Magical Mesut Özil Seals All Three Points With Wonder Goal! (w/ Player Ratings)

What a finish to the game!

Arsenal went 2-0 down after only 15 minutes, and it looked like it would be a tough night for The Gunners. Arsene Wenger said Ludogorets would look to start strongly and so it proved, as they sucker punched Arsenal and we look shell shocked after the first part of the game.

Our defending looked suspect – for the first goal Ospina was found rooted to his line as Ludogorets sent in a freekick which was converted by Barbosa when really the Arsenal keeper should have come and claimed.

For their second, Kieran Gibbs (who was otherwise excellent) was left on his arse as Cafu’s cross found Keseru in the middle to tap in from close range.

Both goals avoidable and it seemed like the Arsenal of old were coming back to haunt us – that Arsenal who would be on a decent run but then switch off in a game they thought they would easily win and end up stupidly losing.

Fortunately, this season there seems to be some real steel and character amongst the ranks.

Only 5 minutes later Arsenal came up with the perfect response, as the majestic Mesut Özil sent in a cross – most likely intended for Giroud – ended up finding Granit Xhaka in the middle. The Swiss international swept the ball home with a cool finish to give Arsenal a way back into the game.

Aaron Ramsey, who struggled all night, sent in a cross just before half time which Olivier Giroud headed into the net to make things all square going into the break.

After that, there was a lot of sparring while both teams made some half chances.

But then, something magical happened.

On 87 minutes, Arsenal substitute Mohamed Elneny sent through Mesut Özil with a wonderful pass. The German genius saw the Ludogorets keeper fly out and without breaking a sweat flicked the ball over him. Two defenders proceeded to try and stop the midfield maestro but he put them both on their arses as he delivered a series of dummies which bamboozled the defenders and cooly slotted the ball home.

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Considering the game was level and a win was massively important, this goal is one of the best I’ve ever seen – and we’ve scored some wonderful goals. The confidence, ability and sheer audacity of the goal was ridiculous and I will (and have) watched the goal over and over again.

A goal of real beauty, deserving to win any football match.

Player Ratings:

David Ospina: 6/10
Struggled at times tonight and on another day, could have cost us dearly.

Carl Jenkinson: 7/10
Solid at the back and supported Ramsey whenever he could. Was a little rusty at times but played well and should be happy with his performance.

Laurent Koscielny: 8/10
Did well alongside Mustafi and looked to up the tempo whenever he could. Couldn’t be blamed for either goal and helped steady the ship once we went 2-0 down.

Shkodran Mustafi: 8/10
Another excellent performance from the German defender, Mustafi has settled well into the Arsenal team and didn’t make any mistakes tonight.

Kieran Gibbs: 8/10
Really taking advantage of Nacho Monreal’s absence and will give Arsene Wenger a real headache once the Spaniard returns. Linked up well with Sanchez on the left and never stopped running.

Francis Coquelin: 8/10
Our most composed midfielder on the night, Coquelin was excellent in keeping the ball moving and was solid in defence.

Granit Xhaka: 7/10
Had a mixed game, looking bright in spells but slightly uncomfortable in others. Took one for the team with his cynical booking (we need more of those) and took his goal really well.

Aaron Ramsey: 6/10
Only started his second game for Arsenal this season and it showed. Took too many touches on the ball which slowed down Arsenal’s tempo which frustrated players such as Özil and Sanchez. A good run out for the Welshman but not his best game.

Mesut Özil: 9/10
What can you say about this man. Mesut makes me happy, and I like being happy. Kept Arsenal moving forward and provided the assist from Xhaka’s vital goal in the first half. Was full of inventive passing and movement and then with 3 minutes of normal time remaining, scored THAT goal. If Messi had scored it, social media would be going mental right now.

Alexis Sanchez: 7/10
Made way for Olivier Giroud in the middle so was played on the left hand side. Did well at times, making things happen with his running and through balls but didn’t look great on the left. Arsene Wenger was probably hoping the Giroud-Alexis combination would have worked better.

Olivier Giroud: 7/10
Just back from injury, Giroud did well in spells and scored the equalising goal. 3 goals in 110 minutes is a good return and his form will be giving Arsene Wenger a real selection headache.

Gibbs & Giroud Give Wenger A Big Headache As Arsenal Show Great Mental Strength

Arsenal were the weekends early kick off and travelled to Sunderland for a game we were expected to win comfortably, and although it turned out like that in the end, it was far from straight forward.

Sunderland are one of those teams that always struggle and are always fighting against relegation. David Moyes is a manager I don’t rate and it seems as if he’s ran out of ideas at Sunderland. Arsenal would top the league for a few hours at least with a win, and for 60 minutes it looked like we were heading for a routine win. But Arsenal fans by now know that a routine win is never on the cards!

