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1) Superb performance on Tuesday night, after a not so good result at the weekend. What do you put the differences down to?

@GianlucaF_AFC - I felt the whole team upped their game because of Mesut Ozil. The guy is class – definitely the best player we’ve had since Bergkamp/Henry. I believe his presence really lifted us and with everything going through him, he kept us fluid and dangerous with every attack.

It’s also great to play with two competent full-backs who defend as well as they attack. No disrespect to either Gibbs or Debuchy, but Monreal and Bellerin should be playing every single game (fitness permitting, obviously).

@GraduateGooner - The opposition! Zagreb were surprisingly poor considering a win would have sent them into the Europa league. Also, Pulis set up his team in the post predictably negative fashion, and we didn't help ourselves by missing a penalty, hitting the post and scoring an own goal too. Could have scored 3 more than we did in both games.

@SuperArse710 - First and foremost I think Dinamo Zagreb are a weaker opposition than West Brom and the difference in quality showed. Playing at home also spurred us on a bit extra, as well as our desire to bounce back after a disappointing result. We created many chances in both games, but it was nice to see us convert several of them against Zagreb.

@theninjajwill - Well obviously Ozil, Alexis, and Cazorla each played better individually but the team defended tremendously well once they got ahead. It seemed like they were dropping off to contain much more than stepping up and trying to keep a high line or trap and that left very little in behind. But the best defense is attack, and going forward with speed I thought the wing play was much more creatively explosive and caused a lot of problems.

2) There has been a lot of worry about losing Coquelin, how do you feel Flamini stepped in?

@GianlucaF_AFC - Coquelin is obviously a big loss and even though his inclusion in the team divides the fanbase, I believe he has become an important cog in the Arsenal machine.

With regards to Flamini, I thought the future billionaire performed really well in the middle of the park. There were a couple of typically erratic Flamini moments but overall his distribution was good, he frequently showed grit and determination and I loved his celebration for his bezzie, Ozil’s goal.

@GraduateGooner - He was as good as he needed to be, considering the opposition. He might not be able to read the game in the same way that Coquelin does , but he does bring a phenomenal work rate and leadership skills that Arsenal have been accused of lacking in recent times.

@SuperArse710 - It wasn't a particularly testing night for Flamini, but all in all I think he'll be happy with his contribution. There were a few comical moments, as there always are with Flamini, like when he tackled Alexis early on in the game. He lacks the defensive concentration that made Coquelin valuable to our side, but at least he could provide us with two impressive pre-assists against Zagreb.

@theninjajwill - He played well enough but losing Coquelin for 3 months is obviously a massive blow and there is clearly no natural replacement for him in the squad. I've heard people say put in the kid JR-A, and I wouldn't be opposed to that, but to think he can play every match and play well there for 3 months is far fetched. Sadly it's looking more than a bit foolish not buying any DM coverage this summer right now.

3) Who was your man of the match and why?

@GianlucaF_AFC - Ozil. Reasons as above. Plus, did you see how he rocked that Arsenal Christmas jumper earlier? What a legend.

@GraduateGooner - Ozil. There can't be an Arsenal fan on the planet that doesn't get excited by the way Ozil and Alexis are linking up right now. If that back of the head goal had gone in...

@SuperArse710 - There were plenty of positive performances to choose from, but I have to go for Özil. He really is unplayable at the moment. He could've had more than one goal but seeing him getting into dangerous positions constantly is encouraging. His chemistry with Alexis is improving drastically this season, which was visible against Zagreb. As well as dictating our offensive play, he constantly made off the ball runs to stretch the opposition and to receive the ball in space.

@theninjajwill - I know Alexis got the 2 goals but for me it's Ozil, and it's because his passing. Overall he was far more accurate than Sanchez at 88%, although the ball he received on the 1st goal from the Chilean was brilliantly weighted. His diving header that ended up being the winning goal is the icing for me.

4) Who was not quite at their best in your opinion?

@GianlucaF_AFC - Santi. Something is not quite right with him this season. There were flashes of brilliance last night but I felt he tried to overcomplicate things a tad. Maybe it’s time to give him a breather on Sunday away at Norwich.

@GraduateGooner - While nobody played badly as such, I would have liked to see a bit more from Chambers in his cameo at CDM, especially after all the hype that has been building since Coquelin got injured.

@SuperArse710 - The performance that discouraged me the most was Chambers' 12 minute cameo. Despite entering the fray with only a few minutes to go, Chambers displayed a lack of confidence and a lack of understanding of his role as a defensive midfielder. When the ball was with our defenders, Calum failed to make himself available as a viable passing option too many times. He was not confident in turning with ball and often tried getting rid of it as quick as possible by playing the way he was facing. He dangerously lost the ball a couple times, which against better opposition could've seen us punished. Based on this, admittedly brief, cameo, I don't think he's a realistic option for Wenger as a midfielder.

