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Post Match Review

Post Match Reaction: 3 Things We Learned from Palace v Arsenal

It was nice to get three points in a hard fought contest. Anyone who thought Palace would be a simple, pushover match was sorely mistaken. They are much improved side and will give a lot of teams, especially at the top of the table a trying time this season.

So what did we learn – funny you ask that, because here are three things that stood out to us.

Cech, Koscielny and Mertesacker need time

One of the most important relationship on the pitch is the relationship between keeper and his back 4. More important than that however, is the understanding and connection between keeper and the two center backs.

Based on the evidence at hand it looks like Arsenal’s new keeper and our two starting CBs still need time together. If we’re honest, it looks like Mertesacker may be fine but Koscielny in the last two games has hardly looked like Arsenal’s best CB – a claim many of us have made.

In our two games so far, he has played a part in goals against us. Yesterday, a shot that had no business going in, should’ve been attacked by Koscielny with Cech urging him to do so. Instead, Koscielny sees the play develop and as the shot is taken turns his back to supposedly block the shot.

Cech is in a position to cover the near post if he has to and the cross bar. Thinking Koscielny is going to attack the ball he is maybe a step to the left too far (anticipating a rebound off Kos maybe?) In the end the ball goes into the 8 inch area it could’ve to score. Not many keepers will make that save if called upon to save it.

That isn’t the only evidence. While attacking set pieces hasn’t been a staple of Arsenal defending in recent years, it was markedly better over the last few seasons and hasn’t looked as hap hazard as it has so far this season. We don’t look organized at all and you just close your eyes and pray nothing goes in.

Organization at the back starts with Cech. The keeper has to be the field general out their organizing the defenders and when defending set pieces – the team. It’s clear he is not yet familiar with the tendancies of the players in front of him, especially his two center backs.

This will develop over time. The question is, can it develop quickly enough or do we run the chance of seeing the lack of understanding costing Arsenal precious points?

Mesut Özil will contend for Player of the Year.

Yesterday a match where everything you love about a player of Özil’s stature was on display. No matter where you looked, Özil had a hand in the attack going forward.

The stats show he hit 54 of 55 passes equating to a 98% success rate. His assist on the Giroud goal was so perfect no defender could get to the ball and in the build up to that play his tendancy to drift out wide and spread a back line meant that Giroud found himself uncovered and able to get the shot off.

Terms like sanguine or lazy have been used to describe the German. Me, I prefer genius. The man simply sees the game differently than most.

With his first full pre-season under his belt, no injury or fatigue from national team duties, Özil will deliver on the promise his signing originally heralded. When he does that he has to be considered in contention for POY – question is will the English Press recognize that (probably not.)

Ramsey on the Right, isn’t Right but it Works

On Arseblog news today they covered Ramsey’s post game comments about why Wenger set him up out wide. Arseblog and many others have talked about how many feel this reduces the chance for Arsenal to play wide and stretch defenses.

However, what Ramsey mentions and was on display yesterday is that Ramsey coming in from out wide was able to exploit gaps in the Crystal Palace midfield. This was especially evident for the first 20 minutes of the match when Palace were set up in a 4-3-3 leaving one midfielder back.

As Palace tried to go forward, the gap between midfield and back four was expansive. This meant that if we got the ball in transition, we usually found Ramsey sitting alone between the two lines. With his ability to dribble for penetration and the speed of our attack we wound up with odd man chances very early on.

As Ramsey says in the interview, the only thing all the interchanges in the attacking third lacked was the finishing. Maybe if we stopped with those flippin’ back heel flicks we’d have more – that’s for another time though.

The thing is, Ramsey out right isn’t ideal. But it does work and has worked. Yes, it does seem like Wenger trying to get his best 3 midfielders – Özil, Cazorla and Ramsey on the pitch at once – but there is as Ramsey has said a tactical reason for it.

We may not like it, but there is no denying it can and has been effective.

Extra Time

This isn’t Arsenal related but I have confess, I just love Sergio Aguero. If there is one player I covet more than any other it’s the Manchester City forward. When healthy he is simply the best forward in England.

Just allow yourself to dream a little what Arsenal would be like with Aguero in front of Özil, Sanchez and Theo/Ox.

Sigh. We can dream can’t we?

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