Mesut Ozil was never simply going to fade away in Arsenal colours. He’s our record signing, and for a reason. We’re not the type of club to give up players easily (see Coquelin for more details, or Diaby for extensive reading.) so we let him have his rough patches and his moments of majesty, and then we did something about the weaker side of his game. Roll on a few months later: new fitness coach, possibly new regime, and enter a new fitter, bulkier, Premier League designed, Mezut Ozil. And so he’s our Player of the Week.
We dispatched, maybe even slaughtered Villa at the Emirates, which is nothing too surprising given the difference in class and form between the two sides; and at the heart of it was our German maestro, who is showing all the cheek and flair we expect from him. He also doesn’t look too disinterested playing on the wing, aware of how excellent his Spanish competitor has been in the middle – you can’t exactly dish him out to the wings now following such dominating form, and I think Ozil knows that. He certainly didn’t look isolated on the left hand side either, evident by his assist and goal, and general play; Ozil popped up all over the pitch, interchanging with ease. He’s intelligent in all aspects, making him such a golden asset to Arsenal or any team. That’s why he’s the one of the best. That’s why Wenger dug deep into his wallet for him, regardless of how reluctant he might have been.
Eight minutes in and we saw Ozil’s genius; improved by the fact that he barely moved a muscle to orchestrate it. It was more of an audacious twitch than anything strenuous. That’s sure to rile critics up. Perfect. He flicked on a speedy aerial pass to the anticipating Giroud who ran home and kept his cool, slotting in with the confidence of a top striker. The Frenchman is beaming at the moment. It was all too quick and complex for the Villa defence to handle and we were well on our way before the game had truly begun. Good start. Got even better. Especially for Ozil, who continued to impact. His goal came after a nice return of favour from Giroud, and what did Ozil do? He passed the ball into the only place it could have possibly gone. The net rustled, and Ozil spun away rather pleased. How dare him. Surely, he can’t do that? I mean he’s supposed to be a waste of space. Another player would have shot and hit the keeper, or gone wide and missed. Ozil passed it in. Ozil knows these things. He spent the rest of the game flicking the ball and taking players on with a footballer oozing confidence, or perhaps resurgence. A second Ozil goal could and should have found its way onto the pleasant scoreboard, but a second too long stole the chance away and it was gone; it didn’t matter, other players got in on the act.
Theo Walcott was rusty for large parts of the game before taking it upon himself to switch to the left and cutting inside to curl home an impressive finish. Again, it was very Theo-ish. It’s another huge step in his return. First Premier League start for over a year, first goal. That’ll do.
Coquelin maintained his excellence, bagging himself another faultless performance. Cazorla the same.
Then there’s the talented Bellerin, who has really grown in the last month and made the right back spot his own. He’s often electric, and technically sound; can cross a ball, too, and even score pinpoint goals – so pretty much everything, then. He’ll be a big player over the coming years.
A good day for Arsenal. A solid workout before next week’s mayhem.