalties

  • John

    I am glad that we did not sign Suarez. Despite his evident talent, he is a disreputable cheat. I always want Arsenal to win, but not by cheating.

  • Mick

    The PGMOL apologist Dermot Gallagher has just been on Talksport and defended the Suarez penalty decision, not a dive as far as he is concerned, ref got it spot on.

  • Tom,

    I’m super supportive of all Arsenal players and the manager. I will indeed take head on those who abuse or insult them or those who diminish their contributions or chances of success in their quest for silverware.

    Having said that, there is nothing wrong with stating that a player had a bad game. Especially if said like Walter did:

    “It became clear after half an hour that Özil today wasn’t in the best form. An unusual amount of bad controls, balls getting away from him. I think this was his worst match we have seen from him. But this can happen. And the good thing is that he always tries again and again and again. Until it works. Or not. But he will try again.”

    I wonder how that comment deserved the following from you:

    “I’m afraid I have to disagree with your assessment of Ozill’s performance and I’m a little surprised at the criticism he’s been getting from some on here since his arrival from Real.”

    Your response to Walter’s friendly criticism was over the top and falsely accusatory. If you think that Ozil played well, just say so without accusing others of your own past sins.

    Your description of Ozil as the next best thing after slice bread as well quotation of his worth is irrelevant to me. You see I value the cheap, the young and the fringe players equally. I assess them on their performances per game not by reputation. Therefore, Ozil was poor today. I know you see things differently. It’s your right but I object to you accusing others falsely. I’m still waiting for the evidence that you have of Untold regulars criticising Ozil since he joined us from Real.

    Your analysis of how we conceded against Villa is just plain false. Cazorla passed when he should have cleared. The Aston Villa player that he mispassed to whipped the ball in IMMEDIATELY and Benteke nodded in. What “whole lot” did Aston Villa still had to do after Cazorla gave the ball away? Did you even watch the match?

    There, go and watch it again. I just did (again) and it was Lowton who collected the ball from Cazorla and whipped in a great cross immediately to Benteke.

  • marcus

    Cazorla is a bit like Messi at times.

    MOTD suddenly seem very pro AFC… AW was very chipper, and they asked him about a signing…

    I think a mega signing is imminent…

  • Ray from Norfolk, Virginia

    I think Ozil is still adapting to the rest of the team.
    This season, and also last season, the boss has tuned to a more pragmatic approach, the Bould effect if you will, with defensive duties becoming a team effort; Ozil helps some, but not as much as others, hence the perception that he is only interested in providing assists or key passes. But he does a lot in Arsenal’s “probing” process. The reason he was not influential against the Cottagers is that the game was limited to the Fulham box, and the two goals came only after space was found in the box. Both goals can be attributed to the left side of offense, and the Monreal-Cazorla pairing did really well on that side, while the right side had two of Ozil and Gnabry ahead of Sagna at different times, but no consistent presence. We missed Walcott.

  • NotThatImportant

    A game of no cards. And, in fact, with my untrained eye, I couldn’t see Probert doing anything wrong.
    Not that there were many controversial moments in the game, where he could have gotten it wrong.
    But still, I thought this was a pretty well reffed game.
    Until maybe the last minute, but that “foul” by the Ox was given by the linesman.

    Nobody here mentioning the ref, at all, is maybe saying it all…

    Would love to hear Walter’s thoughts on the ref’s performance. As for the team: well…top of the league !

  • Mandy Dodd

    Know what you mean Marcus…he did seem to have something on his mind

  • Nelson Wong

    Ozil is slightly off. He gives the ball away more than before but that is when you compare to his high standard. His creativity is still there. One has to give a lot of credit to him for the season for the fact that although Walcott has injured for the most season, the play on the right aren’t suffering very badly. If you look at position diagrams, you see that Ozil goes to the right very frequently. (He is like that with his Real stats anyway) .

    He is linking up nicely with Wilshere. This is one part of the game that were missing. Ozil were linking up with Ramsey, Giroud, Roisky and Sagna but not Wilshere and Cazorla.

    Ozil- Cazorla link up is still missing but Wilshere has stepped in with his game with those two. Add in Giroud, the team now has two powerful outlets. Ozil sends balls wide to the flanks to get behind defences or through balls into the box. Cazorla running in from the flank messing up the defenders.

    When Ozil starts to interchange positions with Cazorla, we’ll see another powerful move. I hope we will see it sooner.

    Cazorla is linking up very well with Monreal. I like to see more of Monreal because he is more solid in defensive play although Gibbs is better getting forward. Monreal is getting forward more and seems to work very well with Cazorla.

