How those supporters who decided to abstain from attending this Europa league clash must have felt is anyone’s guess but the real Arsenal finally turned up and put on a sumptuous display against CSKA Moscow.
Calamitous at the back, creative in midfield and almost clinical up front, the North London club devoured the Russian side in style with Ramsey, Lacazette and the magical Mesut Ozil in mesmerising form.
There were scares, as is usual for the Gunners against any opposition, due extensively to a back line that didn’t appear to know right from left. They tried incredibly hard to put the opposition back on terms and succeeded when Koscielny tried to wear Golovin as a fashion accessory. This afforded CSKA an unnecessary free kick, which was beautifully executed by Golovin, leaving Cech in no man’s land.
Aaron Ramsey made his intentions clear from the whistle by forcing his way through the CSKA defence at will for every ball and you could almost hear the heavy breathing and pulses of the opposition back line.
The Welshman easily justified Mourinho’s alleged comments to the United hierarchy that Ramsey was better the Pogba because, on this form, he clearly is by some distance. There was so much to enjoy upfield that it was almost like a feast for the loyal supporters who have cringed on occasion during a difficult and unproductive season. A four-course meal of fabulous football which satisfied any appetite and left everyone content.
Ozil was instrumental in this win, he was everywhere and when anything seemed probable, the German made it possible. Slide rule passes, some short, some long, neat touches, layoffs, attacking forward play, it was all there as a reminder of his talent.
If he played like this every week, there’s a chance Arsenal would be in a position to claim every major piece of silverware but he needs support and that may come in the form of Henrik Mkhitaryan. Their awareness and understanding is developing and both can have a major influence on Arsenal next season.
Thank goodness Ozil resigned, he is probably the best in the Premiership for his unique vision and precision. Although he appears detached from time to time, his skills are as obvious as they are sublime. It’s just his languid style that irritates and infuriates but that’s the problem with genuine talent, it has to be measured against a degree of failure, no matter how small.
At this point, we could dissect the goals and run through how they were constructed but two of them are worth of noting in particular. Ramsey’s improvised flick from the heel of his right foot after 28 minutes, is something that comes along once in a blue moon. It was as astounding as Giroud’s scorpion kick against Palace and had shades of the great Dennis Bergkamp about it. Then there was Lacazette, back from injury and predatory in the box. The Frenchman was relishing the space and was found by Ozil 10 minutes from halftime.
He took, the briefest of touches before belting it low into the corner. How nice to see him confident and smiling again and if Wenger could only work out a way to put him in the same side as Aubameyang, the Sparks would fly. This was a great win, one to be savoured but Arsenal should tread with caution in Moscow. Koscielny needs to learn from his most recent mistake and tread extremely carefully if Arsenal are to finish the job and progress.
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