Welcome to my Arsenal blog for the 2015/16 season; here you can check out my thoughts on the current goings on at the club.
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Monday, 22 September 2014

Arsenal return to form with win over Villa

Arsenal ended their run of four games without a win in all competitions on Saturday by defeating Aston Villa 3-0. After 3 draws in the League it was important to finally show our true colours as the Gunners put in an assured performance against an in form Villa side. Welbeck scored his first for the club whilst Ozil grabbed a goal before an own goal sealed the points. It was extremely pleasing to see the side playing with such freedom after a few sloppy performances, particularly that of Dortmund in the week. Arsenal made a few changes from the game against City as the side was rotated. Chambers came in for the injured Debuchy whilst Oxlade-Chamberlain and Cazorla replaced Sanchez and Wilshere respectively.
Danny Welbeck and Mesut Ozil's link-up play was very much a positive
Arsenal's goals came within minutes of each other as all three goals came in the space of about four minutes. It was incredibly encouraging to see us be clinical in front of goal and kill a game off sooner rather than later. The first two goals were both very aesthetically pleasing. Mesut Ozil's form has dropped dramatically over the last couple of months being stuck on the wing. However, on Saturday he reverted back to his favoured central position and he repaid the manager with a goal. Welbeck played the ball through to the German who comfortably slotted the ball past Guzan. Ozil was to then turn provider as he put the ball on a plate for Welbeck who tucked home his first goal in Arsenal colours from a couple of yards out. The third goal was all Villa's undoing though as Gibbs fired a ball across goal and Cissokho found his own net.

Arsenal's quick fire goals were a big positive and showed that when we play the right way we can be extremely efficient. Wenger left behind the 4-1-4-1 formation in favour of the old 4-2-3-1 which saw us have a lot more freedom in the final third of the pitch. Ozil being back in the centre added something to our game that we haven't seen all season. A lot more space and time was created as a result of the German and he made our play look a lot more fluid, a performance that saw him earn the man of the match award. Ozil's been criticised a lot this season but back in the formation we used so often last campaign, everything seemed to click more than it has done in 2014/15 so far.

The performances of Welbeck have been a bit of a mixed bundle since he arrived from Manchester United. He's had some brilliant chances in his first two games but failed to find the net. Therefore, it was very pleasing to see him finally score against Villa. Hopefully now he can kick on and start scoring on a regular basis!

The 3-0 win meanwhile signified our first clean-sheet of the season. Kieran Gibbs adds an extra solidity to the back four whilst Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny look to be finding their feet after slow starts to the season by their standards. Wojciech Szczesny didn't have a lot to do but that was made easier by the defensive line in front of him who looked very solid. Compared to Dortmund in the week, the performance especially of the defence, was a vast improvement.

I mentioned the need for the players to get the Dortmund result out of their system in my last report and that's exactly what they did. Improvements still need to be made in the middle of the pitch you feel, as particularly the performances of Aaron Ramsey have been a little below par this season. Ramsey scored in the Community Shield and against Palace and Everton but since then he seems to perhaps be over complicating things too much. He needs to look to play a much simpler game or we could see Wilshere starting over him within the next couple of weeks. Many may be worried about the Welshman's form considering the amount of goals he scored last season but I have every confidence in him to get back to his best.

Spurs await us in the first North London derby of the season next week but before that we face Southampton in the League Cup. A chance to rest a few of the big names and bring in a couple of youngsters perhaps.

The team's line-ups:

Aston Villa: Guzan, Hutton, Clark, Senderos, Cissokho, Sanchez(86), Cleverley, Delph, Richardson(77), Weimann(45), Agbonlahor. 
Subs: Given, Okore, Lowton, Westwood, Grealish(45), Bacuna(86), N'Zogbia(77).

Arsenal: Szczesny, Chambers, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Gibbs, Arteta, Ramsey(77), Cazorla, Ozil, Oxlade-Chamberlain(78), Welbeck(77).
Subs: Ospina, Coquelin, Diaby, Wilshere(77), Rosicky(78), Sanchez, Podolski(77).

My man of the match: Mesut Ozil.

Referee: Mike Jones.
Attendance: 40,013.

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