Some would say it’s been smooth sailing for Arsenal since a 3-0 victory at home against Bournemouth. Four straight cleansheets in the Premier League, along with 10 points from a possible 12. Not bad considering nearly every pundit in the UK was labeling the Gunners as being in a crisis. Then again, is that a surprise? The English media love themselves an Arsenal struggle.
viWhen the starting XI was announced, it would have certainly raised some eyebrows, but apart from Alexis and Ramsey not in the squad, I wasn’t too concerned with it if I’m being honest. Obviously given the final result, everyone will criticize the team selection, but had Arsenal taken their chances, the topic of discussion would be how Arsenal did it without Alexis.
Given the outcome of the match, I think there are five main talking points that should be discussed, and in no particular order.
Fine Print In Lacazette’s Transfer Deal?
Am I watching a completely different game, or is there something going on in the background involving Lacazette? Let’s get this straight; Arsenal chased the Frenchman for a few years, finally got Lyon to agree on a transfer fee, made him the club’s highest transfer, yet Wenger doesn’t let him play a full 90 minutes?
With the match on the line, needing a player who is strong on the ball and mobile, Wenger once again takes Lacazette off. How the hell does this make sense to anyone?
The only scenario I can think of is if there is a compensation associated to Lacazette’s minutes, or, he has some sort of gentleman’s agreement with Giroud. If Alexis is in that match, tied 1-1, he doesn’t come off, nor does Ozil if he starts, so why should Lacazette? Barring an injury, a red card, or an absolutely dreadful performance, in that situation, there’s no reason why the Frenchman should have come off.
He worked hard while he was out there, and his linkup play was commendable. If him and Welbeck were on the same page, the fragile Englishman could have had himself a few scoring opportunities. Instead, that final pass was missing, but not entirely surprising given the fact that they’ve only played a handful of matches together.
Once Giroud came on, he struggled to impose himself, and Arsenal struggled to get forward as regularly. It was easier to defend for Watford, knowing Giroud wouldn’t get in behind them, and he’s not going to turn and run at defenders. That allowed Watford to get more bodies forward, which encouraged wave after wave of yellow kits taking aim at Petr Cech’s goal.
Is there a pundit out there willing to ask Wenger what the deal is with him taking off Lacazette every match, or is everyone too obsessed with watching every movement and facial expression of Alexis Sanchez that nothing else matters, unless of course Arsenal drops points?!
Ozil Could Have Made Things Much Easier
Uncertainty surrounding Ozil’s future at the club is not only frustrating for the club and the supporters, but it clearly has an affect on him. Whether he’d admit it or not, only he knows what’s going on in the background in terms of negotiations. If things were going well, it wouldn’t have reached this point, therefore, it’s obvious that the lingering discussions would be playing in the back of the German’s mind.
If Arsene Wenger’s choice to sit him a few times is an indicator, I’d imagine that he’s on his way out in January if a suitable offer comes in. Why else would Danny Welbeck go straight into the squad after coming back from injury, but Ozil doesn’t? Seems odd considering Wenger has always found a way to get him into the starting XI, returning from injury or not.
Seeing his name as a substitute surprised me, but Iwobi’s performance made me forget about him, even if just temporarily.
When he did come on, he nearly made an immediate impact had it not been for a miraculous save from Gomes from an Iwobi shot. I still think Iwobi should have put that away, but I can give the Watford shot stopper some credit. Can you imagine Henry with an opportunity like that? He made a career of those opportunities. Open up your body, and tuck it neatly inside the far post.
With Watford still trying to get a foothold on the match, Ozil had a superb opportunity to essentially put the game out of reach, or at least try to. Iwobi, of course, picked a pass down the middle, isolating Mesut one on one with Gomes. He had the entire fu&*en goal to aim at, so what does he do?! A weak shot, which looked more like a pass to Gomes’ left, easily saved. I repeat, one on one, and he made it so damn easy for the Brazilian to be the hero. And of course, the hornets marched down the pitch, and thanks to an extremely soft penalty call, the hosts were now level, with about 20 minutes remaining in the match.
I have two questions off the back of this play.
One, WTF was Ozil thinking? You want to be one of, if not the highest paid, and you do something like that? I could see if he was under pressure, or it was a difficult angle, but it was straight on, no pressure on him. His teammates needed him to slot that away to give them a more comfortable final 20 minutes, but instead, it turned into complete hell. Most, it not all world class players who ask for the salary Ozil is asking for walk that into the goal. Without being able to predict the future, Lacazette tucks that inside the right post, Alexis sits the keeper down and walks it into the goal as he’d run away blowing kisses to his dogs who were watching at home, and, even Giroud would have slotted that inside the left post. But, Ozil? Nah, let’s fu&*en piss down our leg with the match on the line.
Two, if Welbeck’s play moments earlier with Cholevas isn’t a pen, where there is more contact, and the Watford defender actually extends his arm, how was that a pen against Bellerin? It’s a 50/50 play, they go shoulder to shoulder, and I can’t see any contact with his leg from any replay. Maybe there was, but, if there was, it was minimal. So again, how the fu&* is that a pen against Arsenal, but he told Welbeck to get up at the other end? Double standard? Or maybe the pressure from the home crowd made the decision for him?
