Arsenal 3 Man United 0: Three talking points as Mesut Ozil impresses
Three talking points as Mesut Ozil helps to inspire Arsenal to a 3-0 win against Manchester United
Finally, Arsenal respond
Mesut Ozil has taken more criticism than most Premier League players despite a reasonable return of nine goals and 17 assists in 60 top-flight games. It is testament to Ozil’s body of work at Real Madrid that Premier League supporters expect so much from the Germany international. Naturally, holding the title of Arsenal’s club-record signing also plays a part. One former Manchester United midfielder, Johnny Giles, branded Ozil a disgrace following a 3-2 loss to Olympiacos mid-week. It is unlikely the former Irish international’s comment registered on Ozil’s radar, but the £42.5m signing would presumably accept a big-game performance was overdue. Credit to Ozil, then, for a irrepressible opening 20 minutes which helped put The Emirates clash out of Manchester United’s reach. His movement was good to tee up Alexis Sanchez for the opener, while he had the foresight to find some space in David De Gea’s area and the commanding presence to secure a pass from Theo Walcott to double Arsenal’s lead seconds later. Few can begrudge Ozil his moment of glory, it’s whether the Germany international can maintain some consistency which will be most intriguing after this result. Regardless, it is reassurance for Arsene Wenger, Arsenal fans and perhaps Ozil himself that he is still capable of influencing big games. More of the same please, Mesut.
Cech keeps Man United in check
The Gunners goalkeepers were in focus at Arsenal this week. Arsene Wenger has made Petr Cech is first-choice goalkeeper since the 33-year-old’s £11m move to The Emirates from Chelsea. However, the Arsenal manager persisted with his decision to revert to David Ospina for Champions League games, despite a must-win game against Olympiacos. The switch backfired as the Colombian made a sloppy error which led to the Greek side’s second in a 3-2 win. It was no surprise to see Cech back in goal for the visit of United, and the Czech Republic international emphasised the difference he makes to Arsenal. After roaring to a 3-0 lead, United regrouped and started to grow into the game. Just before half-time, Anthony Martial showed superb strength and technical ability to outmuscle Per Mertesacker. Cech, though, was already off the line and narrowing the angle for the 19-year-old Frenchman, resulting in a smart save. It is these kind of moments that Cech was bought for, preventing a potential United resurgence just before half-time. Wenger, presumably, has learnt a harsh lesson from the Champions League defeat.
No clear Premier League title favourites
The Red Devils surrendered top spot in the Premier League to Manchester City on Saturday after their 6-1 victory over Newcastle United. Arsenal, meanwhile, hoisted themselves above Louis van Gaal’s side, thanks to their 3-0 win – their first victory by a two-goal margin over the Red Devils since August 2004. Arsenal and City have rich attacking talent which will keep them near the top of the Premier League, whilst United have the organisation (this performance aside) to grind out results against the Premier League’s lesser opposition. Their title credentials will get a firm examination with some tough tests to come against Everton, CSKA Moscow and City after the international break. This result will be a concern for Van Gaal, particularly with cool heads such as Daley Blind and Bastian Schweinsteiger having forgettable afternoons.