    Mid and let are the places where Wenger can keep rotation to rest players and sub players in matches according to form.

    The right is more tight with Walcott missing most of the season. The team is relying VERY HEAVILY on Sagna both going forward and back. RB is the slightly worrying spot. He deserves a good contract!!! Judging from his fitness playing so many games, I think he is up to the job for another two years.

    Fortunately, Wilshere and Ozil would swift right to work with Sagna.

  • Tom

    I’m responding against my better judgement but here it is anyways.
    Do me a favor and spare me your righteous indignation .
    I don’t consider my comment to Walter (whom I hold in high regard)or his article ,to be over the top in the least and I don’t consider you an authority on what a polite or honest debate should be – far from it. As a matter of fact, you had been known to abuse other posters on regular bases and some of your exchanges were borderline disturbing ,while others just sad.

    I don’t intend to debate football issues with you either as for all your eloquence ,your understanding of the game is very rudimentary .
    You also change the rules of such debate as they suit you.

    “Real fans don’t criticize players or the manager” was your mantra just months ago and when I said there was nothing wrong with stating player X had a bad game , or the manager could’ve maybe used a different formation, you replied that in fact it was unbecoming and it was AAA like behavior. Apparently now it’s OK to do that.

    In your mind ,you’ve never lost an argument( good for you) but I’m not interested in the juvenile back and forth as I have more important things to do.
    I don’t hold grudges nor keep scores and this is purely for fun ,as I am in my forties and comfortably retired and living of my “imaginary professional football career , as you put it 🙂
    I do however remember some of your commentary on various treads that beggar belief. You took offense to Wilshere’s national team eligibility comments and deemed them unacceptable but in the same breath stated that other’s who objected to his comments did so purely based on him being an Arsenal player, or so you thought.

    On another tread you stated in your reply to a poster, who’s position was that Arsenal’s defeat 8:2 at the hands of ManU was a bad one indeed, that real fans don’t dwell on loses but rather on successes . Never mind that the title of the article said poster responded to was “Man C 6 Tottenham 0; Man U 8 Arsenal 2. Which was worse? ” I couldn’t make this up if I tried
    Self righteous much?????? 🙂

  • Pete

    I thought the ref let a lot go – for both teams. Fortunately, Fulham don’t go around kicking to the same extent as Villa, Sidwell excepted.

    Couldn’t believe the negativity in the crowd around me. Loads of “wake up!” and “should be 5 or 6, no excuses” or “City wouldn’t be messing around now”. Too many of us are spoilt brats. To me, this was an excellent result. Not the best performance but that doesn’t really matter now. We have been very, very efficient this season, which is why we are top.

  • Oh guys are we title contenders yet?

  • Kenneth Widmerpool

    Thanks for the report Walter, do you think that Poldi should be give more time on the pitch, he was really unlucky with the hamstring injury,I still dont think we’ve season the best of him yet.Anyway COYG!

  • The font

    It was bad play by santi against villa he had several chances to make a simple pass got himself into a tight position and made a poor pass
    This happens in football as being man of the match today .
    Walter was right it was not ozils best day today but tom has a point with the style of play.

  • Florian

    With the high price tag comes the expectation, and I think that’s what happened in Ozil’s case. He is a superb creative talent, and he flourishes with fast players that can reap the rewards from his passes. And indeed, since our game is more elaborated than RealMad’s (don’t forget Mou’s trademark is shoot on sight, with Ronaldo the ultimate applicant), Ozil is going through the necessary changes. Mertesacker and Kos did too, their first season wasn’t necessarily outstanding, but once having properly internalized the team’s modus operandi Ozil is going to be/have a blast.

    It is interesting that our midfield has actually been the most unstable part of the team. Mostly due to injuries, I’m not sure we had more than 3 matches in a row with the same 5. This means the system needs to change constantly while preserving its effectiveness. We are fortunate to go through this series of relatively accessible matches, which allows Arsene to make experiments. If anyone noticed, we have been giving away the ball in midfield a bit more often than usual. This can only mean that experiments take place, with direct effect on the game relationships. I’m just hoping that by the time the big matches kick in, the boys have sorted them out, because those teams are capable of punishing the kind of mistakes we’re currently making.

    Oh, and yes, we are top of the league!

  • blacksheep63

    Walter (et al – esp Tom)
    I watched Özil from the stands and while it may have appeared that he had an off game i think its more accurate to say that he tried more than most to make things happen, made space, looked for runners, which didn’t come off. You are right to point out that he kept on trying, the measure of the man. So I thought he was pretty effective today but TV might not have revealed that.

