Ozil in the hole leads Arsenal blitz against Villa


Ladies and gentlemen, our prayers have been answered.  While the hashtag “campaign” of #PlayOzilat10 surely did not weigh on the mind of Arsene Wenger, Le Prof still answered the cries of millions of Arsenal supporters the world over when the team sheet was released showing Mesut Ozil in his favored number 10 role; he would not disappoint.

Just a but of comedy on the goal at Vill Park 😉

In just a three minute spell (34′, 35′ and 36′), Arsenal blitzed Aston Villa at Villa Park to earn themselves a very credible three points in an excellent all round performance.  Ozil opened the scoring after being put through on goal by Danny Welbeck, and then turned provider with a brilliant ball into the box from the left side channel that saw Welbeck slam it home for his first goal for the club.  Arsenal’s third would come by way of an Aly Cissokho own goal after Kieran Gibbs played a delicious ball across the frame of goal looking for the run of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

While Ozil certainly put in his best performance in an Arsenal shirt in quite sometime, it was the overall performance from the Gunners that needs to be recognized.  Ozil, Santi Cazorla and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (who replaced Alexis Sanchez in the starting XI on short notice) all played extraordinarily well behind Welbeck, who’s movement, vision, and pace both on and off the ball was excellent.

Aaron Ramsey was an all-action man in midfield, and while he had two excellent efforts from outside of the box flash wide, his performance on the day was much improved on the whole, despite his first touch letting him down on a number of occasions.

At the back, Calum Chambers featured at right-back, with Kieran Gibbs, Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny all playing well.  They were not tested to the levels of previous matches, but against a Villa side that was hot out of the gates early on in the league campaign, they did quite well to keep Andreas Weimann and Gabby Agbonlahor quiet and off the board.

Danny Welbeck’s first goal in an Arsenal shirt comes with brilliant timing – with four tough matches in a row to come, hopefully this was his first of a few (image courtesy of Arsenal’s official Facebook page)

It is still far too early to assume that this performance will have us turn a corner, but it was certainly a massive improvement on our midweek showing in Dortmund.  With Tottenham and Chelsea our next two fixtures in the Premier League, high-flying Southampton in a midweek Capital One Cup fixture this week, and Galatasaray next mid-week in the Champions League, our next four fixtures are going to get harder before they get easier.

But one thing is for sure, Wenger did get it right tactically today; however, that does not mean he is some sort of genius.  It never took some sort of mastermind to deploy us in the way we did today, or have us play the type of football we did.  These are decisions that should have happened from the very first minute of football this season, but I suppose it’s better to have him wake up now than in two months time.

The good news, is that Wenger is unlikely to go back to the 4-1-4-1 after today’s display.  Additional reasons to be optimistic comes by way of Theo Walcott’s return to full fitness just around the corner.  Sanchez is not out for any extended period of time either, and with that, we could finally see both Walcott and Sanchez on either side of Ozil, with Welbeck ahead of them – such a notion should make us all shed tears of pure joy.

At the end of the day, the current state of affairs for any Arsenal supporter is two fold; 1. play our players in the positions where they are best suited, and 2. have our players all put in a shift and work hard for the result.  While the latter of two is harder to come by, players usually play harder when they are slotted into their more comfortable environment.  If today’s performance is anything to go by, we look set to improve dramatically, and that’s all any of us has ever asked for.

Andrew Thompson is a contributing writer for We Are Hooligans, Outside Of The Boot and The Modern Gooner – follow him on Twitter @AFCBvB1410