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ARS Win Over BOU Is Papering Over The Cracks

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1-0 to the Arsenal. Fans of the George Graham era must be proud. Three points secured and 3rd in the table. Full credit to the boys in red but this was no game to write home about.

Arsenal started off well enough, as usual attacking down the flanks. There was a spate of crosses, especially from the right side by Chambers. There was one notable instance where Auba was isolated with the Bournemouth fullback and having to sling in a cross leaving even the commentator to muse this is not where we want our top goal scorer to be. On the 7:00 minute mark, for the umpteenth time, a Chambers cross was repelled over the touchline. From the resulting corner David Luis ghosted in front of his marker and glanced the ball down into the far corner to score.

No creativity

Like any fan I was expecting the floodgates to open. Afterall Bournemouth has traditionally been Arsenal’s beating stick at home. Trashed them 5:1 last year, 2:1 in 2018, 3:0 in 2017 and 3:1 in 2016. But despite enjoying 70% possession for most of the first half Arsenal showed a striking inability to create chances. We had a total of 12 shots on goal, most of them in the first half. Of our total 14 corners, nine of them were in the first half. Yet we hardly threatened their goalkeeper, who, by the way, together with his defenders did their best to giveaway the game with their Arsenal-like passing from the back. The only big chance for Arsenal that 1st half was that penalty shout in the 23rd minute when Rico brought down Pepe. If it was Liverpool that would have been a nailed-on penalty but not for Martin Atkinson and the VAR officials back in Stockley Park.

I posted a tweet pre-game theorizing that Arsenal would have problems maintaining possession based on the starting XI. Wrong. What I failed to predict was the abject lack of creativity, a drum most who write for this blog have been consistently banging since it became obvious Emery was freezing Ozil out of his plans.

With and without Ozil

Contrast the barrenness of this first half with the Forest game when Ozil helped Arsenal destroy the championship team 5:0 with 27 shots, 68% possession, 849 touches, 91% pass success from 642 passes and amassing 15 corners. That was the night Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli announced themselves to the world while Reiss Nelson earned himself a Man-of-the-Match from whoscored.com. Yet according to Emery in his pre-game presser, when asked about the non-selection of Ozil, he contorted his brow, apparently to ensure his point was made in the plainest possible English, replying infamously that:

“Other players deserve selection more.”

While Bournemouth was particularly poor in the 1st half they came out of the traps in the second and exposed once again how easy it is to get at Arsenal’s defense and get off good shots. Four “world class” midfielders in the likes of Joshua King, Jefferson Lerma, Harry Wilson and Philip Billing were able to create several opportunities for Calum Wilson and, happily for us, a goal-shy Dominic Solanke. Thanks to some excellent saves by Leno they were unable to strike a fatal blow. Leno’s positioning and anticipation was brilliant especially the way he intercepted that 89th minute cross by Wilson. The ball had goal written all over it until his intervention.

Below average offensive statistics

The game ended with Arsenal actual offensive statistics regressing to at or below its season average (in that order); 52.5% vs 53.3% possession, 12 vs 13.3 shots on goal, 74% vs 82.8% passing rate.

Let us give credit to the improved defensive stats conceding only 10 shots versus a season average of 17.

The defending may have improved but our attacking remains pathetic. We have been down this road before, with an unbeaten streak covering over the cracks.

How much longer can Emery justify keeping Arsenal’s most creative player not only out of the starting XI but out of the match day squad? Time will tell.

24 Comments

  1. Great article.

    We started the game well, and when we scored early I was hoping we’d get at least 1 if not 2 more before halftime. We should have, but VAR in this form is useless. Allows the same ref corruption under pretense of not overruling another ref (unless the team destined to win stands to gain) Same old game management.

    Maybe Emery needs lessons from PGMOL on that. When we went in 1-0 at halftime,almost totally dominant, I already knew Emery would pull us back in the second half. A coward remains a coward.

    It’s not even about Ozil. Any of these players have more to give. Emery just tells them not to. To be less than themselves. He calls it his ‘system’. The longer he stays, the more long term damage he does to our club and the talent we have here.

    Happy we won. I really am. But I feel no joy watching us play, and I feel more and more alienated because the club no longer lives by its values.

