Sokratis points to a lack of creativity

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Sokratis says Arsenal’s inability to find a ‘last pass’ proved to be their downfall against West Ham as Unai Emery’s men lost further ground in the race for a top four finish.

Saturday’s 1-0 defeat, coupled with results elsewhere leaves the Gunners six points adrift of Chelsea and level on points with Manchester United over whom we’d recently held an eight point advantage.

As disappointing as the result was, the fact we created so little in attack was equally concerning, something the Greek defender picked up on.

“It is not about the two shots on target,” he told the Evening Standard.

“Look at how many chances we would have had if we had done better with the last pass.

“Look at how many chances we had to make the last pass. This is the problem.

“I think we did not have what we had in the other games. We did not control the game better than them.”

Arsenal face Chelsea at the Emirates on Saturday knowing a win would once again reignite their hopes of earning a Champions League place via the league.

It is, in no uncertain terms, a must-win game.

“If we want to be in the top four we have to work together,” noted Sokratis.

“Chelsea is another game and we have to regroup — a lot — if we want to do something. It will be a difficult game but if we want to be up there, we have to win.

“We did not play well [against West Ham]. All the team was not like the last games. We have to work, we have to look at what our mistakes were and improve for the next games.”

Beating the Blues would certainly be a welcome confidence boost given we’ve also got a massive FA Cup clash with United and a trip to Manchester City coming up.

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Hantal
Hantal

That’s Kos and Sok now blaming the attack, they aren’t entirely wrong

goongot
goongot

Damn, Our strikers should speak out more about defense as well..

p0lowww
p0lowww

I’m wondering if they are indirectly blaming Emery for not including Ozil (and Ramsey more)? Hopefully he’s not starting to lose the dressing room like Wenger did last year around the same time.

yen
yen

They very well could be doing just that! Tim Stillman made a great point about that this morning on Twitter:

“Likewise, in ‘the Özil debate’, a lot of it has been centred on us as fans, how it makes us feel, what we think of it. But little attention has been paid to what the players think. Mesut is not unpopular in the squad by the look of it. What do his friends and colleagues think?”

Timsh
Timsh

Which is what I noted in November or December.
I believe his team mates would like to see Özil on the bench at least.
Even if he’s a bit lackadasical in training, this guy loves to play football. He grew up playing street football.
However, I do think you could expext him to give his best in training as that’s his job (even leaving out his salary).
Since there are no open training sessions as is usual in other leagues, we just don’t know…

Absolut
Absolut

So the players can cope with Ozil’s languid style and know his value creatively, what is Emery up to? Play our best, Bellerin, Torreira, Montreal too. Shame the positivity has gone sour.

Absolut
Absolut

Maybe my mistake here, sorry. The ‘so’ went in the wrong place. Should be before the Emery bit, not the players. Ah well, what the heck, probably makes no odds.

Dobby the house elf
Dobby the house elf

How on earth would Tim Stillman know what Ozil is like in training and how he’s thought of by his teammates?

Goonerooni 48
Goonerooni 48

Of course they are talking about Emery not picking Ozil and not playing Ramsey from the start. Players are not fools. They know Ozil and Ramsey very well, they know what those two can do, and the fact is that both Ozil and Ramsey are liked and respected by other players.

Emery however is quite another matter. The players did not know him before but now they know his strengths and shortcomings. Emery lacks man management skills, says silly things in his press conferences, has no master plan, has disdain for creativity, and blames players rather than himself for defeats. Players will never be happy with a manager who publicly blames them for defeats which are due to the manager’s incorrect selections and poor tactics. The honeymoon is over for Unai Emery.

COYG1001
COYG1001

Little harsh on UE. Yes, he said stupid things at the last presser. He hasn’t always. Far from.

Billymac
Billymac

As I mentioned in my reply to another Arseblog News post, if you were the manager or one of the players in the opposing team preparing to play Arsenal would you (a) be happy to see Ozil was in the Arsenal team or (b) be happy to see he wasn’t playing and wasn’t even on the bench? Shouldn’t we be worried that Emery seems to think the answer to that question is (a)?

Emery in Aubalaca wonderland
Emery in Aubalaca wonderland

Because Ozil is a lethal scorer ?

Gutbukkit Deffrolla
Gutbukkit Deffrolla

Because Ozil can make things happen.

A P
A P

Jeez, sounds like the specialist-in-being-sacked Mourinho!

Emery in Aubalaca wonderland
Emery in Aubalaca wonderland

Not once Emery blamed our players for defeats. He even said he makes changes and sometimes it doesn’t work as expected. If our players blame the manager then their attitude of getting paid and show little on the pitch must be discussed as well. They failed under Wenger and are failing under Emery. It tells a lot about them. Wenger gave a recent interview where he said before players like Ian Wright used to get mad at themselves after a bad game and were determined to make up for that the following match. What we are seeing now is defence blaming attackers. OuIf you are good for Burnley and are playing for Arsenal, That’s what happens.

Dobby the house elf
Dobby the house elf

Or they’re blaming the fact a 100 million and 50 million pound striker lost easy balls and misplaced simple 5 yard passes the other day. Not everything is some grand conspiracy.

p0lowww
p0lowww

He says it right here: “It is not about the two shots on target”. Clearly the issue he’s talking about is not the 2 strikers but the missing link between them and the rest of the team.

Dobby the house elf
Dobby the house elf

He’s saying it’s not about the lack of shots, it’s about us failing to complete the pass that leads of them. Strikers aren’t just there to finish, they were also culpable. Several players were guilty of poor final balls when the chance was there.

Ckot
Ckot

Actually, I think Aubameyang is there just to make shots.

Deano

I don’t he is losing the dressing room, they don’t look like they have downed tools. They just looked a bit lost.

SharpasFc
SharpasFc

No way is he losing the dressing room and if that’s the case then the players are an absolute disgrace. Ramsey is leaving and yet still giving his all. What an absolute slap in the face to the fans would it be if this was the case. Maybe the players are fed up because the highest paid player doesn’t play but still gets to do whatever he wants. Then there is the case of potentially no new transfers. Clearly we can all see that this team needs new blood but how are the players supposed to believe in the manager if the board won’t give him the funds he needs?
And then there is the issue that maybe the pressure of trying to make top 4 is actually starting to get to some. At the start of the season it felt like there was a bit more character in the team but there wasn’t much of that on show on Saturday.

