Has Wenger found the Golden key to unlock Im’Pressing’ performances weekly?


Unusually, after a victory over one of the top 4 teams, we have been rejoicing in the superlatives being showered on Arsenal and it is even sweeter that the vanquished team was the Spuds. The cockerel from The Seven Sisters Road has been silenced for a while and left once again to sit and stare at their empty trophy cabinet in gloom.

I have read all of the excellent articles on Gunners Town and the one by Dave Seager relating to the impact of Mustafi at CB, particularly interested me. I have been criticising Mustafi lately and as recently as two days before the City game I suggested that as a right sided CB he was too prone to rampaging up field with the ball while Bellerin joined him. That left a huge gap which was consistently exploited by many teams, of which a lot of them are inferior to us. I was not alone in waiting with trepidation for the visit of the crowing cockerel from down the road.

Dominant centrally

I was dumbfounded when Wenger put him in the centre of our back three and then I marvelled at the way he controlled his performance so skilfully, not only in the way that he snuffed out Kane but in how he ensured that he was never far away from either of his two other companions. It ensured that our leaky defence was sealed and with Bellerin and The Tank equally disciplined, Spurs advances were largely ineffective. That efficiency left Xhaka and Ramsey free to press them in their own part of the pitch.

From all of this it may be said that Mustafi could have been Man of The Match, as indeed could Kos or Ramsey and many pundits did indeed pick one or other of them. In my view however, good as they were, the reason I would not nominate any of them was down to one man, Mezut Ozil.

He picked up on his performances for the German National team in the way that he owned the mid-field. He covered every blade of grass and he was defending in his own penalty box one minute and dissecting Spurs defence the next, with a touch a surgeon, would have been proud of, such was his control of the game. We had no weaknesses. On match of the day Alan Shearer said it was a perfect performance and he highlighted examples of situations when a Spurs player received the ball and immediately found three Gunners snapping at him. It was incredible that all of the weaknesses that have been rife in our performances were left behind and the beauty and intensity of our football was a joy to behold.

Picked up where he left off for Germany

I could refer to the queries other people are making that why can`t they play like that every week? But I won`t go into that. However he did it; Wenger produced a team which was fired up, fully motivated and clearly carrying out a plan which worked to perfection. All Gooners must now have reason to view the rest of the season with some optimism. If that performance was not a “Flash in the pan” we have nothing to fear from any team in the Premiership. Bring it on Man City!

Has Wenger found the key? (Thanks Stuart Macfarlane AFC/Getty)

As a conclusion, I cannot close without remarking on the support of the fans on Saturday. Unfortunately, I had to watch the game on TV and it was spectacular to hear the Arsenal roar at last. Our 11 players were more than capable of winning the match but that roar gave them an extra man. If Wenger has found a golden key to unlock that kind of performance regularly, I for one would be glad to see him complete his two year extension to his contract. What a joy to think that the cleft between the fans could be instantly healed.

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6 Responses to Has Wenger found the Golden key to unlock Im’Pressing’ performances weekly?

  1. foreverinourshadows November 21, 2017 at 7:32 pm #

    No Golden Key, no magic solution, just clueless Wenger, we beat a poor Spurs side and suddenly everything is forgotten, we are not a consistent side, Xhaka is still crap, so is Iwobi, Burnley at the weekend away will bring us down to earth, our away form is piss poor, I can’t believe how deluded fans really are, we will not go forward until Wenger le fraud goes

    • Victor Thompson November 22, 2017 at 11:33 am #

      Thank you for your comment. You have repeated much of what I have been saying. Xhaka is a problem. He has ability but is erratic and Iwobi is not yet ready for 90 minutes. He doesn`t have the stamina, but he is one for the future. My point is that as Dave Seager said, simply playing Mustafi at CB brought about an immediate improvement. It may be another flash in the pan but it was example to Wenger as much as the fans of what this team is possible.

  2. DEW November 21, 2017 at 9:16 pm #

    It draws a lot of energy to play like that every week. Moreover, compared to top teams arsenal is inefficient in pressing football. One way to understand this is to look into the team’s motivation, focus and performance through 90 minute period, and by comparing consecutive matches. During tot’m game the players were visibly tired in the second half. That is where the inefficiency lies. The team spent more energy to get the ball back, to defend and to attack. It is a good fighting but it has no perpetuity. As long as Arsenal is a team of movement, speed and pressing football, the manager has to find a way to get the optimal tactical, skill, and physical levels demanded by such games for the team to be productive in consistent manner. Some of the games against United and against barcelona eight, nine years back were a good indications where the team was lagging. But since then the team has not improved significantly. The previous City and Tot’m games are indications of the desire for change, and let’s hope that the team will improve in this style of play.

    • Victor Thompson November 22, 2017 at 2:14 pm #

      Hi Dew, you make a lot of good points. I can see that you have been deeply distressed by the dross which we have had to suffer. The purpose of my article was to emphasise the improvement which Arsenal produced last Saturday. I disagree that the players were excessively tired. They were entitled to be tired to a degree after all the effort they put in. I would rather see them tired for that reason than preserve it by not trying. In reality, the Spurs players were more tired than ours and we continued to threaten throughout the game.

      What delighted me was ( as Dave Seager says ) bringing Mustafi on to play central in our back three immediately tightened our defence. The performances all over the pitch where it was apparent that they were playing in little triangles with each other as per Guardiola had improved 100%. The sideways and backwards passing was stopped and passing accuracy was improved because the triangles facilitate shorter passing and faster movement.

      It may not be repeated again this season, but for one game the players have been inspired and we have to hope that it will, at least the players looked as if they thoroughly enjoyed it. The huge applause Ozil got when he went off was evidence that the fans will forgive past performances if we get the effort we got here.

      • DEW November 22, 2017 at 3:05 pm #

        Hi Victor, I didn’t want to say they were excessively tired. What I want to say was they didn’t maintain the level of performance for the 90 minutes. There was a performance drop in the second half due to fatigue. That is one indication of inefficiency. I am glad they won, but don’t underestimate this issue because they won. The team is still not efficient enough in the pressing football.

        I agree with you about Mustafi and Ozil. I already made this comment on Alex report, Ozil excel when the team plays pressing football. So we may see better of him if Arsenal continue to play like the previous two matches. Mustafi is also more important in this kind of games because in addition to being good defender he has that play making kind of passing skill that will help the team to build its game from the back like that of Guardiola team. But it should not be forgotten that Arsenal is one touch football brand. Arsenal is more dangerous with the ball against big teams.

  3. marblehalls tv November 23, 2017 at 3:56 pm #

    Consistency is the key, and it’s an enigma why we cannot do this week in week out. Anybody who says we have rubbish players (who between them have hundreds of international caps and trophies with us and other clubs) is a fool. I suspect it’s the manager, but I’m not going to bash him in this case. If we can be consistent, then we can get top four, no problem. or retain the FA Cup and win the Europa League.

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