    Reply
    • Do you really believe that any of today’s midfield three of Xhaka, Guendouzi and Ceballos are anywhere in the class of Ozil in creativity. Frankly the Forest game should have provided further confirmation that a system that maximizes Ozil’s very unique skill set is the spark, the catalyst which makes the team move into a higher gear. Look at how Sako was neutered and ineffective today except for one or two exceptional moments. I am reminded of how special Sako looked vs Barcelona in that pre-season game he shared with Ozil. Now people are thinking of resting him for Martinelli in addition to wanting Pepe benched. I agree with you, Emery’s system is one where slowly but surely the creativity and cohesion that he inherited from Wenger is slowly being drained out of the 1st team.

      Reply
      • Ozil is unparalleled. I meant they can be more than they are and forced to be. We’ve seen it too. It’s not just theory. But Emery always panics when things go well and pulls them back, or pull them up for their invention.

        I wrote on PA that I think there’s a reason Freddie has taken special interest in Saka. He was apparently working with him before kickoff yesterday too. He sees attacking greatness in him and doesn’t want him to be infected by the Emery cowardice bug. That can really ruin a young player. Look at what he did to Nketiah last season. Blocked his loan, and then didn’t use him even in cup games.

        Reply
    • I call it the Emery Degeneracy.

      This squad is playing poorer footy then last season. The stats are clear.

      His style is “shit without a stick”,
      and we are getting shitter.

      Reply
  2. This site deserves more comments and more traffic .

    Reply
    • Thanks George for your kind comments. You are a genuine friend of this blog. Like you at Positively Arsenal we are dedicated to refuting the lies and misinformation about our football club. We hope that over time those who understand the importance for standing up for the Arsenal Way will join us and support this blog.

      Reply
  3. I have only watched one game this season, so can only rely on what I see from those who have.

    However, a question I have raised a number of times on different blogs has never been answered.

    With all his running about, what is it that Guendouzi actually does?

    Is it because they see so much of him that bloggists frequently say how well he played and yet, what is it it that he actually does that benefits the team?

    Now, Ramsey ran around a lot and was everywhere, but he scored lots of goals and made lots as well.

    Does he stay back to guard the back 4? I think not.

    Guendouzi has scored none and made one this season.

    Replace him with Tereira, and get him to do what he does best, ie sit in front of the back 4, then we have a much safer defence, but Terera seems to have taken the same pill as Ozil and is this season’s Ramsey.

    Is it that UE simply likes the fact that he runs around a lot and appears to be busy and also, that he does what he is told, like all the other youngsters who are now in favour, which makes him more deserving that others?

    Is there a correlation between the contineud “success” of Guendouzi and the lack of creativity in the team?

    The prevailing complaint against Ozil is that he does not run around a lot, so is the criteria for a player one would prefer to have in one’s team is the fact that he is constantly active?

    I think that whilst UE’s reign continues, we will be seeing less and less creativity and more running around, because that its what he wants.

    He cannot control the creative players, because the whole essence of creativity is the fact that it is instinctive and uncontrollable.

    Are we 3rd because we are good and deserve it or is it because everyone else has sunk to the mediocrity that we are snking to as well?

    Reply
    • Trust me, I have been hurting my head trying to figure out the Guendouzi love fest. Not saying he is a bad player but is I just don’t see what folks as seeing.
      Not sure if you read the Arsenal twitter talking about who should be player of the month for September? The amount of people saying it should be Guendouzi shocked me. I’m confused!

      Reply
  4. “Fans of the George Graham era must be proud.” – we knew who we were under Graham and knew the limitations of some of the players and he was also successful and won @ Anfield. This guy is no comparison
    This shit reminds me of the very end of the GG era, Guenduzi reminds me a bit of Ray parlour in the sense that he had similar hair and ran arand abit and kicked everything in sight ( the good old days). Felt like that GG team lost all direction compared to his title winning teams. Never forget the cup finals for the simple reason the football was so bad and we won, never thought i would see the Arse go through that again. Boy was i wrong.

    Reply
  5. Well written Shotta.
    I watched the first half and Bournouth were dire. If they had played with any real effort at all the defensive stats would have been worse. There in lies the problem as both you and George continue to say; we are not winning based on good football but because our opponents are crap.

    Reply
    • And Auba is on fire and Leno really has made some amazing saves this season. Not good, not good.