Dave
Dave

There’s different ways of losing a dressing room though. I don’t think they’ve downed tools, but in professional football I think even the slightest doubt on a managers decision making can cause an issue with performances.

My worry is that the players are seeing the Ozil situation and, like us fans, it’s leaving them doubt Emery’s credentials to manage a team like Arsenal. I fear this can unconsciously cause a drop in performance of they’re not 100% buying in anymore.

SharpasFc
SharpasFc

All the Ozil situation suggests to me is that the club has been badly run for years and now they are expecting the new man to do their dirty work and get rid of the £350k elephant in the room!

Fuhgedaboudit
Fuhgedaboudit

The first thing that came to my mind was he was at least indirectly referring to the Ozil and Ramsey situation. Could Emery be the caretaker until Mikel Arteta is ready. Maybe in two or three years.

SharpasFc
SharpasFc

More like Freddie, although I will admit that’s probably just a fantasy of mine getting out of hand lol. TBF to Arteta though I do think he still cares about this club…I re-watched the Man City game again the other day, and when they scored their second goal against us the camera panned to him and Guardiola and Mikel looked as though he was going to burst into tears.

clins
clins

I for one was with emery for not including ozil until he plays like emery wants.But the match against west ham was mostly a problem of the system and emery. For too many games now we are relying on combination of iwobi and kola to create chances. They are remarkable players and probably the combination who creates most chances for the team. But yesterday they were found wanting. Westham put three or four players to stop arsenal from creating chances from wings. And it worked, we couldnt create decent chances. What we needed at the time was one player who could create from the middle of the field like ramsey or dare i say ozil. but emery kept ramsey at bench because of his transfer to juventus and if emery continues his beef with ozil we dont have a lot of options after that. If emery would’ve played ramsey from the beginning or atleast from the second half onwards maybe the result would’ve been different.

SharpasFc
SharpasFc

Ramsey going to Juventus had nothing to do with when Emery brought him on. But I agree that he probably got it wrong Saturday. Even though the team that started on Saturday was the team that beat Fulham the week before, for once not sticking to the same lineup would have made more sense. Torreira would have helped Xhaka in midfield. Xhaka seemed to have his mind on something and was pretty useless. Elneny would have made more impact. Anyway, the idea that we don’t create chances is clearly false. However what we are now starting to be poor at is converting chances. I love Laca and Auba, but both were not up to par. Auba’s misses are starting to be a bit embarrassing too. If he converted only a third of the chances he misses he would be out on his own in the golden boot race.

As for the Ozil situation I hope it does sort itself out soon. I don’t think he is necessarily the solution to our problems because his form for the past couple of seasons has been pretty poor and we definitely aren’t getting our money’s worth.

Emery in Aubalaca wonderland
Emery in Aubalaca wonderland

I am damn fed up with the Ozil debate. The team sunk under Wenger with Ozil playing all the time. Ozil couldn’t have changed much about the bad results we’ve got cause he rarely did. He is by no means a match winner. You pay that much to a player to have to adapt your tactics to the detriment of the team for him to give two great passes. Real won three CL in a row and la Liga after they sold him. Yes Real is full of world-class players and we are not but we can manage to do without him.

crispen
crispen

well by the evidence in the gmes we DO need Ozil’s creativity.
Can we kindly get rid of Emery….Is it a coincidence that he had problems with the star players at PSG?? Maybe not.

Mpls
Mpls

“We try to use players in the best way and give them the position where they can shine.”

-Jurgen Klopp

SharpasFc
SharpasFc

The number of downvotes shows how divided our fan base is when it comes to Ozil. Personally I have nothing against him. I recognise that he is an exceptionally talented player. However for the style that Emery wants to play it’s clear that Ozil doesn’t really fit in. I saw someone complaining, probably on Twitter, that Emery wants to fill the team with work horses rather than flair players. I disagree that he doesn’t want flair players, but I think he wants players who are prepared to put a shift in and go all out for the team and surely you can do that and still have flair?

Emery’s job is on the line so I’m sure he’s not going to cut off his nose to spite his face. Also if he goes all his staff will go too. He doesn’t seem like someone who is that cavalier. I’m pretty sure he wants the best for the club, the team and the fans. I haven’t always agreed with his decisions. Playing players out of position for example never really works and in reality he should have played guys who can play in that position even if they might not be first team quality…I’m pretty sure the results for some of those games couldn’t have been worse.

So my position is I’m backing the manager, but ultimately I am backing The Arsenal…the only thing that really matters.

Gooner de Tijuana
Gooner de Tijuana

Can you please inform me what style Emery wants the team to play because I can’t seem to figure it out. The scary thing is that it appears neither can the players.

Ashburton Grove
Ashburton Grove

Nonsense. Arsene never lost the dressing room. He may not have got the results in the last year or so but the team never stopped playing for him.

jon

He’s talking about the “last pass”, normally coming from midfield or full backs. Midfield was overrun on Sunday.

Futsboller
Futsboller

Exactly. Get away from this 3-4-3 garbage and get back for some version of 4-4-2 / 4-3-3 / 4-2-3-1. It means putting another midfielder out there and subtracting one of the 5 defenders; the midfield is where the control lies. While Ramsey is with us, get him out there to the right of Torreira with Xhaka to the left, and control the game. We need to start winning games in the first half, and then securing that win in the second half (add your extra defender then), rather than chasing every game from the kickoff.

Part of Emery’s job is getting the best out of his players, and though we’ve seen glimpses of that this season there has, once again, been no consistency. We are working harder as a team, and that is good, but Emery could give the squad a big boost by setting them up to capitalize on what they do best.

jon

I agree that the team puts in the effort, unlike in some of the late games under Wenger, when they simply did not look very engaged.

Emery in Aubalaca wonderland
Emery in Aubalaca wonderland

Three players in center midfield does not mean they do not lose the ball or give bad passes all the time.

Futsboller
Futsboller

Of course not, but the extra body in there gives another immediate outlet when we’ve got the ball and maintains our defensive posture when we do not. Ramsey can run all day long and cover a lot of ground; he can transition from holding to attack in a heartbeat. Slot him in alongside Torreira (play him deeper and conserve his energy for breaking up attacks — like he did against Liverpool the first game) and Xhaka (more stationary than Ramsey, obviously, but that left foot opens doors swiftly) for now, until he leaves, and establish a midfield platform that can help the team control the game from kickoff. When he’s gone, either bring in a replacement or give further chances to Guendouzi or Maitland-Niles. When we feel like we can more free to attack at home, the two midfield positions flanking Torreira can be remodelled into attacking ones.