Iwobi Was Arguably Arsenal’s Best Player
I’ll be the first to admit that I haven’t been a big fan of Iwobi. His stamina was always a concern for me, he was soft on and off the ball, and he just lacked that cutting edge, at least in my opinion of course. Admittedly, given how he has performed as of late, he’s certainly started to win me over.
Allowing him to be the ball carrier without Ramsey and Ozil in the side has given him some confidence. I don’t need to look at stats to say that Alex Iwobi was by a long shot Arsenal’s best player in the first half, actually on the pitch, and overall, I’m not sure I can think of anyone that was more influential than him.
He got forward when he could, helped defensively, and when he was on the ball, he made an effort to keep things simple, which he doesn’t always do.
It blows my mind to see supporters on Twitter talking about how he’s not good enough, or how he didn’t play well. Did I not watch the right match?
In that first half, I saw a confident Iwobi carrying Arsenal forward, getting others involved, and going at defenders. Even ArsenalFanTV regular DT had some criticism for the Nigerian international.
Iwobi was poor imo, right now he’s not good enough to start regular for Arsenal, that’s a football thing, out of order what you said here! https://t.co/yK9P6JuX3n
— MR DT © (@MrDtAFC) October 15, 2017
He’s entitled to his opinion just like anyone else, but if Iwobi was poor, what the fu&$ was everyone else? Who was better than him throughout the entire match?
Jack Wilshere Should Have Come On
Arsene Wenger has talked about how Jack Wilshere is possibly in his best form ever. He’s been getting minutes in Europa League and the League Cup, so why didn’t he come on Saturday? Oh, it’s because Koscielny was injured right Wenger? Wait, who the fu*& cares!
He had five defenders on the pitch, you’re tied 1-1 in a match that you were comfortable in for about 65-70 minutes. Why not grow a sack, take off Koscielny, go to a back four of Bellerin, Mertesacker, Monreal and Kolasinac, and bring on Wilshere to help take back control in the center of the park?
Instead, he brings on Holding, when Arsenal was already struggling to keep possession, or even get forward. Watford were pouring men forward, the ball wasn’t getting to Giroud, and when it did, he gave it away cheaply, but, the right decision is to bring on another defender and keep the same system? Think outside the damn box!
I’ve always been a big fan of Wilshere, and I still think that if he’s fit and confident, he’s the best English player in his position. He has looked good in the appearances he’s made this season, so when is Wenger going to roll the dice? Wenger has a sick obsession with Ramsey and always makes an effort to get him in the match, so wtf is the issue with getting Jack in there?
With him unable to get regular minutes even when fit and healthy may very well see him pushed out of the Emirates, and to be honest, I don’t blame him. If there is a player in that squad that bleeds Arsenal, it’s him. You want passion and grit? Someone to lift the team with their determination? Wilshere would have been the guy, instead, we said go on Watford, keep pouring men forward.
Troy Deeney’s Comments Prove Double Standard
This tw*t doesn’t even deserve that much discussion, but two things must be said.
Apart from the gifted penalty that Watford were awarded, and Deeney converted, what else did that dumb fu&$ do in the match? He had 18 touches in 20+ minutes. Yet, he felt the need to go on live television to make those comments? If I were in Martin Keown’s chair, I would have given him an earful off-air for sure. There’s a difference between sharing your thoughts after the match on the performance, and then there’s disrespecting your fellow colleagues, and your opposition.
He says the pen wasn’t the reason Arsenal lost. Well, at that point, Arsenal was up 0-1, and looked fairly comfortable in the match. The pen made it 1-1, so I guess it actually did have a big part in the final outcome. He talked about his mentality against Arsenal being to get stuck in straight away, and how he went up for a header with Mertesacker once he came on, and didn’t even have to jump. Or how he plays dirty and will make things uncomfortable. You were on the pitch for 27 minutes plus stoppage time, so approximately 31 minutes, and you had 18 fu&%en touches, in a match where your team was pouring forward in the final 15-20 minutes. 18, not 30, not 40, 18. Only Capoue had less touches than Deeney from the entire Watford side, and he was on for about 13 minutes.
Where was he to talk like this when he lost at home to Arsenal last season? Oh that’s right, he had no cojones then to come on TV and talk about how soft his squad was. But on Saturday, he had plenty to say.
Lastly, when did it become ok to react this way on live TV? I’d accept it coming from a pundit, former player, but a player who is active and just took part in the match?! Had that been an Arsenal player, he would have been criticized by everyone and anyone, but, since it’s a player talking about Arsenal, the English media love every second of it.
I hope the Arsenal players and staff watched that interview, and in the return leg at the Emirates, Deeney gets fu*&en clattered straight away. Then maybe he’ll think twice before he disrespects anyone on live TV. See the tw*ts full interview below.