The best remedy for a team shorn of confidence is to play another team shorn of confidence and take it to them. That is precisely what Arsenal did in their 2-5 drubbing when they visited Everton yesterday.
For Arsenal it was a complete route and the goals by the home side were flattering to say the least as they were completely dominated from the first whistle to the last.
We look back at the 3 things we learned from this match.
Özil, Lacazette, and Sanchez Look Divine Together
It was the attacking 3 we were waiting to see since the beginning of the season. Mesut Özil, Alexandre Lacazette, and Alexis Sanchez featured for the first time this season and they did not disappoint. They not only each scored but Sanchez and Özil had assists (Sanchez for Özil and Özil for Lacazette) and looked as every bit as good as we had hoped.
Now, as with any match, optimism has to be tempered with some reality, in this case Everton were pure unadulterated shite. Still, Ronald Koeman is a bogey man to Arsene Wenger and I think I speak for everyone when we say we expected them to be better prepared.
Fact is the front three of OLA (I hate acronyms but am tired already of spelling each of their names) where fluid and precise. They moved into and attacked space off the ball and with Özil getting the ball deep to get things started they tore into Everton and nearly had us up 4-0 within the first 10 minutes.
If it weren’t for some stellar Jordan Pickford saves and poor Aaron Ramsey shooting it would’ve been outsight before we passed a quarter of an hour.
Sadly we are likely to only have a limited engagement of seeing these 3 players line up next to each other as we all know. With one or both of Sanchez and Özil, destined to leave as early as January and as late as June 30, this is a sweet taste not long to linger.
Still, if I am Arsene Wenger, I am running at this lineup and running Sanchez and Özil into the ground to get the most of them for the remainder of the season. The three of them working together and playing off each other can develop into one of the best attacking trios in the league and even if Özil and Sanchez leave it can at least help get Arsenal back in to the Champion’s League.
Mesut Özil is still better than you
Maybe it was being partnered with Sanchez and Lacazette. Maybe it was he had a point to prove. But yesterday Mesut Özil was the man of the match. He literally was dominating play.
Of course the naysayers will opine that it was only a woeful Everton and on one level that is true. But given even woeful team’s propensity for taking something from us it was still a divine performance.
Of course we can point to the goal and assist but there was other more scintillating stuff. First he created 8 chances or was it 9 chances yesterday, either way it was more than anybody else this weekend.
He made small deft passes that found a runner that were led to quality scoring chances. Some of the passes were so perfect that they were a sliver plated serving for the teammate lucky enough to be running on to it.
Additionally, he was finding success both by coming deep to get the ball and make passes and floating between the midfield and back line of Everton’s that he was always available for a pass and to
unlock Everton – which he did frequently.
It still remains to be seen whether Özil will stay beyond this year. I am not into all the hype about Man U. Could he leave for there? Absolutely, but at 29 he doesn’t seem to be the type of player Jose would go for. Does that mean he’ll stay at Arsenal? Nope. Turkey and Germany are still very big possibilities.
All that being said it was great to see the Özil we know he can be. Me frankly, I am going to enjoy his time here until he does go.
Ronald Koeman Won’t Be Replacing Arsene Wenger
Koeman is the latest manager to be first in the firing line. After their loss to Arsenal, Everton now sit in the relegation zone. Surely they won’t stay there all season but let’s be honest, we’re Arsenal fans and we know abject performances – Everton’s performance was abject on an epic scale of Arsenalness.
And all this comes after Koeman and new part owner Farad Moshiri spent about £160m on 12 players and they are now worse off than they were last year.
Koeman is a manager who spends a lot of time talking. Frankly, he talks too much. And while he seems to get the best out of what he has, he just hasn’t done it this season. For a manager who at the start of the season was linked to the Barcelona job, his stock has dropped significantly.
UPDATE: As I was typing this up Everton have announced that Ronald Koeman has left the club.
It was a poor Everton we defeated yesterday but supposedly one of the great things of the Premier League is that even the poor teams can beat a good team on any day. So if that’s the case why can’t we just revel in a delightful performance? Sure, there are harder matches only a fortnight away, we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it. Let’s just allow ourselves to have fun, even for a moment.