    Gnarbry was excellent until he ran out of steam – his shots were wild but at least he was shooting! Giroud had a quiet day, well policed by the Fulham defence, his rolling around for a minor knock was indicative of his frustration I think. WE could do with a different sort of forward on days like this. Podolski looked lively and hopefully he will start against Coventry and find his range.

    Walter I wondered what you made of the ref and of the three occasions Fulham players feigned injury. We put the ball out twice only for the player to immediately leap to his feet and in the other incident one went down and stayed down while Fulhamn had the ball only to jump up the minute we countered. Is feigning injury to gain an advantage foul play? I’d like to know

  • Kenneth Widmerpool

    ..”I still dont think we’ve seen the best of him so far during his time at Arsenal” that should read as, not the drivel I wrote. The award for dont write early in the morning goes to me.Amen

  • AL

    I hope I’m not opening a can of worms with this one, but has anyone else noticed what appears to be like a little bit of impatience on Giroud’s part regarding Ozil? I thought I first noticed this think in the Villa game where Ozil made a great run on the left wing, with Giroud also running with him unmarked in the middle. Think there were two defenders between them, but both were closer to Ozil. Ozil tried to bend the ball to Giroud but unfortunately the defender cleared it and Giroud went ‘ballistic’. Ozil just glared at him. In the Fulham match Ozil got a return pass from Jack early in the match, slipped the ball past the keeper only for Hangeland to make a goalline clearance, and Giroud went to Ozil and seemed to be saying why didn’t you give me the ball, why why why. To be fair I thought Ozil made the right decision in both cases above, and perhaps Giroud was a little more disappointed than he ought to rightfully be. Then in the same Fulham match near the end Ozil gave Giroud a beautiful pass in the box and Giroud skied his shot well over the bar. Ozil just glared at him.

    I don’t want to read too much from it all, but I seem to get the impression that Giroud seems to be saying to Ozil you aren’t giving me great balls, while I think Ozil isn’t too impressed by some chances that he’s given Giroud that Giroud missed or failed to utilise, or is a little perplexed that Giroud thinks he should have done better. I like both players the same, and can see both have awesome strengths but in different ways. I think though they need to adapt a little bit to get the best of each other, perhaps more so Giroud than Ozil(of course they know this, who am I to think I could know better than them, but just saying my thoughts :)). For starters anyone playing with a player like Ozil needs to start looking to make a run whenever he gets the ball as you know Ozil will bring the ball to your feet, much in the same way we saw the Dutch traitor try to do with Song or Fabregas around. Of course I know people are different but sometimes you have to try and play to your team mate’s strength(don’t be silly AL, they do already :)).

    I always suspected one of the reasons Chamakh may have struggled with us was to do with him being very good arially, but our team not being famous for hitting long balls or many crosses into the box that side of his game was going to suffer. I suspect Ozil might start feeling like he’s not being given the opportunity to send in some beautiful passes to someone running into the box, and for that reason I rue Theo’s injury very much. But like Florian said, great players adapt in any situation they find themselves in, and I have no doubt the Ozil-Giroud combo will take off soon. Just my thoughts 🙂

  • bob

    Martin Keown (he of the 330+ appearances for us) was Arsenal Player commentator today and said that Ozil benefits my having speed on the flanks to pass to. And that, with Theo’s injury, that dimension of Ozil’s game is, for now, not able to manifest itself. It was analytical and descriptive, not condemnatory and, given that the source is worldwise, an ex-player and a common sense pragmatist, there’s something to his pov to take on. He also, partly on the basis of his analysis of how to maximize Ozil, advocated, today, for an additional high quality striker to be an addition to Giroud. His focus is on improving the team; making it more multidimensional given both injuries and the limits and strengths of some personnel. That, methinks, is constructive analysis, as opposed to head in the sand tribalism.

  • bob

    sorry, meant to write: “that Ozil benefits by…” (not “my…”)

  • bob

    “of course they know this, who am I to think I could know better than them, but just saying my thoughts”
    Your thoughts on Ozil-Giroud are most interesting and based on observation. In my view, no one should hesitate to say what they see, or feel that have to hesitate, or apologize, or mollify anyone in order to have one’s say. That’s free thought in action. If there’s a personality or chemistry problem on the pitch, we (especially as we love AFC) are fully entitled to raise the matter and to share our perceptions, fearlessly. Spot on, AL.

  • bob

    My 11:20 posting came in while you were writing yours, so suffice it to say that your point about Ozil’s game needing runners to flourish is exactly the point that Martin Keown was making in his post-game commentary. So I’d say your perceptions thereabouts are in good company.