Mistakes happen to every team, but Emery has to do a better job getting us setup in such a way that we minimize them and their impact.

Martin Murray
Martin Murray

Pot calling the kettle black, they are too used to our attack bailing them out, when is the last time they could say our defense won us a game? All out defenders are replaceable

Jim
Jim

Amen

Bob's Mexican Cousin
Bob's Mexican Cousin

They’d help their case with a clean sheet now and then.

Irrational Gunner

Especially with the lineup we went with to start on Saturday.

Kinghenrythe14th
Kinghenrythe14th

If only we had a player like Ozil whose specialty is laying that last past…

Alex
Alex

Tactics, Papa, tactics…

Kingsley
Kingsley

If only we had a player that was known for supplying a load of assists……

Wait. We do!

Enough of the “Ozil doesn’t fir the system” shit and get the man in the team. At the beginning of the season, he was scoring more than usual and looked happy too. Where did it all go so horribly wrong?

Bergkamp 3:16
Bergkamp 3:16

The 2-2 draw at Palace springs to mind. His disappointment at being subbed was treated as a show of passion and was dare I say welcomed by a few at the time given that he doesn’t ‘show enuff passhuun’ at but in retrospect I can’t help but think that that was where it all started to go a bit pete tong.

Alex
Alex

Bournemouth. It started at Bournemouth with Özil as an used sub. And a new tactic that has never proved to be better than the one that gave us the 22 unbeaten run.
UE loves to defy the “stars”. He did it with Neymar in PSG, but failed in front of the Qatar owners. He did it then to Ben Arfa who didn’t play one year long. Now it’s Özil. He can’t seriously pretend this is the same whether he is on the pitch or not. And he can make down a faithful player to the club just for the sake of showing he is the boss.

Dobby the house elf
Dobby the house elf

Ozil has one assist this season

loose_cannon
loose_cannon

True, though Ramsey has 6 assists and he didn’t start either. I’m not here to defend Ozil, frankly he’s been below average for the last couple of years and especially since he signed that contract. But the team clearly lacked creativity and we know he can bring that on his day.

The_Golden_Wrigglesworth
The_Golden_Wrigglesworth

Fair point. However, Ozil is averaging 2.1 key passes p/90 minutes in the league this season (same as Ramsey), so he has been creating a similar number of chances even if his assist tally is low. More importantly, though, Ozil is currently in his worst run of form ever for Arsenal, has seemingly either fallen out with Emery or been frozen out of the squad (or both), and yet he is still tied with Ramsey as our most productive player when it comes to chance creation this season (in spite of being way down on his EPL career average of 3.47 key passes p/90). That’s a pretty fucked up situation.

If Ozil at his worst ever is still creating as many chances as our other most productive players this season (for further comparison 2.1 KP90 vs Ramsey’s 2.1 KP90, Kolasinac’s 1.8 KP90, Mkhitaryan’s 1.7 KP90, & Iwobi’s 1.4 KP90), what does that say about the way Emery is setting up the team offensively, his selection choices, & the way he is trying to utilize the creative abilities of the different players at his disposal? (Note also that, as 7amKickOff, Scott Willis, & others have pointed out, under Emery this season the team is creating significantly fewer shots than under Wenger – 12.6 p/game vs +/- 15 shots p/game during AW’s managerial reign).

Finally, if Emery wants to drop Ozil because he doesn’t fit the new playing style (whatever it is) or has a bad attitude or is not performing in training or whatever, that’s fair enough. After all, he has another attacking midfielder who runs & tackles more than Ozil, who is in the best creative form of his career (2.1 KP90 vs career EPL average of 1.63 KP90), & who has been fit & available pretty much all season (apart from the minor ankle sprain). But wait. It seems UE doesn’t want to start Ramsey regularly either… Bergkamp wept.

Swissarse
Swissarse

Let hin Play, you cannot get in Form while Not playing

Kingsley
Kingsley

He’s made key passes that don’t count as assists but are just as important though. The one that looked impossible to set up Kolasinac springs to mind. He’s also scored 4 and makes our passing better.

Mpls
Mpls

How many times has he been shunted to the right or not on the pitch at all? How have the instructions he’s being given and the tactics of the match been detrimental to what he brings to the pitch? A number isolated like that means very little.

Hey, maybe Ozil just doesn’t fit Emery’s system. But if there is no room for a creative in Emery’s system, I am a bit concerned for beautiful football.

I’m sure Emery has some ideas to go forward, probably with new and different players making the team ‘his’, fitting his vision of play. I’m confused about what that is at the moment, but is that coaching or is it the chess pieces?.

He probably sees Ozil as a transfer / wages piggy bank. Keep in mind, he’s hardly the first coach who would look at it like that. Ozil is after all locking up a lot of FFP headroom temporarily. The question I have about the whole deal is what the ownership thinks about what’s going on. But, yeah.

In the meanwhile it sure would be nice if we had a creative player on the pitch. At all times. Except maybe when we’re 3-0 up this weekend in the last 5 minutes of the match, perhaps. Heh.

Gutbukkit Deffrolla
Gutbukkit Deffrolla

The “Ownership” doesn’t have any interest in the details, just the profit/loss figures. Cash cow generating cash = Everything is fine.

Naked cygan
Naked cygan

Totally agree with you, but what would you say if Ozil started and we still played shit and lost? Then who do we blame? Ozil again?
Our we have problems in every department that needs fixing, on and off the feild.

Gutbukkit Deffrolla
Gutbukkit Deffrolla

“we have problems in every department that needs fixing, on and off the feild”.

That’s what happens to a team that is run as a business rather than as a team.

On field performance is about as interesting to Stan as the colour of the strings on the Tetley Tea bags are to the shareholders of Tata Global Beverages.

Mpls
Mpls

At least we’d get some clarity, I suppose.

Over the last number of matches though, I don’t think we’ve had any improvement in the ‘defending from the front’ department, so if that doesn’t improve we might as well use our resources and see if we get our chance creation back and focus on locking down or deep mids and defense.

yen
yen

2 season-defining weeks ahead of us. Win those games and you turn the mood around in an instant.

