In his first article for The False Nine, and in the aftermath of Arsenal’s clinical Champions League performance against Napoli, Jonny Singer eulogises about another German international, instrumental to Arsenal’s recent form…
Last night, Arsenal were brilliant. Not just quite good, not good in patches, but brilliant. Napoli, supposedly one of the best teams in Italy, barely got a foothold in the contest, limited to a fraction of the possession and a few optimistic long shots.
For the Gunners, just a few weeks ago the crisis club of England, the future looks bright. The signing of Mesut Özil has quietened the dissidents, inspired the players, and added much needed quality. They’ll probably go and win everything now – or so the mainstream media would have you believe.
But the progress Arsenal have made does not date from September 2nd, when the German superstar signed for a club-record £42m. They may have won 9 games in a row since he signed, but that’s part of a longer sequence that has seen the club pick up 19 wins, 2 draws and just a single defeat since March 13th 2013.
That was the night Arsenal beat Bayern Munich 2-0 in Germany, not enough to keep them in the Champions League, but the turning point in this squad’s story. And it has not been down to the ‘wizard of Özil’ but rather built on the shoulders of another German – Per Mertesacker. Continue reading
Arsenal fan John Guillem discusses the virtues of Mesut Özil, and how he slots into Arsene Wenger’s side…
I won’t say much about the transfer itself. Not only is it a bit late by now to be doing so, but we’ve had our earlobes strained unto tedium by endless responses and counter-responses. However, I will say that part of the motivation for this piece has been pique at the quasi-hysterical reaction by the Arsenal fanbase – fair enough, on one level, but definitely annoying as all hell, particularly for a habitually frigid fan such as myself. So as to investigate the parameters of my own excitement (is it the head or the loins talking?), I’ve dredged out some problems raised by Mesut’s arrival in North London (that are perhaps being overlooked), scum emerging from the mire below.
I don’t buy any of the crap we’ve all read about Özil being a new blade purchased when what was really needed was a shield or perhaps some pepper spray or whatever. I would say that on paper he’s exactly what Arsenal needed most. Certainly, the squad lacks depth in the striking positions (although they do now have Thor himself returned to Arsegard), but it’s becoming increasingly clear to non-Gooners that Giroud can finish and contribute to buildup with great effectiveness. Similarly, people bleating about signing a physical dm/box-to-boxer were missing the point: for the way Arsenal play, Arteta is excellent for the holding role, and with Ramsey exceptional at defending (33 tackles so far this season with a close on 100% success rate) and Flamini providing a credible and effective alternative, there’s no need to be worrying. Vieira (for whom Gooners still pang at night) was hugely imposing and physical, but he was also technically brilliant. Aside from a few (expensive/aging) players like Paul Pogba, Arturo Vidal, maybe Daniele De Rossi, there wouldn’t be many who’d fit that bracket today. Continue reading