      Reply
      • Can you believe it has come to this Paul? I remember the days when you, me and others had to explain attack was our best form of defense given the lack of money to sign a good DM or a good ball playing defender. Now with the talent available to Emery we are afraid to take the game to Bournemouth, at home. Do people truly believe playing such negative, boring football is sustainable? Gimme a break.

        Reply
        • Bro, I don’t even know how to explain what’s happening, but no, I can’t believe we have come to this. The football is putrid.

          There is no reason to defend Emery, none. I have seen people with some really creative “positives”/excuses. I am not giving him credit for other teams losing. And this none sense about being unbeaten in ex amount of games and being 3rd, give me a break. The job of the manager is to get the best out of the available players. Is he doing that? Heck no! And this has been going on since about a quarter of last season.

          Reply
  6. Shotts this all happened a bit before my time but I think that GG only went for the full Boring Boring Arsenal style after the 4-1 defeat against Benfica in the European Cup,

    The relegation of Davis to the reserves.

    And also the obsession at getting a cut from flogging off the fine top level now aging players that won him that title in 91 – when they were only beaten in one league game not just because they had a good defence but because they were a good team all over the pitch as any team setting such a record would have to be.

    So to be clear what we’re getting from Emery is the worst of GG without the good bits.

    4-1 in Europe against any sort of rival is always a humiliation. Changed the history of the club.

    Shame the result in May didn’t shock people upstairs at the club.

    Some of the players still seem in shock. Those that didn’t demand to leave!!!

    Reply
    • Hey Fins and all the GG veterans. Thanks for schooling me on the Graham era. I was mostly alluding to the famous chant 1-nil to the Arsenal and to the boring score line that we were accused of by opposing fans. To be truthful, nearly 30 years after GG I see scores of traditionalists on Twitter and elsewhere celebrating a boring 1-nil victory as a sign of progress when modern football is mostly about attractive attacking football. The rule changes by FIFA are designed to ensure this. Pretending that this is not the case is a form of insanity.

      Reply
  7. “We have been down this road before, with an unbeaten streak covering over the cracks.”
    Great point and neatly sums up the obsession of the last manager had with unbeaten runs. I’m assuming you’re referring to the last manager…? Oh no, of course you’re not…

    Reply
    • The last manager was successful especially in his 2nd Yr. You must think emery will do the double this season if you are comparing

      Reply
      • Glenn, what I hate about comments like yours is that you are not defending Emery. Trying to put down Arsene is not a defense of Emery.

        The art of debate is to bring points to defend your position. If you can’t do that you are just wasting time.

        I don’t even know how you can compare Arsene to what is going on now. No disrespect but it is just silly.

        Anyways, make a defense for what have been seeing for over a year now.

        Reply
    • Think he meant unbeaten seasons?

      Poor fellow seems a little bit confused TBF.

      Reply
  8. Great to flag up Ozil’s stats against, um, Nottingham Forest. Hey what about Denilson getting a 100per cent pass rate against West Ham? OK, all the passes basically went to Sagna, but why let that ruin a good stat…?

    Reply
    • Do you refer to the 18 year old midfielder who played for a team that constantly came fourth or higher in the league before that back injury did for his career?

      Do you watch Football?

      Reply
  9. seen a comment on another blog saying Ozil flopped as he was not able to replicate Bergkamps success at Arsenal.

    This is a stick i have seen used to beat Ozil with, forgetting that Bergkamp consistently had teams built around him and was part of a team that had world class players in attack, Midfield and Defense.

    Reply
    • Gee the only flop is the dickhead who thinks winning three fa cups in four years is a failure.

      Only the Invincibes or Abramovich’s first mega squad can match or better that record.

      As in: as good as it gets without a title (2nd).

      This person you refer to knows sweet FA about the Football and that’s not an opinion. I’d ignore their opinions mate!!

      Reply
      • I know Fins I agree but this is our fan base right now.

        3 FA cups in four yrs a 2nd place finish couple runs in EL but yet its the new guy who has not done 1 single thing that you can say has improved Arsenal that gets the protection and support from our fan base ahead of the team that ended our 8/9 yrs trophy drought.

        Some of our fans are the worst on the planet, i dont engage with a certain mindset when it comes to talking Arsenal so places like Uncensored and Positive Arsenal are a real oasis.

        Reply

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