Let’s try not to be too clever. Play our best players. Play Özil, Ramsey, Torreira, Bellerin. Loaning Messi would certainly help too.

Dobby the house elf
Dobby the house elf

Playing Ramsey and Ozil did not work last season. Why now?

Gutbukkit Deffrolla
Gutbukkit Deffrolla

Because for the last few games we have been hitting a brick wall between our defence and our goalscorers. Our opponents have learned to stifle our midfield to stop us getting the ball to our strikers. Ramsey can deal with that. Ozil was scoring at the start of the season, so he was operating OK as an attacking midfielder at that stage, yet Emery still essentially abandoned him. I get the felling that Emery decides who is worth playing on the basis of their speed. He likes a player who runs around a lot.

West Ham knew that if they stop our midfield from playing that final ball to the strikers then the strikers are neutralised. Flood the midfield and stop AMN and Kolasinac’s runs up the wing and you emasculate the Arsenal team. Everybody is doing that to us now.

Every time we bring on Ramsey now our game improves in the final third. This is not a coincidence. He has skills ideally suited to punch through dense defences. We don’t have anybody else who can do that as effectively as him. Ozil has skills that can have the same effect, but with more precision (perhaps) and less powerhouse running. We need more brains and more trickery in midfield, but we aren’t using the players who have that.

Ya gooner
Ya gooner

Our most creative player isn’t even on the bench. If you let top players like ozil play with freedom that is when they create and perform at their best. Tkme to start keeping it simple and building off that

Dobby the house elf
Dobby the house elf

That’s what Wenger did and it got him fired. Isn’t doing the same thing and expecting different results the definition of madness?

DB10s Air Miles
DB10s Air Miles

Because the alternative seems to be working much better….

crispen
crispen

Have you seen what freeing up a certain lazy player called Pogba is doing in Manchester??

Dobby the house elf
Dobby the house elf

You might not like to admit it but Pogba > Ozil all day.

Mpls
Mpls

Wenger did it without Torreira and with much less convincing defense and gameplan, or plan for greater tactical improvements. Playing Ozil and attackers isn’t what got him fired, come on.

Dobby the house elf
Dobby the house elf

Love the revisionism. Of course it did. Wenger played Ozil and Ramsey routinely and we paid the price for it often, of course it got him fired because it didn’t produce the results. Every manager, pundit and opposition fan seems to get that Ozil is a problem in the current arsenal team except for a subset of arsenal fans who are clearly in denial

Mpls
Mpls

Revisionism my ass. Shoot me when I start siding with pundits. Nice attempt at twisting what was written by the way.

Ramsey and Ozil are Oil and Water. We know that. That’s an entirely different story from saying playing Ozil is what got him fired.

Nice try.

The team performances were poor then for the same reasons they’re poor much of the time now. Defense and organization. Xhaka and Torreira give much more stability to the back mid and defensive organization. Wenger never had that. And he never tried to get it, and never tried to really fix the defense.

We had no foundation for the attack, leaving it all an unbalanced mess with people (It would be redundant of me to point fingers) blaming Ozil for the entire team being unbalanced and unstable. Wenger didn’t seem to have a plan to fix that.

THAT is what brought the Wenger era to an end.

Trying to pin the entire downfall on Ozil is just an exhibition of hateful blaming.

Frank Bascombe
Frank Bascombe

Dobby the house elf, well said. In all instances to be honest.

loose_cannon
loose_cannon

Emery should have played Ozil yesterday, that much is clear but in the long term he has three problems to solve.

The first problem is that if Ozil needs “freedom” to play, he wouldn’t get nearly as much “freedom” at any other top clubs and wouldn’t fit into their systems. Everyone now either expects their creative players to do more defensively (KdB, Silva (x2), Firmino) and/or they expect more goals (Hazard, Pogba, Alli, Erikson). Pure 10s, players with negligble goal scoring and defensive responsibilities, are dying out. If we are to improve on the last couple of years of mediocrity, how does Emery fit him into his system?

And second problem is that Ozil had plenty of freedom last season and didn’t do much with it. He’s been less than average in 2018 and a long way off his best for some time now. Can you build your team around player when even his agent admits he’s under-performing?

And finally, if were to sell him, who would buy him? In addition to the above, he’s 30 and on 350k a week! No one came in for him when he had 6 months to go on his contract, why would they now?

Mpls
Mpls

He’s got 4 goals and 2 assists in 16 appearances all told this season. Ramsey has 3 goals and 7 assists in 26 appearances all told. That looks pretty even pace to me. Easy to see Ozil in 10 more appearances being directly involved in at least 4 more goals.

Maybe they’re both bang average this season. Alli has 6G 4A in 24, Erikssen has 6G 9A in 27. Kevin de Bruyne has 3 goals, 2 assists in 11 appearances. So he’s not far above average, it seems.

Maybe they’re both in poor form. Maybe there’s some kind of a difference in playing style and strategy that is resulting in some of our creatives having less creative impact.

There are so many moving parts to the puzzle that just pulling stats or isolating one player’s performance without taking the whole field dynamic into account doesn’t tell the story.

But I know one thing for sure, not playing sure will do damage to the stats.

loose_cannon
loose_cannon

“He’s got 4 goals and 2 assists in 16 appearances all told this season. Ramsey has 3 goals and 7 assists in 26 appearances all told. That looks pretty even pace to me. Easy to see Ozil in 10 more appearances being directly involved in at least 4 more goals.”

Of course, when it comes to such a limited amount of appearances, stats can be deceiving. For example, Ozil actually still has more minutes in the league than Ramsey.

“Alli has 6G 4A in 24, Erikssen has 6G 9A in 27. Kevin de Bruyne has 3 goals, 2 assists in 11 appearances. So he’s not far above average, it seems.”

KdB has had a long term injury and isn’t getting many minutes either. Eriksen also doubled Ozil’s goal tally in the league last season and Alli has more then doubled it over the last two seasons.

“There are so many moving parts to the puzzle that just pulling stats or isolating one player’s performance without taking the whole field dynamic into account doesn’t tell the story.”

This is an important point. Alli and Erikson have more of a defensive responsibility then Ozil in general but especially this season it seems, to allow for Son and Moura to attack more. KdB also tends to sit deeper and Ramsey also does more defensively than Ozil.

Now none of this is to say that player A or B is better, but to illustrate what is demanded from modern creative players. People here are criticizing Emery but I have a hard time seeing how Pep, Klopp or Poch would utilize a player like Ozil the way he’s played over the last couple of seasons.

