By Bulldog Drummond
Now I’m more of a solider than a sailor, but even so it didn’t escape me that Friday was “Talk like a pirate day”, so in the Drummond household we had a fair smattering of “Arghhhh” and “me hearties”, not to mention “Why are pirates called pirates?” (Because they Arghhhhh – I just told you that.)
But that was yesterday and today is another country, or something like that.
All the destroyers (blimey we’re back to the seaside) have been attacking Ozil, but Mr Wenger said that there is nothing to worry about. “It is post-World Cup and he came back on August 11 and it takes a few months to get back to your best. Many of the World Cup stars don’t even play at the moment. It’s natural. I’ve seen it before. It is more mental than physical.
“The supporters should not be concerned. We all go through periods where we are less good. We are a union, players, supporters and directors. Fans need to be patient. You want your best players in every game but you have to be united and go through hard periods.
“Everybody judges players on one game but football is played with many ups and downs. Why should he be a scapegoat? For what? We lost one game since the beginning of April. But we want to respond after a disappointing game.”
And indeed, we’re unbeaten in the last nine league games, which says something. Also we are unbeaten in our last 15 Premier League visits to Villa Park, winning eight and drawing seven. And we are still taking our revenge on that dreadful refereeing day at the start of last season.
So the 4-1-4-1 system looks set to continue with Jack Wilshere, Mikel Arteta and Aaron Ramsey in central midfield and Özil out wide but with the flexibility to roam.
If we play 4-2-3-1 we have Ozil playing number 10, Arteta in defence, Ramsey box to box, and Wilshere mobile. It is possible, but I don’t think we are going that way today.
Aston Villa have Roy Keane sitting on the beach, which is enough to scare the ihner well being out of anyone, so no wonder they are winning. 10 points from four matches, with four goals scored.
Villa’s injuries etc are minor compared to ours. Ron Vlaar missed the Liverpuddle game and might miss this one. Christian Benteke is still out, as is Libor Kozak. Joe Cole is back fit.
For us Calum Chambers should have got over his tonsillitis thing and Mathieu Flamini will have patched up his groin. Jack had a knocked ankle, but then when as Jack ever played a match without having the opposition kick his ankle to shreds?
So that leaves us without Nacho Monreal (maybe back next week), Mathieu Debuchy, Yaya Sanogo, Theo Walcott (nearly ready), with Giroud and Gnabry out for Le Compte. Actually on the issue of the injured, although we are top of the injury league as usual we are just about in the same position as Newcastle and Man U.
Chambers, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Gibbs;
Sánchez, Ramsey, Wilshere, Özil;
or how abouts the old 2-2- 1-2-2-1 Christmas Tree?
Down on the beach in the Birmingham sunshine…
Ospina, Flamini or Arteta, Rosicky, Campbell, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Cazorla, Podolski, Bellerin
Now how does this game go?
Aston Villa had 25% possession against Liverpool according to one stat I saw, but the same number of shots on target – which was… err….. one.
Aston Villa create 5.25 chances per game, according to another stat I saw, but Arsenal have 12.50. So we just need to take a few more. We also get twice as many shots as Aston Villa in each match. (16.5 to 8.25)
Our players are gradually picking up the pace and getting their act together – although of course the maniacs tends to want everything now, every games won. Alexis is still growing, developing and adjusting to this league, and creating a huge amount for the players around him – which is often not reported. Alexis is also involved a huge amount in the build ups – which is great to see. He has created more chances than anyone else so far this season.
The main benefit we got from last weekend is that Villa’s fans will expect the moon, and won’t put up with one shot in 90 minutes, which could knock them out of their game plan. We attack on the counter and kazzap – we score.
Actually speaking of which, here is a good statistic for all the whining moaners to stick in their pipe and smoke (as we ol’ timers used to say).
We have Villa’s best start to the season in over 2000 years (I think that should be since 1998 – Tony) and more points than shots on target.
Last season we had 17 matches without letting in a goal. Only Chelsea had a higher total. Funny thing – that the moaners and the press never mention that, but instead just focus on three or four games.
So there we have it.
You can read about other games v Villa at this time of year on the Arsenal History Site.
There is an index to recent posts, a guide to today’s anniversaries, and details of our other sites on the Untold Arsenal home page
If you have been, thanks for reading.
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