Cleat Geeks

Cannon Conversation

2178                                                                                    Everton 0 – 2 Arsenal

Arsenal (4-2-3-1) Ospina; Bellerin, Gabriel, Koscielny, Monreal; Coquelin, Elneny; Sanchez, Ozil, Iwobi; Welbeck

 

Where was this performance 3 weeks ago? Arsenal finally played as if they actually wanted the title, which sadly although mathematically in reach, is a distant hope. After last weeks shock F.A cup exit to Watford, and a predictable defeat to Barcelona in the Champions League, it was hard to see Arsenal getting a result at Goodison Park after Evertons recent win against Chelsea. Arsenal started the match with a confidence that had been lacking recently, which I strangely feel came from that defeat in Barcelona, it was a display which showed that even in defeat we can cope with the best. Arsenal made one change from that game, Francis Coquelin replacing the injured Mathieu Flamini – this was the strongest side we could have fielded and recently Danny Welbeck and Mohammed Elneny have been fantastic, especially these last few games (two defeats yes I know, BUT they were subs and played well.)

welbeck goal

Danny Welbeck

Arsenals intent from the start was clear, although Everton forced a corner after 50 seconds, we immediately had an opportunity of our own with Welbeck hitting the post, after a clearance had rebounded off him, and it wasn’t long after that Arsenal scored. Welbeck finished a beautiful team move when he rounded Joel to score. Sanchez played a delightful ball through after Ozil’s clever movement had made space.

This was cutting edge football which has been lacking recently and showed that when we get it right, there isn’t many better at crafting beautiful goals. Everton pushed and probed with little success and five minutes before half time Bellerin sent the impressive Iwobi clear with a ball over the defense and he remained calm to slot under an on-rushing Joel and gave Arsenal the two goal cushion our first half play had deserved. Everton came on strong in the second half, and looked threatening for a period, which you would expect. Ospina in particular was tested after he took a heavy knock from a challenge and it looked like he would be substituted. Arsenal stood firm however, and even saw a goal chalked off for offside, a 3-0 scoreline would have flattered Arsenal a tad, but you could not argue we were deserved winners.

iwobi fgoal

Alex Iwobi

Alex Iwobi – what a talent we have. I have seen many a false dawn recently with regards to pacey wingers ‘cough’ Walcott ‘cough’ and Oxlade-chamberlian, but something tells me we could have a genuine star on our hands. He’s pacey, aggressive, calm and assured in front of goal, everything you need to succeed in this league. Lets hope he’s given time to develop and is nurtured correctly, lately too much too soon is costing us when it comes to youngsters.

 

The Aaron Ramsey dilemma.

The best thing about Aaron Ramsey at the moment is the fact he is injured…

I know that sounds incredibly harsh, but this season his form has been terrible 7 goals and 5 assists in 31 appearances in all competitions, and since he’s been injured our play, in my eyes, has improved. Yes we’ve lost to Watford at home, and Barca away in that time, but Ramsey wouldn’t have changed that. His goals have dried up, his assists have dried up, and his overall play has been stagnating. He insists on playing sideways and slows the tempo and flow of the match. I know he scored against Tottenham, he also could’ve won the game if he had a touch more pace when through on goal, but to me lately he looks lost whenever he is on the pitch, whether it’s out wide or through the middle. He is forcing the issue and that often leads to him making the wrong decisions. He is in danger of becoming an impact player, and not one we depend on from the start. At this moment in time Elneny is ahead of him even when he comes back, and if Cazorla is back mid April, along with Wilshere, he could be finding himself alongside Walcott on the bench come the end of season. Would I be sad to see him leave? Yes, but if a suitable replacement was found… I wouldn’t dwell on it.

Arsene Wenger Speculation.

Again this week there has been lots of attention on Arsenes’ position as manager, and for the first time I believe that he will leave at the end of his contract. He has one year left after this season and I cannot see him extending. We have failed miserably this year and for all his protesting, Arsenes’ refusal to sign an outfield player; especially a striker, has come back to haunt him, and I finally think the penny has dropped and he will spend big this summer. For me its a summer too late as every team will strengthen. It’s my belief that Arsene will attempt to leave us in a strong position, so we don’t suffer like Manchester United have with replacing Sir Alex Ferguson.

If I was asked who I would want as a replacement, I would strongly look at the Dortmund manager Tuchel. Yes I am jumping on the bandwagon, he’s had one good season so far, but he looks like he could be a great manager and if we aren’t looking at him, we’ll be sorry when Bayern snaps him up.

 

In other news…

I’ve been hearing a lot of rumors Arsenal have tried/trying to secure a deal for 23-year-old Granit Xhaka from Borussia Mönchengladbach. This is a signing that we have needed for a long time, and whilst I’m not even 50% confident a deal will be done, it’s encouraging to see us linked heavily with him.

Santi Cazorla has had a slight setback on his return from injury, but it’s not expected to delay his comeback by much, mid April is likely.

Arsenal are also back chasing Alvaro Morata in a bizarre transfer from Real Madrid, which would involve Madrid activating a buy-back clause, to then sell on at a profit to Arsenal. Again it’s encouraging to see us linked with a young world-class player.

 

Next week I’ll be talking about Mesut Ozil, Alexis Sanchez, and Cazorla and Wilshere about where I feel they’ll fit in next season.

See you next week.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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