Irrational Gunner

These are good posts because they don’t include the wage argument.

Emery seems to be all about balance both with and without the ball, and he does not see it from Ozil. Per some of his conversations, nor does he believe that Ozil is needed for scoring. So that begs the question of when will we see Ozil play? My take is only when Emery believes he is not a defensive liability against certain teams.

Mpls
Mpls

Some more minutes in the league, but those G and A stats are for ALL appearances, for which Ramsey has more minutes, way more appearances, and most of which were late game pushes where we are on the front foot and score most of our goals irrespective of which / either of them is on the pitch.

Ozil, on the other hand, is frequently yanked for that period of the match, as is Lacazette – who also has lower return probably in part because of not taking part in the most productive part of the match.

Erickson had more goals, as did Alli, but he smoked both of them – and everyone else in the league – past seasons in assists and chances created.

Yeah, he’s not doing well this season. Neither is Ramsey – hell, none of our creative players are. Ozil is not solely responsible for the entire downfall of the Arsenal. He’s not adapting to Emery, Emery isn’t adapting to any creative players.

So what does that mean for our football going forward?

We’ve been shit the last several matches and Ozil has not been there to blame for it. So now he’s to blame for everything else, apparently. Because he’s got to be blamed for something, right?

Irrational Gunner

Hate to say, but I think long run, Ozil has pretty much been written off by the manager. It’s just the fans that are lagging behind! I don’t mean to sound frivolous about the issue, but whether or not Ozil remains a Gunner really depends on Emery succeeding at winning something, and that specifically means winning the Europa League( which what it looks like he was hired to do.) One thing, Ozil’s contract is longer than Emery’s from what I hear, and, no matter the crying, Emery will be a lot easier to run off than Ozil’s contract!

I became a fan of Arsenal because of DB10, so attacking football is all I know from this team.I love them for that, so for sure, I would rather go down flaming than eating the horseshit that was served up last Saturday.

loose_cannon
loose_cannon

@ Mpls, I’ll be frank, I think you’re specifically picking stats to try and make Ozil look better than he’s actually been. I’m only looking at league games because obviously the Europa and League cup teams we’ve faced have been of questionable quality, as have the line ups we’ve put out.

And trying to pick apart what minute someone was on or off the pitch is grasping at straws as well imo, especially as Ozil has not only had more minutes but has also sat out of some of our toughest games.

“Erickson had more goals, as did Alli, but he smoked both of them – and everyone else in the league – past seasons in assists and chances created.”

But this is why I really wanted to reply to you; even a cursory glance at the numbers shows this to be patently wrong. I’ll just put the numbers up from premierleague.com/stats.

2017/2018

Big Chances Created
1. Kdb – 19
2. Alli – 16
4. Eriksen – 15
8. Ozil – 13

Assists
1. KdB – 16
5. Alli – 10
5. Eriksen – 10
11. Ozil – 8

2016/2017

Big Chances Created
1. Kdb – 24
2. Eriksen – 16
9. Ozil – 9 (Joint with Chamberlain! Sanchez also had 10)
Alli not in the top 20

Assists
1.KdB – 18
2. Eriksen – 15
6. Ozil – 9 (One behind Sanchez)
12. Alli – 7 (Joint with Chamberlain!)

You actually have to go all the way back to 2015/2016 to find a time where Ozil has “smoked” anyone, with 19 assists and 28 big chances created. He’s not in the top 20 of either list for 2014/2015, I think he missed a chunk of that season with injury. And in his first season he was fifth for assists and not in the top 20 for big chances created. So, if you wanted to be particularly unkind, you could say Ozil has been living off that spectacular 2015/2016 season as he’s not come close to reaching those heights again.

Agree that Ozil isn’t solely to blame for Arsenal’s current issues but he’s also not the answer to all of our problems like many have been trying to make out here. There’s also a section of fans who are so defensive of him that they fail to be objective of his performances or stats *hint* *hint* 😉 .

I think he should have played against West Ham, our starting line up was badly lacking in quality, but Emery is well within his rights to look for alternative solutions and ask for more from his players.

Irrational Gunner

Good post, as it develops/supports the real question about Mesut. Can he get back to even last years achievements? I hope he can get back in the squad and shine, but he seems to really be seen as an alternate, and not an answer to any attacking problems we may have. Ultimately, Mesut is a finesse player, playing in a predominantly power league for a coach that can not fit his talents to his tactics.

Mpls
Mpls

It’s not about being defensive of Ozil for the sake of being defensive of him. It’s about the scapegoating that you know very well he gets. And never once did I claim he’s the answer to our problems. In fact, he’s not. It’s the opposite – solve our real problems, and the Ozils and Aubamayangs can thrive.

As was the entire main premise of my earlier statements, a player’s stats cannot be isolated one way or another to tell the story. Tottenham and City were well above us both of the years you use stats for above. If we’re getting our asses handed to us throughout the season, never in control of matches – which we all know the last two seasons we seldom were – and always under pressure then yeah, our chance creation is going to suck. And it did, by Arsenal standards. So did finishing.

The whole field dynamic. How may assists and chances created is a mid-table team going to get compared to top 3? That’s the shitty reality of our position right now.

I believe poor defensive performance and lack of midfield control are killing us and have been for several years. Without that platform, we don’t get the control and attack opportunities that an attacking lineup like ours is entirely capable of making good on.

Again, Ozil may not fit Emery’s system. Emery doesn’t seem to think he does. Apparently Aaron didn’t against West Ham either. Of course he’s got a right to ask more. He’s also got a right to shoot himself in the foot.

Ozil gets pegged as lazy. He’s not very physical, and that could be better for sure. But that doesn’t equal lazy.

I’m not here to defend Ozil at all costs. He’s flawed like any other player. But I do like to respond to opinions I think are ill placed.

“Ozil had plenty of freedom last season and didn’t do much with it. He’s been less than average in 2018 and a long way off his best for some time now. Can you build your team around player when even his agent admits he’s under-performing?” is what you said.

That ignores the condition of the entire squad around him. Everything about the club was less than average and way off best. Doesn’t matter what any one player does if the rest is shit.