  • bob

    “We put the ball out twice only for the player to immediately leap to his feet and in the other incident one went down and stayed down while Fulhamn had the ball only to jump up the minute we countered.”
    blacksheep63, Walter,
    Is this reviewable behavior, such that the F-Alls could deem it diving and card those who are guilty? (Or would that be way too much to ask by way of setting a precedent for oversight which would bruise egos and unfasten the PGMob’s iron grip? A bit rhetorical my question, but youth wants to know.)

  • andy bishop

    @ AL not alone with this one and is worth having a decent discussion about football. I appreciate Giroud for all his effort, strength and sense of teamwork. These attributes go a long way in my opinion to make up for a lack of technical ability, anticipation and speed of movement necessary to be a top striker. Ozil spent a lot of his playing time sending passes to the likes of Ronaldo and Benzema who by any opinion are pretty top class. Some of the stuff Giroud produces is indifferent but overall good for the team as we are top of the league. For me we have been a joy to watch this year. Wenger I suspect plays him for his physical strength and aerial power to combat the twin centre halves. Not all gooners think Giroud is the long term solution. That is not gratuitous criticism just an observation. I have seen Ozil, who seems pretty calm on the field respond to Giroud’s theatricals with a smile and a gentle f..k off!!. Thats football for you.

    @ tom …I suspect you are not the only one with that opinion…..

  • bjtgooner


    I noticed something similar, but at this stage I would not read too much into it. Part of the problem is that Giroud is usually marked by the two central defenders, what Ozil needs are others (other than Giroud) making forward runs into unmarked areas.

    The loss of Walcott will certainly not help Ozil’s game – unfortunately due to Walcott’s previous injury the Walcott/Ozil relationship has not really had a chance to develop – but hopefully this will take off next season. What will help the team overall is the return of Ramsey – further Ramsey and Ozil seem to be on the same wavelength and Ramsey will burst forward into unmarked positions where previously Ozil was able to find him.

  • bob

    A further speculative thought on Ozil-Giroud. Imo, there is a subtext and context to this. Giroud was very public a few weeks ago that AW should not bring in another striker. AW subsequently said in a press conference, reassuringly toward Giroud, but keeping AFC’s options open, that anyone (striker/center-forward) he might bring in would only be a complement, not a replacement. That said, if Ozil needs a more mobile type to maximize his game and Giroud wants no additional striker, then their might be some underlying objective basis for their tensions. In any event, AW is a maestro and will work this out by whatever he does (or can do) in the next two window weeks.

  • bob

    Very true about Ramsey’s return. His chemistry with Ozil was class.

  • andy bishop

    Is Ozil pushing for Draxlers signature?

  • AL

    Very interesting points all round guys. These things aren’t always as obvious as they might seem at first. Giroud always taking the central defenders with him meant Ramsey could always profit from the created space.

  • AL

    And interesting view of possible source of ‘tension’ in your 12:03 post bob 🙂

  • Mandy Dodd

    Ozil……and Puma might be pushing, hope Drax is as well from what I have been hearing about him. Really cannot see anything before the summer tho….assuming it even does go ahead… the world knows about him, the worlds oilers will be circling

  • Tom,

    I am still waiting for your evidence concerning this statement:

    “I’m a little surprised at the criticism he’s been getting from some on here since his arrival from Real.”

    This is the crux of my argument with you.

    Play the victim all you want but you wrongly accused Walter of what he never did just because he had the nerve to say that your darling Ozil had a poor game. He made this observation on the same day as the game. From what I know about Walter, he would never mention the performance again. You on the other hand, are still blaming some players for games played years ago.

    I take it that you did not know what you were talking about concerning the Villa goal as you have side stepped that without acknowledging that you were wrong. It’s ok.

    Again, I’m still waiting for your evidence about those Ozil criticisms. Nice try changing the topic to Wilshere and others not relevant to our debate.

  • Stuart

    Va Cong,
    Hopefully we will be one day this season, I think if there is 1 game remaining and happen to be 4 or more points ahead, we could be considered title contenders by a small proportion of the media but until such a time happens, we have to be content with being the underdogs.

  • Contributors to this forum are getting overly analytical on Ozil’s game, in my opinion. I don’t really see the point. We all know how good the guy is and he always gets his accolades. Yesterday, he was well below his own standard. Can we say this without blaming his co-players or getting accused of being against the guy? Afterall, when he plays well on the field, he gets praised like he did it all by himself. Ozil this, Ozil that. But yesterday that things didn’t really work out for him, it’s because of the other players’ failure to make the right runs. Every player is important and I refuse to blame others for the blip in the performance of one. No matter how great that One might be.

