Who said Le Grove couldn’t see into the future? Raise your hand?
You know nothing!
Yesterday I successfully hedged my bets in so many directions, I couldn’t possibly be wrong.
- Wayne Rooney to score.
- Ozil to show the haters who is boss
- Xhaka to make unforced error
I mean, all very predictable. What wasn’t predictable was quite how dominant we’d be.
Everton were abysmal. Mesut Ozil created about 962 chances in first ten minutes. Jokes aside, we created 17 chances in the first half, which was quite ridiculous. Sanchez, Lacazette and Ozil looked so good… Ramsey was off key, but he still made chances and found space to show off his incredibly poor finishing.
The game still didn’t go to plan in the normal sense of a dominant performance. Firstly, we couldn’t finish a roast dinner. Secondly, Wayne Rooney capitalised on Xhaka being fouled/dozing off in the middle of the park, he worked into shooting distance and launched a shot reminiscent of his original fizzer 15 years ago. So predictable.
We did manage to claw a goal back before halftime, the bang average Jordan Pickford proving out his Richard Wright credentials when he parried an Alexis shot back out to an alert Monreal who buried an inside post first-time rebound. A brilliant finish by any standards.
I was a touch worried going in at halftime. We were dominant without anything to show for it, Sanchez was sulking at Ramsey, even Ozil didn’t look pleased at some of the Welshman’s play.
However, my battered housewife fears were wasted, we came out in the second half and drilled Everton into the ground. Ozil led the fight with a sublime goal that saw Lacazette and Sanchez link up to feed him a headed first goal of the season.
Everton went down to ten men when Gana picked up a red for being a thug. It was all downhill from there.
Lacazette was found by a simple Ozil ball from out on the right, a crisp finish from the Frenchman ending his away-day goal hoodoo. Jack Wilshere came on and gave us some of that vintage Project Youth love when he found Ramsey through the middle, the Welsh wizard capped a fairly average game with a smart inside post finish sending Pickford the wrong way.
We still had time for a ding-dong moment, Monreal laying the ball off for Petr Cech – sunshine, bright light, poor communication, keeper dispossessed – Everton score a consolation. Really dim.
The final goal for Arsenal came when Kolasinac chipped a wonderful ball to Ramsey from just inside the Everton half, he laid off Sanchez and let the Chilean have a moment in the sun, burying a shot across goal after crafting some space for himself.
A great win. Wenger dropped some serious Wengerball, reliving the sort of football that endeared himself to the fans in the early years. The style was sublime one touch magic and the passing was telepathic at times. Mesut Ozil looked every inch the £43m player we’d hope to have signed. Everything just looked so easy.
We still have major issues in midfield. Granit Xhaka has gone from being just an ok midfielder, to a massive liability. He has similar split character traits to Mesut. On the one hand, he does so much to help us build the play from deep. His passing technique and ability to craft space is truly exciting. On the other hand, you can count on him to gift the opposition a goal at least once a game. Was it really his fault that he was fouled? Yes and no. Sure, he should have been given the foul, but look, he does that sort of thing every game, where is the awareness? Communication on the pitch from others could have helped and Per didn’t exactly shower himself in glory, but Xhaka is a problem and only Jack can solve it.
Second concern is the Aaron / Ozil conundrum. Those two are like kryptonite to each other. It’s like a version of Lampard / Gerrard. They just don’t have an on pitch chemistry. We really miss Santi Cazorla, and that’s the truth. Here’s the thing though, we won’t have that problem much longer because Mesut is off, problem is, Aaron is a good player, but he’s not and likely will never be a great one. A challenge only the summer and some big dollar will solve.
Finally, as much as I want to join the ‘we’re back in the race’ bandwagon, I have to be real to you. Everton were a joke yesterday. They are a pushover side with no direction or passion for their manager. Don’t read into the next few games thinking we’re going to take down Pep at the Etihad. Let’s see how the holes in our midfield deal with a destructive Manchester City in a few weeks.
Still, I’m going to enjoy that win. We’re no doubt top 4 contenders this season. That’s progress from where the summer finished.
Also, can we all please take a moment to laugh at Liverpool and The Ox.
Finally, here’s the podcast. We’re a bit rough after a few weeks off, but some easy listening for your commute in this morning.