Chairman Galant
Chairman Galant

The problem of Arsenal is the coach, pure and simple. Emery does not have a definite pattern of play .He does not have or he don’t know his first eleven. And more importantly, he is too sentimental. He wants to use the players that he brought to the team. Imagine using that small boy Guendozi ahead of more established midfielders. The defense needs to be reshuffled, the midfield is shit as it is now, and our attack is in confusion. If we continue to play like we did against West Ham ,then we should forget about top four for now.

Kingsley
Kingsley

Who is this more established midfielder? Ramsey who’s leaving or Torreira who has looked like he needs a little rest? Perhaps Xhaka who gave up the goal?

crispen
crispen

Niles who he won’t play in that position… Clearly a better player than the young Guen…

Alex
Alex

Was the same in Paris with media, specialists and players wondering what system he wanted. The guy has never coached a team more than 3 years (Sevilla). Giving him time? NO, he’s got a two years contract.

GraeB
GraeB

Slightly concerning, this defence v attack outburst this week.

Certainly our attackers could easily point to the impact of silly goals given way by the 8 defenders leaving the 3 of them to do all the scoring recovery work.

Chamackhyungpark
Chamackhyungpark

It’s almost as if we needed one of the best creative midfielders in the world on the pitch

Laca-Sead
Laca-Sead

Mikhi is not far back. Thanks to think about him. Also if we sell Ozil we might be able to add some real quality to the team.

Tas_Gunner
Tas_Gunner

Damn…ozil shagged your wife or something?

crispen
crispen

who is near Ozil quality and available??

Dobby the house elf
Dobby the house elf

Who has one assist this season and had about 4 last season? That one?

crispen
crispen

Since when does one and a half seasons define a player??

Make Arsenal Great Again
Make Arsenal Great Again

We have our arsenal back.

Ealing
Ealing

Since when half a season defines a manager

jon

I think Sokratis is underrated in this forum. He is currently our best central defender. He is much faster than Koscielny and Holding, he has a better tactical awareness than Mustafi and he tackles better than any of them.

Ya gooner
Ya gooner

Agreed, you don’t win bundesliga titles and get to champions league finals by being shit.

Dobby the house elf
Dobby the house elf

Explains why our defence fell apart when holding got injured

Futsboller
Futsboller

Agreed — he leads by example. I think partnering him with Koscielny and encouraging them to shout and cajole would do wonders for our overall organization at the back. Get Bellerin and Monreal back out there alongside these two, and while they can push forward when we’ve got the advantage to create something or sneak in behind, they need to be a locked-in-four-man unit that operates much more cohesively as a line.

Fatgooner
Fatgooner

It looks like the Ozil ship has already sailed. I’ll be amazed if Mesut is in the squad for the Chelsea game. Uni clearly has had enough of the German and won’t pick him. My guess is that he’ll be loaned out by the end of this window and a creative player signed to replace him.

Interesting weekend of football, wasn’t it? The most important result was Spuds getting beaten by United; that’s surely the end of their title bid. Actually, it would have been better for us if the scum won: now United are breathing right down our necks. But Spuds winning the PL would have been a nightmare. United were extremely lucky to get that win: Spuds should have scored 6 but were criminally wasteful in front of goal. I fancy our chances against the Red Devils in that FA Cup tie.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve given up on a top-four place. We will not finish above both the Chavs and United – no chance. Our best chances of glory are in the two cup competitions. Champions’ League qualification will probably depend on whether or not Emery can win yet another Europa League. And even that looks unlikely given our hopeless defending.

But we can only hope.

ViennaGooner
ViennaGooner

I would say, Kos and Sokratis are right for the day. On the other hand, we didn´t defend good for the West Ham Goal. And after their goal we played even worse than in the first half.

We gave away three simple goals for Soton for example. The defense is far more to blame, than the strikers. And you can also see that we have to play with a good DM. Torreira is good, but cannot play every game. We need a back up for him. We need a real back up for Bellerin. Monreal is injured too often and we lack a bit of quality without Holding at CB (I think we haven´t lost a game with Holding). So a lot to do.

Vonnie
Vonnie

You can’t keep blaming the defence when we have no midfield and the wingers are expected to be up with the strikers. Guendouzi runs around like a sheepdog after the ball, while I love his eagerness and like him as a player, he’s leaving holes behind him all the time, and the other midfielders aren’t closing them. How come it’s OK for a 19 year old to have a free rein and be unable to tackle, but not OK for a world class creator? When there’s wave after wave of attacks the defence will eventually fail, and it’s easy to blame the defence but I honestly think the problem is in midfield and the way the team is set up. At the moment the only creativity we have is the wingbacks, and everyone knows that, so they get them out of position, close them down and we are toothless. The strikers are always having to track back to help the defence and try to get the ball. There are no partnerships on the pitch because the coach chops and changes everything so they can’t develop. Our problem is a lot more than the defence.

Lord Bendnter
Lord Bendnter

I think we have a lack of (insert any and every football-related word)

Homer
Homer

“Strikers?” No that’s not it.
“A modern football structure?” No.
“A modern stadium?” Nope.

“Sensible fans who are NOT living the past and yammering on about long-ago greats like Bergkamp, Vieira, and Henry?”
BINGO.

Eternal Titi Berg Pat Nostalgia
Eternal Titi Berg Pat Nostalgia

A lack of players who can carry on the great history of the club.

Mark
Mark

We really have not had a very fluid style of play all season, yes we’ve had some nice goals with great passing, but in general we don’t have much fluidity to our possession in the attacking half and no players (other than Ozil really) that can make something happen out of nothing like all of the top teams do. So often over the years we’d lose a 1-0 match when we’d have so many scoring chances that we didn’t convert (either just missing or a hot gk stopping us) and would be in total control of the matches, but this year most matches seem pretty even and up until recently we had gotten results, but never really dominated the opponent as we should be. Hard to determine how much of this is Emery (which has been the knock on him) or the players we have, but until the management can figure out how to get some creative, game changing players in our midfield we are going to continue to be in tight matches against lower tier teams in the league and not be able to beat the top teams.

Irrational Gunner

One thing we have not done over the last year of transfers was replace someone with Santi’s attributes. Like others have pointed out, we do not have a player that can can stitch up the midfielder to our attackers. I think this one player, and he is not on the squad, would make a world of difference in our play going forward. Is that player available at this time?

Dobby the house elf
Dobby the house elf

We didn’t have a fluid style of football last year with this group of players either, to be fair

oneblackdude
oneblackdude

We were terrible away, but we were cutting up teams to pieces at home last season. The Tottenham, Liverpool and Leicester games aside, no Arsenal fan can mention three other games where we’ve been fluid and impressive for a large majority of the game.