Alexis Sanchez scored the only goal of the first half – a fantastic diving header from an Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain cross. The first 45 minutes were what you would expect – Sunderland are lacking in any kind of confidence and were more than happy to sit back, keep the lines tight and suffocate Arsenal – keeping themselves in the game so they could nick a goal. Arsenal had plenty of possession but it was difficult to get through. We had a couple of decent openings, the best when Mesut Özil floated a beautiful ball over the top, only for Oxlade-Chamberlain to flash wide. You would have thought he would have done a bit better with the chance, considering his hot streak.

As it stood, we went into the half time break 1-0 up, and that’s always a dangerous scoreline.

The after the hour it all sparked into life. Alexis Sanchez was singled out for rough treatment all game and when his burst of pace saw him pass the Sunderland defender he was brought down. I didn’t need to see a replay of the incident as it was a stone wall penalty and I said so at the time. Replays did show it was a clear penalty but Martin Atkinson (who had a poor game) waved play on. I was still screaming at the television when suddenly down the other end a mistake by Mustafi lead to Arsenal conceding a penalty.

No arguments about the decision, and Petr Cech couldn’t have done anything about it after being put in a difficult situation. What we could feel aggrieved by though was the awful decision not to award Sanchez a penalty for a clear foul in the box moments earlier.

Jermaine Defoe stepped up and levelled the game. You had that sinking feeling that Arsenal had shot themselves in the foot once again and would be leaving the Stadium of Light win a point instead of all three. But then Arsene brought on Olivier Giroud.

Alexis Sanchez is Arsenal’s main striker this season and Arsene has opted to go with pace on either side, with Mesut Özil just in behind pulling the strings. It is a system that has worked really well this season, and wide options include Theo Walcott, Alex Iwobi and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (as well as Lucas Perez before his unfortunate injury). This has left Olivier Giroud out in the cold (even though he’s been injured) but he really stepped up this afternoon!

He scored with his first touch, a lovely sweeping finish with his left foot from a Kieran Gibbs cross and then 5 minutes later he scored a trademark header from a Mesut Özil corner.

That put Arsenal in the driving seat and then Alexis Sanchez put the icing on the cake with another, giving Arsenal a 4-1 win in the process.

It was an excellent introduction from Olivier Giroud, and his impact on the game will certainly give Arsene Wenger a big headache. Although it could be argued that Olivier Giroud is Arsenal’s perfect Plan B – something we haven’t had at our disposal in a long long time.

And finally a word on Kieran Gibbs, who was fantastic today. Obviously he lost his place to Nacho Monreal a while ago but he’s kept his head down, worked hard and never moaned once about it. Then when he gets his chance he’s put in two excellent performances. It was his brilliant cross that Olivier Giroud scored the goal which put Arsenal back into the lead – and what an important goal that was.

From what I’ve seen Kieran Gibbs is a completely nice, down-to-earth guy and he really is a role model to young professionals. And clearly Gibbs has given Arsene something else to think about!

Lucky Arsenal Stumble Past Swansea And To The Top Of The League

Arsenal are second in the Premier League this morning after a 3-2 win over Swansea City, level on points with Manchester City who drew with Everton yesterday.

But the match at The Emirates was a strange one.

Arsenal played well at times and for portions of the game we looked in complete control – but at others we looked like we were going to buckle under the slightest pressure.

Arsenal were leading 2-0 thanks to a double from Theo Walcott.

Then Granit Xhaka’s bad afternoon started when he somehow “fell over” and let Swansea back into the game.

After that Arsenal looked edgy and at 2-1 we looked like conceding the equaliser. Mesut Özil scored an absolute cracker to restore our 2 goal lead and when you thought we might actually be on the way to 3 points Modou Barrow’s (who was hugely impressive all game) crossed to make the game 3-2 and give us a nervy second half.

Granit Xhaka, who committed a professional foul on Barrow as Swansea were about to break on us received a very harsh red card and I’d tend to agree with Arsene Wenger when he said it was a “very dark yellow” at the most.

That meant we played 20 minutes plus added time with 10 men and in that time Swansea had about 4 chances to steal an equaliser – although “steal” would be unfair as Swansea attacked with intent and looked dangerous every time they went forward.

In the end, it would have ended 3-3 or 5-2 as Theo Walcott hit the post and missed a sitter at the death, but the bottom line was we took home the 3 points and reached the summit of the Premier League after 8 games.

So what do you think? Were we lucky? Is winning games like this a sign of champions? Or are Arsenal riding their luck? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below!

Tottenham Completely Bottle It And Were Lucky Against Arsenal!

Before the game, it was billed as the biggest North London Derby and the pressure on Arsenal to get something from the game was massive. With two poor performances against Manchester United and Swansea City, Arsenal were struggling badly and an in-form Tottenham Hotspur, at White Hart Lane, was the last thing we needed. They did lose to West Ham midweek but prior to that had won 6 Premier League games on the bounce – they were certainly the in-form team going into this match.