    Concerning Theo’s absence affecting Ozil performance: well that can’t be further from the truth. Theo has missed more than half of the games that Ozil has played in. Theo has missed more than half of the games that we played this season so I can’t really see how every mishap should be seen through the lenses of his absence.

    I agree with Walter’s original assessment. Ozil was poor yesterday (especially by his own standard) but he’ll be back in the following matches. Afterall, form is temporary while class is permanent.

  • andy bishop

    Rejoice everyone…we have Ozil. Name five players in world football you could build a team around and he would be on anyone’s list. Our team is evolving and I expect sometime soon a really top class forward to either join or develop

  • Stuart

    So Ozil is still finding his place in the team. So what! Well it’s a good thing really. It shows he is not arrogant unlike a certain few traitors we have known. The guy is a team player trying to find the best way of playing for the team rather than finding how the team can play for him. More of this “problem” please.

  • @AL I will talk about the Villa game, was it Carzola or who he passes the ball to Giround we are on a counter attack on the left frank ,there where two defenders all of them running towards Giroud and Ozil was down on the right hand side alone and the only thing Giroud had to do was to give a hard pass down to Ozil and we score a 3rd goal but twice Giroud could not pass to Ozil! Infact you have to glare at a guy like that one.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Great that this year we are debating these issues from top of the league as opposed to facing a huge fight for 4th.
    This team are not there yet, they are developing, and judging by names linked from last summer, maybe wenger does believe Giroud need a bit of help. Whether that arrives now , in the summer or at all is purely conjecture.
    It often takes a season to settle into this league, by that or any other standards Ozil is doing well. Giroud is not the most prolific in the world, but does score important goals, he works his socks off, he is part of our team defending and he brings our MFs into scoring positions.
    We are a very solid team, maybe that has dented us up front slightly compared with other years when our defending was not sustainable.
    Some of these players are at times sacrificing glory for this solidity

  • Mandy Dodd

    Sorry , off topic, but more seismic change, VIDIC HAS BEEN SENT OFF!
    I never thought I would see the day.
    As each game goes by, we see more and more how average Utd have been for a while and how much help they got under Fergie.unfortunately for Moyes, the PGMOL have transferred their affections elsewhere on their masters departure.
    Fergie choosing Moyes….strange…..cannot think why he did that!

  • Gord

    Why didn’t Rafael get sent off?

    Well, we didn’t get much help today from Swansea. I would have preferred a tie from that last game, but seeing Chelsea give up a goal was nice. The BBC mentioned that it is possible that ManU may have to win the League Cup in order to have a shot at Europe next year. I sure hope Sunderland has a good game mid week. And it would be nice to see Newcastle get ahead of ManU. 8’th has a nice ring to it.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Yes, saw that Raphael tackle afterwards, amazed he stayed on….did the ref bottle it having sent off VIDIC just before.
    Agree on Swansea, but they look a very poor side at the moment, quite a few injuries too. To think many wanted Wenger out Laudrup in not so long ago.
    Really strange with Utd….the way Fergie left so suddenly and did nothing to bolster a highly ageing MF. They can still do damage with a motivated Rooney and Rvp but the question is, will they ever get that again?
    Moyes cannot take all of the blame for this, and when you look at that squad, the clear help they have been given and comments from ex referees, fergies legacy is being tarnished by the day. Shame.

  • bjtgooner

    Quite a change from the days when the “Hand of Vidic” in the penalty area was totally acceptable to the Men in Black.

    I can’t understand how Raphael stayed on (with a yellow) and Vidic was sent off – perhaps Dowd felt he dare not send off two Manures.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Strange how the fact that I wanted to highlight that even when Özil was only having a mediocre game for his standards we still managed to make it a routine win against a team defending with all players for about 85 minutes.

    I didn’t want to have a dig at Özil, au contraire, I praised him for the way he kept on trying over and over again.

    And then to think of all those players we have out injured and some of them will be back for our next league game and refreshed… this team is mighty strong!

  • Walter,

    I don’t think that you have any need to explain your comment on Ozil’s performance in the game. You were quite clear in the article. Ozil is great but he is not beyond reproach and we can’t blame his fellow players for not being up to his ‘level’ whenever he under-performs.

  • Gord

    A few days ago we picked up a sports science person from West Ham (annonuced at least twice on UA). And then a day or so later, there was notice about a new masseuse being hired. Just now, I see the announcement at about Jonkers coming in to run the Academy:

    Between the Arsenal staff, and the Ladies team, there has been a lot of movement at Arsenal in the last month or so.

  • AL

    And to add to that link with that must have t-shirt, here’s one with Santi and Pires together 🙂