Peter Story Teller
Peter Story Teller

The league table does not lie!
Enough goals are being scored but the defensive end leaks like a sieve!
It has been like that for a number of years now. The Wenger tactic was simply outscore the opposition and you win which is fine when you have competent defenders protected by players like Vieira, Gilberto, Parlour etc. but now we have a defence with no clue and neither have the midfield. Auba and Lacca need to score 50 each to make up for defensive deficiency. Even Messi or whoever would be lost at that rate!
Unfortunately, it is easy to blame the players but let’s face it I do not earn a fraction of even a mediocre Premier League player’s weekly salary in a year and yet I am expected to understand my job and be competent at it. These guys are professionals so should be able to carry out basic instructions from the coaching staff to stop this happening year in year out.
My conclusion is therefore, it is the backroom staff who are at fault for firstly populating a squad with dubious quality players and then not teaching them how to stop the ball ending up in our net several times per game! It ain’t rocket science!
Just a thought: Did the downturn in defensive structure coincide with the retirement of Mr Pat Rice?

John C
John C

Not only do we have no creativity not one of our attackers is able to keep the ball and all have terrible pass completion rates this season, so of course it puts unnecessary pressure on the defence.

As for the Ozil situation, he only played 26 league games last season, seemed to skip any away trip up north and has had major issues with the German national team so issues with him aren’t new or unique to Emery and i’d be inclined to think that Ozil is the problem not vice versa. The guys got a chip on his shoulder and giving him £350k a week has to be, even by our standards, a terrible piece of business.

Devlin
Devlin

Wow, issues with the national team? I wonder what he did cause those issues John.

A Different George
A Different George

Did he have issues with the national team or with the DFB and the Bayern mafia that control it?

John C
John C

As far as I can tell, he had issues with criticism

John C
John C

He cited ricism without providing evidence because he was unhappy with criticism, allegations his teammates say are unfounded.

It’s interesting that, to my knowledge, not one of his national team teammates has backed him.

santori
santori

I don’t think Ozil is the problem.

As Emery correctly says, even without Ozil, this team should beat A fragile West Ham with one of the worst defensive records this season.

Mpls
Mpls

Funny, his most vocal critics played like horseshit in that tournament. Kroos, Muller, way below their past standard. I don’t suppose maybe they would be passing the buck or toeing the line with the BM crowd (AKA the DFB) just to smooth the politics over, or perhaps might be a bit culturally intolerant themselves. Naah.

Truth is they ran away from the ostracizing Ozil was subjected to. Gutless.

John C
John C

I don’t know what ostracisim Ozil was subjected to other than (correctly) being criticised for posing with the highly controversial Erdogan in what can only be described as a pre-election propaganda picture in which Gundogan called Erdogan either “his or my President” despite being German, something for which Ozil didn’t distance himself.

2far4heaven
2far4heaven

Let make sokratis our new captain!!

Igor Stepanov
Igor Stepanov

Creativity in the middle of the park is what we missed on Saturday. Numerous times against West Ham we worked the ball to the final third/just outside the 18 yard box. Guendouzi trying to thread eye of the needle passes which were overhit (not blaming him but simply that’s not his game).

We need someone in the middle who can link the play. We looked better when Rambo and Torreira came on but still missing that creative spark.

Emery has to see the value in an Ozil type player who can unlock the door against defenses that will sit deep. If it’s not Ozil then…who?!

loose_cannon
loose_cannon

While we did lack creativity, I can’t help but feel Sokratis and Kosc are passing the buck a little. We’ve scored the joint 4th most amount of goals this season and have the joint 6th worst defence. And we haven’t kept a clean sheet for ages. And it’s not like we’ve seen Auba or Laca having a go at our backline!

santori
santori

Not really.

They have a point.

We know the defense has issues but in general we have been slack finishing off our chances for a while now.

Aubameyang for all this “world class” moniker some like to place on him was PISS POOR.

Lost the ball 6 or 7 times at least under little pressure.

World class, you create chances of your own.

We lack players who can engage and pull out defenders, beat them one on one.

BUT this has been an issue for over a year or more now and not something we can blame on Dick Law.

We did not buy Mahrez last January.

We are again pussy footing this window.

Without the sort of players mentioned, we have to pick our way through passing lanes.

The opponents who starve us off of those channels find it very easy to suffocate us.

Aubameyang cannot and does not do enough to fashion his own like say what RVP could do.

Some people need to have a reality check.

Futsboller
Futsboller

Mahrez is absurdly overrated and overpriced. He’s had one really good season and only City could really afford that kind of transfer. Auba, Laca, Iwobi, Ramsey, and Ozil have all shown that they can “beat a man” with a deft touch or dribble (Ozil can sit them right down, more than one at a time), and we’ve got exceptional passers of the ball throughout the team and a well-timed pass, when runs are spotted correctly, take out more than one man at a time.

Aubameyang is near the top of the scoring race this year for a reason, and his record since joining Arsenal is excellent and his record before that is exceptional. He knows how to take chances, and clever runs are as much fashioning his own chance as dribbling beyond a man. Emery needs to get another creative passer into the midfield mix and drop one of the three centrebacks to allow this team to control and create the chances that Auba and Laca will convert more often than not.

loose_cannon
loose_cannon

I don’t disagree with what you’ve written but it’s neither here nor there for me.

I just find it incredible that our defenders are effectively blaming our attackers for the defeat, and especially when our defensive record has been so atrocious this season. If nothing else it points to a lack of team spirit. The mentality needs to be “we win together and we lose together”, instead they’re pointing the finger at each other. Frankly, it’s disheartening.

Shark
Shark

Well….obviously it has nothing to do with the fact that we are paying one of the world’s leading playmakers to stay at home

Santori
Santori

We need to resolve exactly who we want in the creative end of things.

3 players perform the same function – Ozil, Ramsey and Mhkitaryan.

Of the 3, I’d be rid of Mhkitaryan.

but Ramsey has a contract running down. Yet the transfer team oddly won’t revisit it even as it transpires Juve are not offering him that much at 140K for 5 years.

If there should be any issue with Ozil, we should be revisiting on Ramsey who is a slightly younger player but also with Brexit issues, may be harder for us to find in market in future.

