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Jackie, Özil, Rambo, ARSENAL Oh My!!!

It’s always great to have Arsenal back after an international break and Arsenal fans everywhere were rewarded with one of the best midfield displays by the club this season punctuated by a goal that can one can only describe as football porn.

It’s always great to have Arsenal back after an international break and Arsenal fans everywhere were rewarded with one of the best midfield displays by the club this season punctuated by a goal that can one can only describe as football porn.

Chris Hughton’s men have always posed Arsenal trouble with the directness of their play. Additionally, his setup of opting to pack the midfield by playing a midfield four in support of a single striker can typically take away a lot of the space a passing team like Arsenal cares to operate in. To counter this, Arsene opted to play both Flamini and Arteta in midfield in a move similar to that against Napoli. It also helped that both players did not play a single minute of international football and were well rested. While Flamini would continue his role as the midfield enforcer, Arteta would act as a natural deep lying pivot to provide defensive support while also helping bridge attacks.

The highlight however to this lineup of course was the pairing of Santi Cazorla with Mesut Özil. Cazorla who suffered a back injury in the international break after the Tottenham win, hasn’t played since then. This was a pairing many were slaviating over when Özil’s signing was announced. And now we had it. With Cazorla coming back and managing 59 minutes it offered glimpses of what may be as Cazorla will still try and find his match legs after such a long layoff. But the match still had moments of pure class and none other stood out than the play that led to Jack Wilshere’s goal.

Super Jack

Jack Wilshere may have stole the show on this day. While Jack has had a lot of success on the left while playing for the reserves, seamlessly slotted into the right and interchanged brilliantly with both Ozil and Cazorla. Jack also played off Sagna well and this was key in Arsenal having most of their attacks start from the right side (45%.)

We are also starting to some improvement in one key area of Jack’s overall game and that is in his decision making. Some of noted a level of frustration with Jack and his hunger/desie  to try and dribble past players where maybe a simple pass would be a more effective option. However against Norwich, Jack more often chose the right option and finished the game with 3 key passes (tied highest for the team) while also making 2 successful dribbles.

But the highlight of Jack’s day (As well as Wenger’s and everyone elses’) was being part of one of the finest team goals we’ve seen at Arsenal since the Invicibles slew allbefore them. Ray Hudson simply called it  a “Mona Lisa goal.” And it was adorned with all the attributes of everything that Wenger wants his teams to be about. The build up passing which all started with Jack and included Gibbs, Wilshere and Giroud lasted all of seven quickfire passes and a few seconds and ended with the originator, Jack with a tasty little volley that left everyone in disbelief.  In fact the who can do a better flick contest between Giroud and Jack pretty much was left the Norwich back 4 rooted to their spots. Words truly cannot describe how beautiful the goal and was one that embodied both the class of Giroud and Wilshere. But we’ll let these guys do it (it’s in Arabic so I have no idea what they’re saying except for Santi to Jackie a few times:

Aaron Ramsey, He Scores When He Wants

We’re starting to run out of superlatives when talking about Aaron Ramsey and we’re only 8 games into the Premier League season. Ramsey once again showed why he is probably the best player in the Premier League right now. His display was what we are becoming to expect week in and week out and he was only a sub coming on for Flamini who suffered a minor concussion. So effective was Ramsey playing for less than an hour WhoScored still gave him the highest player rating (9.6) that an Arsenal player has had this season.

Ramsey came on for Flamini after Flamini wasn’t able to fully recover from a clash of heads with Tettey and while he took a bit to adjust to the pace of the game and his positioning playing alongside Arteta instead of Flamini he had a stormer in the second half. Aaron was once again the all out action midfielder finishing with a team leading 5 tackles while also contributing 3 key passes including a cutback for Ozil to tap in his second of the game.

Ramsey had a terrific game as a natural box-to-box midfielder where he passed less and dribbled far more than usual. A key part of Ramsey’s game pre-injury was his ability to dribble into tighter areas creating more space for other players around him and he is slowly showing signs of getting back to that level. He finished the game with an astonishing 5 dribbles that lead both teams.

Then there is the small matter of him scoring . . . again. Ramsey  is playing like a man possessed and constantly tested Ruddy (who was heads and tales Norwich’s best player) with shots that on any other day would be goals and when he finally did score, what a wonderful goal it take it was. Ramsey’s cutbacks looked effortless and made a few defenders and Ruddy look silly. Usually when a player opts to cutback in front of goal, some think the  player is nervous looking for the perfect shot or to “walk” the ball in. But this wasn’t the case of Ramsey. He went in with on purpose, to score wherever and whenever he could . . . and he did. Oh, and about that 360 turn . . . just beautiful.

Other Musings

While Mesut Özil didn’t have the most influential game in midfield he was able to get into great spaces and was rewarded with being on the end of two simple chances and finished the game with two goals. The German’s presence in this Arsenal team cannot be understated and it is clear that his arrival has greatly elevated the games of Giroud, Ramsey and Wilshere.

Kieran Gibbs is continuing to quietly have a fine season at left back. His defensive decision making has greatly improved this season and he doesn’t get beat as often as he used to. Gibbs finished yesterday’s game with 5 tackles and 2 interceptions. Offensively he has been key to our play especially with our current lack of fit natural wingers.

It was also good to see Nicky Bendtner put in a solid shift after coming on for Giroud. Bendtner looked lively and took players on while getting himself in great scoring positions. Bendtner has always been a good player and he could really help this club be successful especially with a tougher set of fixtures coming up in November.

Norwich plyed to their strengths and while looked bright in patches were undone by some beautiful Arsene-ball highlighted by two extremely wonderful goals. There truly is something special about this Arsenal team and while the season is still very much young, there is lots of reason to be excited.

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