Arsenal only know how to play one way and in a way the game panned out how you would have expected – giving 110% going forward but leaving gaps at the back.
Arsenal gave everything going forward, with Jack Wilshere and Alexis Sanchez in particular lighting up The Emirates Stadium. Wilshere looks like a real player now after several seasons with in and out of the team and looks confident. And Sanchez, is fantastic going forward but gives Arsenal so much defensively as well, always tracking back and showing a phenomenal amount of energy.
But Mesut Özil again had a poor performance.
Once Arsenal went 2-1 up against Manchester City with 15 minutes to go, it was obvious that the visitors would be throwing everything forward and with our defensive frailties, you almost expected Arsenal to concede. And only a few minutes after Sanchez’s fantastic volley, Manchester City equalised.
We’ve conceded 4 headed goals already this season and from set-pieces we look vulnerable. We’ve been defensively sound over the last couple of seasons and you wonder if the absence of Kieran Gibbs (who is a better defender than Monreal) and Bacary Sagna (who we all know was very strong in the air) is a factor in all this.
Mathieu Debuchy is a very good defender but Bacary had an excellent jump and how many times did we see Szczesny aim goal kicks towards Bac during matches?
With 15 minutes to go and with Arsenal leading 2-1, Mesut Özil had to come off. He was poor during the game (with Wilshere and Ramsey doing most of the creating) and was completely outshines by Alexis Sanchez, who looks like a real star. Even Danny Welbeck put in a very good performance, and was unlucky not to put Arsenal in the lead when his chipped effort hit the post.
Once Sanchez’s effort flew past Joe Hart my very first thought was “Özil needs to come off now”. We were leading against the Premier League champions and that is something that needed to be protected. Defensively, Özil is a big liability and the bottom line is he is costing Arsenal football matches. He has talents but is badly out of form and when you’ve got a slender lead and have your backs against the wall, he’s not a player you can count on.
And before you get defensive and think I’m wrong, think about Jose Mourinho’s Real Madrid. Love him or hate him, he is a top class manager who wins trophies and even he, a manager who used to sing Özil’s praises time and time again, would substitute Özil towards the end of games, usually with 15 minutes to go. If you’ve got yourself into a winning position then you need to see it out.
There is no doubt that when he is on song, Özil is a good player but to leave him on when he is obviously struggling for form and we’ve got a lead to defend, it really beggars belief.
Arsene needs to have a major rethink and not feel obliged to leave on his record signing just because he arrived with a massive price tag.