OTOH, Ozil for all the myth around his lack of industry can unlock defenses like West Ham. Particularly as they aren’t the most attacking team, it is a bit odd not to have him as the orchestrator behind the front two.

Up North
Up North

The team desperately needs the Ozil creativity, but also a high work rate from him. Look at Spurs- ManU yesterday in second half, C . Eriksen ran up and down the pitch and also created chances for his team-mates, Pogba on the other hand began to cheat and they were promtly overrun and outplayed in midfield. Without poor finishing and outstanding goalkeeping ManU should lost 3-1.
Our biggest problem is that we have few midfielders capable to cover up for MO. Torreira and Ramsey can do it, but not 90 min and match after match, the others like Xhaka doesn’t have the speed and workrate do do it. With Ramsey out we’ll be very exposed in midfield

santori
santori

Ramsey was largely dissapointing.

But some would prefer to imagine we were better when Torreira and Ramsey came on.

We were not.

We were just as blunt if not more particularly to last 20 minutes after their goal when we should have been throwing in the kitchen sink.

Instead there was NO sense of urgency.

Shark
Shark

Yeah it was like we were aiming for a draw. Disappointing

SharpasFc
SharpasFc

I disagree here. They did make a difference but definitely not as big as some people have tried to make out.

It is interesting though that our second half improvement in games seems to be a thing of the past now, and conceding almost from kick off was something very “last season”.

crispen
crispen

yes Pogba was tired and cheated at the end..but guess what Manure was 1-0 up because of him. Oh and as for should haves..Pogba should have had two goals. The reality is that he played and because of him Manure scored the one and only goal in the game…Ozil didnt play and we created sweet*&^%#@ all.

Lion
Lion

Whether is ozil or someone else we desperately need a creative midfielder / a proper number 10 …..i was keep on satin since last month .

santori
santori

Some people prefer to imagine that we have been buying well since Mslintat took charge.

The issue with us is we have been more than forgiving in attack.

Aubameyang was POOR.

But some people prefer to concentrate their ire on say Mustafi’s one sliding challenge neglecting two forward moves he made in first half that created good opportunities we spurned.

Auba must have lost possession without much pressure at least 6 or 7 times.

But no mention of this from some quarters.

They have their favorite players they prefer to stay mum on when these same players do not perform.

Considering our defense has been fragile, it was imperative on us to finish our chances.

we failed to do that, stamp our authority and instead invited West Ham (like Soton and BHA) to come into the game.

SharpasFc
SharpasFc

Voted you up because whilst I have mixed feelings about Mustafi, I totally agree that Auba has been pretty poor recently. I’ve already said elsewhere that some of his misses are now starting to be embarrassing as well as harmful for the outcome of our matches. Because of favoritism we are all failing to understand that this team needs major surgery. That isn’t going to happen any time soon though.

Santori
Santori

This is EXACTLY the problem with bias perceptions influencing necessary critical analysis.

Point in case again (over) reading into Mustafi and Granit substitutions

We made those switches because we did not get the balance right going forward.

BUT even with the changes, some people prefer to imagine things.

We did not get any better going forward, in fact we were PONDEROUS. 20 minutes to go and we were suffocated of passing lanes so we were passing back and forth in the defense.

Then we get those searching to find every niggly fault of Mustafi without recognising the good play he does and conveniently neglecting faults of certain other players.

Two of our best chances first half came from quick balls out from the back played by Mustafi.

WATCH THE MATCH AGAIN.

Instead certain people prefer to highlight the one mistimed tackle he made leading to a yellow which had it been say Sokratis would have been categorised as “Taking one for the team”.

Neglecting conveniently of course Sokratis has in recent games given away free kicks in dangerous areas.

Instead certain people prefer to delude themselves into thinking Koscielny was decent when he slowed our attack down consistently toward the end.

Instead people conveniently do not mention That Torreira has not been anywhere near where his standard should be for the last 4 or 5 matches now.

In general our play was too cautious and slow bc we lack the players who can take on opponents on their own, pull them out of position. The entire onus at the moment falls on Iwobi.

But this has been a problem for some time back.

Last January it was already evident that we needed a right sided wide player. I was calling for us to buy Mahrez who was want away at Leicester. Instead Mslintat conspired to lay us prey to one remaining bidder for Alexis and we were forced to take on Mhkitaryan.

Yet some people still prefer to think that the problems we have in the squad are because of the Ancien Regime when Mslintat had every opportunity to snag Mahrez a year ago or fix our defense last summer.

People prefer to be blinded by their own prejudice instead of making level headed analysis of what is actually going on. They prefer to find niggly faults in certain players instead of acknowledging we have been mediocre at best in transfer market with Mslintat and we have other issues other than Mustafi.

Gunner fan
Gunner fan

He should have just said we miss Ozil.

Kiran
Kiran

Injuries to Welbeck and Mikhi has seriously weakened our options to change the game from the bench, which to my mind makes the decision not to include Ozil in the match day squad even more of a head scratcher.

SharpasFc
SharpasFc

Ozil’s probably still on his honeymoon!

PGunner
PGunner

At least Arsenals pr machine have decent tactics, wheeling out one of the least shit players from Saturday to utter a few (albeit very justified) concerns. Would be great if we had a really creative player in the squad wouldn’t it.

WTF is going on
WTF is going on

I don’t care we have missed Rob Holding.
People are finally figuring out that Xhaka is a ticking time bomb. Kos is not the player he was, Sokratis and Holding have been our two best defenders this season. We now look so inept defensively.
And the Ozil thing is hurting Emery badly, lets face it Guendouzi is too light-weight for the EPL just spends too much time on the floor and he has been found out and has been targeted of late.

Merlin’s Panini
Merlin’s Panini

We haven’t looked right since the Southampton game. Fucking Southampton! It’s always them isn’t it?

SharpasFc
SharpasFc

Personally think it was long before that. The Crystal Palace game was a nightmare.

Santori
Santori

More talk on Ozil being sold.

Frankly if there is a buyer yes. BUT who would pay for him and his wages?

You’re better off flogging off Mhkitaryan and keeping Ramsey.

Then try and get rid of some peripherals not making useful contributions like Lichsteiner, Elneny and Jekninson.

Ray Smuckles
Ray Smuckles

If only we had a world class attacking player who can make that perfect last pass…

Knightly
Knightly

…And the only person offering creativity upfront is often slated on this forum.