Evening all. The dust may have settled on our brilliant win over Bayern Munich on Tuesday but the performance and result deserve a little more reflection I feel, so it’s handy a few of the players have been doing just that.
First up it’s Mesut Ozil who discussed the match, said he thought Arsenal were deserved victors and praised the support from the stands, telling Arsenal Player:
Firstly we’re very, very happy. To win against Bayern Munich is really hard and we knew that it would be a tough game but you could see during the match that we created a lot of opportunities, especially in the first half, when Manuel Neuer made some superb saves. But ultimately I think we deserved to win. They had more possession but we had the clearer chances and that’s why we’re really pleased to have got the three points today. We concentrated from the first minute until the last minute. We believed in ourselves and we knew that we had made massive mistakes in the first two games. Today was our last chance – we had to win. We did that and now we’re back in the game. We’re all the happier for that. We showed heart and the fans supported us superbly. The most important thing is the three points. We have to believe in ourselves, keep working hard and then we’ll be on a good path.
The German midfielder also discussed his personal form and his game-settling late goal against Bayern, saying:
I’m really satisfied with my performances. I’m on a good way, I feel at ease and you can see that the team and the manager give me their trust. [For my goal] I had a shot at goal and Manuel saved it brilliantly. After two or three seconds I saw that the referee was signalling a goal and I was relieved. It was clear that we had won the game at that point and I’m pleased with that.
That’s two goals and six assists for the former Real Madrid man in all competitions so far this season and after Arsene Wenger suggested his record signing had more goals in him, and could be a genuine contender for Player of the Year in England, Ozil’s made a quietly impressive start to his third season with the club.
But such is the magnitude of his talent, I’m still left feeling he can contribute even more. More goals, more assists and more games where he is the stand-out performer on the pitch. Of course, his laid-back style means he’s often wrongly perceived to not be putting in the hard yards, but a look at his distance covered stats soon dispels any notions of laziness. He works as hard as anybody, links the play, creates chance after chance and is now, alongside Santi Cazorla and Alexis Sanchez, one of the three most influential players in our starting selection.
Meanwhile, Theo Walcott gave his take on the Bayern game, highlighting patience as a key ingredient in securing the win and praising team-mate Petr Cech’s performance in goal, saying:
It was just one of those days when we had to be patient. We knew we were not going to have a lot of the ball and we had to go at them on the counter-attack. You can’t just chase them – if you chase the ball you just get passed around and you are going to lose so much energy. There is no need to do that. You just have to bide your time. Once they lose the ball they pressure quite quickly. If you can counteract that first pressure you have a chance. We were getting at them while we could and dropping back while we had to and obviously the goals came at great stages. Everyone did their jobs really well and I have to say Petr in goal was fantastic and made a number of very, very important saves. Everyone worked really hard and deserved it.
The bit about not over-exerting themselves by blindly chasing after Bayern shirts at every opportunity is interesting because there were times on Tuesday night when I was imploring Theo to do just that as the German’s casually knocked the ball between their defensive line. Now I realise it was a very deliberate conservation of energy which of course makes perfect sense. Shows what I know.
Finally, Laurent Koscielny, who added Robert Lewandowski’s name to a long list of the world’s most feared attackers he’s helped to keep from scoring against us, has also been speaking about the game, discussing collective defending and altering the team’s usual style-of-play. He told Arsenal Player:
Defensively we were together like a unit, we defended to help our team-mates and we played on the counter-attack. I think we were good and we had a lot of potential to score. Bayern hadn’t lost a game this season so it was very hard and tough for us but sometimes you need to play differently and everybody in front [of the defence] did their job well – it was very good and we need to keep this for the season. You can see the team were very focused in their defensive job and it is very important to keep this for the rest of the season because for the first two games of the Champions League we did not play very well. But here we saw a very good face of Arsenal and we need to keep this for the other games because I like I said before sometimes it is more difficult but you need to be stronger when you defend.
Right, time to turn our attentions back to the Premier League and Arsene provided an injury update earlier today which confirmed Aaron Ramsey would be out for a while with a hamstring tear, David Ospina will miss out this weekend with the shoulder injury he picked up on international duty, and the three long-termers, Danny Welbeck, Jack Wilshere and Tomas Rosicky, are still expected back around the New Year.