But what happened was Tottenham completely bottled it. Playing at home in front of their own supporters, they had the perfect chance to put the final nail in Arsenal’s coffin. And to make matters worse for Arsenal, they gave them a huge helping hand.

Arsenal looked solid for the most part in the first half and took the lead after some excellent play from Danny Welbeck and Hector Bellerin. The Spaniard’s cross found Ramsey inside the box and his back-heel goal was exquisite. Arsenal went into half time 1-0 up and we looked more than comfortable.

But then Tottenham had a ridiculously huge amount of luck as everything went for them and the sequence of events gave the home team the perfect opportunity to not only beat Arsenal but to knock their fiercest rivals out of the title race.

But fortunately for us, Tottenham do what they always do which is lose their bottle when it matters.

Already on a yellow card, Francis Coquelin dived in on Harry Kane and received a second yellow for a late challenge. No arguments about the sending off but it meant we had it all to do with 35 minutes left of the game to play.

Tottenham obviously pushed for a goal and a very very fortunately bounce from a corner found Alderwhatever and he had a tap in from close range.

With Arsenal heads down Tottenham had a perfect chance to kill the game off and a curling effort from Harry Kane put the home side 2-1 up. After that, it was hard to see how Arsenal would get back into this game – 2-1 down against Tottenham away from home, and with only 10 men.

It would have taken a miracle to get anything from this game.

Fortunately, Tottenham do what they do best and bottled it. Alexis Sanchez snatched a hugely important goal on 76 minutes and we had a golden chance to win it when Aaron Ramsey found himself through on goal with seconds remaining. But it wasn’t to be and to get a draw from such a dire situation that we found ourselves in was a huge result for Arsenal.

The positives we can take from this performance and result mean we can definitely overcome Tottenham in the league and see how close we can get to Leicester.

Tottenham on the other hand will have a lot of regrets from the game, ruing a fantastic chance to cement their title credentials and gain vital ground in the title race.

Are You Done With Arsenal Yet? Alexis Sanchez Almost Is

On Monday I said that I was officially done with Arsenal. After 27 years of supporting the greatest team that ever existed (to me obviously) I’d just had enough.

The performance on Sunday against a ridiculously under-strength Manchester United side was a disgrace of epic proportions, as Arsenal out Arsenal themselves and put in a timid and pathetic performance when 3 points was the minimum requirement.

We hadn’t won at Old Trafford since 2006 when Adebayor was played in by Cesc Fabregas for a late winner, and since then we’ve been pathetic.

At the weekend we lost to a Manchester United side ravaged by injuries to big players and managed by Louis van Gaal, and in the last two seasons it wasn’t much better. Last season we drew 1-1 at Old Trafford when Theo Walcott’s shot-cum-cross was deflected in for the equaliser and the season before that we lost 1-0 to a Manchester United side managed by David Moyes.

Fast forward to last night, and what happened?

We lost AT HOME to Swansea City, who are in a relegation battle and had troubles of their own – with their own manager in hospital. However, they still managed to turn us over.

The performances have been awful of late (ever since 2016 started in all honestly) and there has been no fight, desire or hunger from the players – and that all comes from the manager Arsene Wenger. Have the players stopped listening to his pointless rhetoric? Because it seems as if the players have lost faith in the manager, the same man who has failed to lead Arsenal to the Premier League title in 12 seasons.

Alexis Sanchez has come out and said Arsenal lack the hunger to be champions, and would you disagree?

“Sometimes we lack the mentality that we are already winning 1-0 when we go out on to the pitch.

“We lack this hunger to believe that we can be champions.

“If we go out onto to the pitch with hunger to become champions, to win the Premier League or the Champions League we can achieve it.

“I remember a game against Manchester United last year. The lads looked hungry for silverware as we took to the pitch.

“We crushed them in the first 20 minutes and went 3-0 up. We were hungry and brimming with confidence that day.”

He said this before the Manchester United game and what happened? We lost both games without showing any fight.

Arsenal are full of problems at the moment – they have a stubborn manager who is tactically inept, our main striker is a player who would struggle to get into most mid-table sides, never mind a title-challenging team, we have too many players like Walcott, Ramsey and Oxlade-Chamberlain who are just not good enough and are average at best, we persist with players like Gabriel who are useless when we have players like Chambers who is chomping at the big and put in an excellent performance against Leicester the other day – the problems are plentiful yet no-one is addressing the problems.

Is it time for Arsene Wenger to leave? I’ve been a big fan of Arsene and always believed that he has been the best option available to Arsenal Football Club, but for the first time in 21 years, I think my faith has disappeared.

Yet another season where we finish 4th (and it might be worse than that if we can’t get our act together).