Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Mesut Ozil is priceless.

Lot of talk past ten days about Ozil (I can't be arsed to umlaut every time, or anytime so forgive me)

"He's overrated"

"He's not lit up the league"

"He doesn't look like he's interested, he's made a mistake coming to Arsenal"

These are the views and quotes of people who haven't watched Mesut Ozil at all, whilst he might not be scoring 4 every game and assisting 11, he gives Arsenal intangible qualities.

1. He Creates Uncertainty in the Opposition & Fans

Perfect example was away at West Brom, after he had started the move and effortlessly skipped 70 yards to play a part in the equaliser, I vividly remember with about five minutes to go with Arsenal pressing and West Brom faffing clearances, he picked up a loose ball and evaded a challenge, there was an audible gasp from the home support and they were worried about what he would do. That's a rare quality.

2. Makes the Opposition think about Double Teaming him

The analogy to use here is NFL, if you have someone with a star reciever or tight end then the common plan is to stick 2 defensive backs on him, or if you have a star pass-rusher, you stick 2 offensive linemen on him, this frees up other players to make plays they wouldn't normally make. You maybe could pin some of Jack Wilshere's form or Aaron Ramsey's form on the fact they can fly under the radar a bit more.

3. He (Inadvertently) reduces my blood pressure thinking about Transfer Windows

The money is there. If the player is right, it'll happen. I probably am being a bit blasé about it as I'm still on a Ozil shaped cloud. I no longer fret or get angry about the media drawing attention to the fact we won't spend. It's one narrative gone. Imagine we win a trophy, people punditting on Arsenal will have to do actual research next season.

4. Wait Until he has a full season..

And realises he's better than 97% of the Premier League. That'll be fun.

There are some great Football Statistic accounts on Twitter and some utterly fucking horrendous ones but I'd much rather judge a player on what I see, not a heat map.

What is that famous quote about Statistics? ;-)

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Aston Villa 1-2 Arsenal - Comfort

When all the "title challenge" stuff was being bandied around in November and I was playing everything down (I still am) and just taking it game by game all with the knowledge that I would start to change expectations slightly if we rocked up at Anfield still top. That is 2 home games and a trip to Southampton away. Quite unnerving, as was the last 20 minutes last night....

After Benteke scored was the proper Arsenal I've come to know and love. Palpable relief at the final whistle coupled with the sensation that you're not quite sure how you got through it. We probably dicked around too much and were trying to be too fancy, we also should have had a couple more goals to make the Benteke effort worthless. Cazorla was a bit out of sorts but at the end of the day and I'll say it....That was a performance of champions.

One thing that does get my arse is Giroud. Not the player but the reaction to him, both positive and negative, it's mainly the pro-pro Giroud stuff (With it being January) that's getting on my pips at the minute so I'll try and put this as succinctly as possible....


We clear? Cool.

I also think it'll be near on impossible to get a striker this January but you live in hope, how much will Sociopath Jose playing silly fuckers with Demba Ba on deadline day actually be worth come May?

I was on the Per Mertesacker bandwagon before it was cool.

On we roll to Fulham on Saturday, a team nearly as bad as Villa so we can be assured of another bum-clencher for the ages, I would give Podolski another start (I haven't touched on the Twitter "Body Language" experts as I really don't care) - Be more pissed if Poldi was happy to sit on his arse and do a Bogarde.

Southampton...Crystal Palace......then who knows.

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Half Time

20 games in then, and we're in the unique position of playing everybody but actually we haven't played anyone yet. I am actually surprised to be in this position at this stage of the season and now I'm dreaming of a title run instead of threading the eye of a needle for 4th. The season started in a malaise with all the Villa shenangians, got slightly better with the Fenerbache result and the first of 2 wins over Tottenham.....And then.....OZIL. That kind of changed everything we thought we knew about this club. We had spent £42m on 1 player, not 7, one. And he was world class. I think I'm still basking in the glow of it all happening which is why I'm not fretting so much about January. The ethos seems to have changed. If Wenger decided we need a £32m striker, then it shalt be done. It probably won't but we have the money if the player is available.

My Arsenal player of 2013 and especially this season is de facto captain and nominee for the Nobel Prize of "Best Human" - Per Mertesacker.

I've tried explaining why Per is so great to my father ever since he joined Arsenal, so maybe it'll look better in print than spoken. He knows where to stand. He makes Koscielny a better player because he can play in front of Per and not worry, Per organises, and although Vermaelen is technically a better player, Mertesacker is Lawrenson to Koscielny's Hansen. It just works. He gets the club. He gets this team and his Facebook posts of recent just seem to show how well he thinks of others and the "BFG" nickname. Also there's the small record of Arsenal's defence stats (Which I won't bore you with) with those two in.

Yes, Yes I know about Ramsey and I have a confession to make which will confuse you...I never thought he'd make it back after his injury but I was confident that if he ever proved me wrong, he'd be as good as he is know because he has one quality that is rare in players these days and that is he never goes missing.

I remember a couple of seasons ago losing at QPR 2-1 and Ramsey playing on the right and I think eventually right-back. It was one of the worst performances I'd seen from a player but he never shied away and retreated, he still wanted the ball even though he was terrible. That takes a special kind of player so I'm so glad he's proved me wrong, but I'm not surprised.

The Second Half

Can we win it? Yes! Will We? Probably not but I'm having the most fun finding out. I still think City and Chelsea are the ones to beat for the title and would probably give the nod to Chelsea considering how average they've been correlated to how close they are to the top of the league, City's away form is a concern and they have a lot of the big teams to visit. We also need to strengthen in light of the fact everyone is injured and Giroud has been run into the ground. Two strikers and probably a central defender (Vermaelen can't like being sub in a WC year) and then we can talk. I think I'd be happy with 2nd but the hope is starting to kill me. If we arrive at Anfield top then I think we may be on to something. That's my indicator.

Hope to be writing more in '14. Thanks for reading in '13.