Saturday was a game of two halves. The first, Swansea played against no opposition and still managed to make a mess of things. The second, Arsenal blew them away, Mezut Ozil excellence combined with strong heads made a normally tricky affair rather simple and relaxed. Joel Campbell had a solid game, which is a relief. He is a good player, explosive in the last World Cup. Hopefully, now with some more game time he’ll control that right hand spot that’s been plagued with injuries – all three of our wingers in fact, all English, too – counting Welbeck as our right forward as Wenger likes him there, so that’s a terrifying fact concerning our English flank. But when you’ve got a guy like Mezut on the ball, it’s not so much of a problem. Utterly non existent in the first half, like the rest, yet fully responsible for the improved second half and comfortable win. It’s a German week, like most weeks. He’s been Arsenal’s player of the season by a distance.
The game was so flat from an Arsenal perspective that the first half is best forgotten. If Arsenal hadn’t been on such a relentless run of form then I’d have feared the worst. In past seasons Arsenal fail to shake off the sloppiness from the first half and it runs into the second half and the game is gone. But Bayern were conquered, so the team is unstoppable. The players believe it. Look at Giroud’s celebration to a fairly standard header. They all knew what they have to do, nobody’s hiding, everybody wants to take the responsibility and win. No more so than our German superstar who’s been the best player in the league without contest. Ozil is so far ahead mentally that it’s almost embarrassing, toying with teams like cat to a mouse. He helped himself to three assists. He has recorded the most assists in the league since his debut back in 2013. He has now broken the BPL record of assists per game ratio. All right for someone who has no impact on games.
Giroud’s game changing opener came from an Ozil corner, and Arsenal’s improvement in this area is down the frequent quality of deliveries, from either the German or Santi Cazorla. The German is also pivotal to counter attacks, often the player on the half turn and opening the game wide for him to exploit. His second was debatable, but lets claim it. Ozil once again turned provider and crossed for Koscielny to clatter Fabianski. The former keeper fumbled the ball and the Frenchman capitalised. Thankfully, the goal stood and the team were well on their way. The second goal always turns Arsenal into predator mode, blood in the air, wounded opponents, the hunt was on. The third was the product of the deadly duo, Monreal and Ozil, whereby dominating that left flank has become a formality. Monreal will never get enough credit, but he’s crucial to Ozil’s influence down that left side, providing the width and the overlaps, creating all kinds of space. The pair love to give and go, Ozil waiting for Monreal’s run, before cutting back and Monreal handing the ball back, then Mezut makes the run and Monreal finds him. The German cut the ball across the box, it ricocheted into Joel Campbell’s path and he kept his composure, firing Arsenal into a three goal lead away at notoriously difficult ground.
Outside of that, not a lot happened bar an injury scare with Giroud, which would certainly kill this team. Campbell worked hard, and had an influence, which is all you can ask. He’s not new to this, but his confidence has been shattered by lack of faith so he needs to get that back if he’s to stay here. And finally, once again, it was Ozil’s craftsmanship that steered Arsenal forward.