@theninjajwill - Well obviously Flamini isn't exactly in the prime of his career. He's not really a difference maker physically aside from the occasional reckless challenge and he's really too slow to break up play and meet challenges head on at the speed Coquelin does. It's a shame actually Arsenal don't have a younger, more talented DM as cover, or starting, even as great as Coquelin has been and made that role his own. It's a glaring hole in the midfield depth chart.

5) Has Joel Campbell done enough to keep his place in the team for the weekend even though Aaron Ramsey is back and ready?

@GianlucaF_AFC - Campbell’s assist last night was sumptuous but if you’re keeping him in the team ahead of Ramsey, he’s got to show that on a regular basis. He can’t just score against Swansea and then be anonymous the next couple of games before popping with an assist like yesterday evening.

If Ramsey is fit, you play him. Just not on the right please, Arsene.

@GraduateGooner - In the same way Gabriel was dropped the second Koscielny and Mertesacker were both available, the boss has to go for the strongest XI possible in all league games. If that means dropping Campbell for Ramsey, then so be it.

@SuperArse710 - No. If Aaron is fit, he plays. I wasn't quite as impressed with Campbell as most seemed to be last night. Of course he provided a great assist for Alexis, but apart from that and an odd flick, he seemed slow and unfit. Overall I think he lacks a standout attribute in any area of his game to make him a realistic option in this team when our offensive players start returning from injury.

@theninjajwill - I thought Campbell was brilliant on the right. He did precisely what an inverted winger is supposed to be most of the time and that is run directly at defenders and make them make a difficult decision, and I thought he did that very well yesterday. His assist to Sanchez was a bit lucky to go through the defenders legs but he picked him out perfectly. I think that he is finally playing this well very encouraging for everyone at Arsenal.

6) Are you confident of progression to the knock out round?

@GianlucaF_AFC - One hundred per cent. We know when to stand up and be counted, and I think the boys will have it in them to do the business in Greece. And in style. We’re going to win 4-1.

@GraduateGooner - Not even slightly. It has 'remarkable turnaround missing out by one goal' written all over it.

@SuperArse710 - If you look at our record away to Olympiacos, there's little to be confident about. Usually we find ourselves in the first knock-out round, but now there's the added pressure of the Europa League punishment if we don't win by the required margin. So whether that extra pressure has a positive or negative effect on our game is waiting to be seen. I'm, perhaps foolishly, optimistic about our chances, because I feel good about our chance-creation ability at the moment.

@theninjajwill - I know we are more than capable and have enough fire power to score at least 2 goals in Athens. But they are also going to try to defend extremely hard and will presumably be very organized at the back.

7) Would you make any changes ahead of the Norwich City match if the choice was in your hands?

@GianlucaF_AFC - RAMSEY IN CENTRAL MIDFIELD. As you can see, I’m a big advocate of having him back in his rightful position. His relationship with Ozil flourishes when both are playing through the middle, and it’ll make us more sturdy when defending and even more of a threat in attack.

On a side note, if Chamberlain is back fit on Sunday, I’d like to see him slot in to that RW position and possibly also swap Gabriel with either Per/Kos to give them a breather.

@GraduateGooner - If Ramsey is fit, you have to bring him back on the right, gives the team a balance that we only realised existed once it wasn't there. While I would be curious to see how Chambers gets on as a holding midfielder, probably safest to stick with Flamini for now. Better the devil you know etc.

@SuperArse710 - I'd play the same side with the exception of Campbell who I'd take out for Ramsey. Aaron's offensive runs coupled with Alexis and Özil's ability to make a decisive pass is a well-tested recipe for success.

@theninjajwill - Maybe give Alexis a bit of rest and bring him on in the 2nd half to give the team a spark. I also wouldn't mind seeing Chambers come in for Flamini, or Gabriel for Mertesacker either.

8) Any other thoughts?

@GianlucaF_AFC - Spurs are sh*t and won’t finish in the top four.

@GraduateGooner - If we do end up in the Europa League, winning it on the first attempt, after Spurs have been failing for so many years, would make it all worth it.

@SuperArse710 - Another clean-sheet for Petr Cech in what is a near perfect debut season for him. He was as alert and aware as always against Zagreb, and he's undeniably a big step up from Ospina. I'm glad Cech's a gunner.

@theninjajwill - I thought that although Giroud didn't score his movement on the first goal was terrific and was probably the main reason why Ozil was so wide open. He doesn't get enough credit as a striker sometimes because he's not Thierry Henry, but the little things he does to bring others into the game that are brilliant are often underlooked.


Thanks as ever to the guys above for the great responses. If you would like to follow the guys above, just search the twitter handle and get following.

  • 15 Sep 2015
    So let me stop reminiscing of days gone by and let me focus on our Welsh wonder. Let me start off by saying that I think it is quite obvious that Aaron Ramsey is better in central midfield. His partnership with Mesut Özil, his running from deep and his underrated ball winning ability makes him a ...Read more