Arsenal FC: 5 Talking Points from 3-1 Victory over Sunderland
Arsenal triumphed 3-1 over Sunderland at the Stadium of Light on Saturday, as two Aaron Ramsey goals were the difference between the two sides after a second-half Craig Gardner penalty cancelled out an early Giroud finish.
This game was much anticipated due to the debut of Mesut Ozil, the Gunners' deadline day signing. Because of the international break, fans had to wait a whole extra week in order to catch their new German in action.
Arsenal were the better side, but Jozy Altidore's goal could have stood to pull the Black Cats level at 2-2. As we have been getting used to seeing, the Gunners played very well in the first half but dropped off significantly in the second, which allowed Sunderland opportunities.
Here are five talking points from the match.
Mesut Ozil Is Wow...
With sky-high expectations, Ozil had a very good debut for Arsenal.
He showed flashes of brilliance, including his assist to Olivier Giroud in the first 15 minutes, which came after a beautiful first touch.
The German also put Theo Walcott through on goal a couple of times, but the speedy Englishman was not on his best day and missed some good chances, to the frustration of Arsenal fans.
Considering that these guys are mostly strangers to him, he mixed in quite well for his first game, so hopefully for Arsenal he will get more and more involved as the season goes by.
...But Wasn't Even at His Best!
Before the game, Ozil was battling a stomach bug. According to the Guardian, Arsene Wenger said:
"Mesut had been sick. He didn't feel well and I only decided to play him this morning."
It was visible that he was not quite at 100 percent. And that is the scary part, really. He was one of the best players on the pitch, and he was sick.
Although his vision was amazing, he wasn't dancing around with the ball at his feet like he usually does—he was more static.
Once he feels better, he is really going to scare defenders.
Two goals from Aaron Ramsey. Not what everyone predicted.
That first goal came out of the blue, as he was expected to control the ball from the top of box. Instead, he took a huge swing at the ball, the connection was perfect, and the volley powered into the back of the net.
The second goal was a great team goal, and the Welshman slotted home what some call "a striker's finish."
He really is improving rapidly, and if he adds a dimension of shooting and finishing to his game, he will become a complete player.
Mertesacker's Presence Is Underrated
I'll admit that I haven't always been a fan of Per Mertesacker, mostly because I thought his pace was a liability.
But recently, it hasn't shown as much as it did before because he and Koscielny are starting to gel together and form a great center back pairing. The Frenchman and the German complement each other, with Koscielny quick enough to clean up after Mertesacker.
Against Sunderland, with Sagna and Koscielny as center-backs, the second half did not see Arsenal defend very well. Koscielny committed a needless tackle to concede a penalty, and Jozy Altidore's disallowed goal was a mistake from the referee.
Mertesacker's height, positioning and intelligence were missed at the back because he was too ill to travel with the team.
There Is No Better Timing for a Cazorla Injury
"Cazorla has an ankle problem and he will be out for a few weeks. I don't think he will play before the next international break."
In the league, the Gunners face one of the easier runs of fixtures: Stoke, Swansea, West Brom, Norwich and Crystal Palace before facing Liverpool in early November. This means that Cazorla will be not miss games against any of the big teams.
Of course, Arsenal's group of death in the Champions League won't be easy, since the Spaniard will miss the trip to Marseille as well as the Napoli clash. However, he will most likely be fit for the toughest opponent, Borussia Dortmund.
Cazorla's absence allows Ozil to play his game and really get used to playing with the likes of Giroud, Walcott, Wilshere and Ramsey. This is vital in such an early stage of Ozil's Arsenal career. Granted, he will have to adjust with Santi back in the lineup, but in the next month or so, he will get used to being a Gunner.
Theo Walcott had a really poor performance, but in the last year he has become a much better finisher—the Sunderland match was probably just a bad day.
Jack Wilshere played much better than he had in the last few games. The young Englishman was almost back to his old self, making great incisive runs and dribbling through the Sunderland defence, who had to get really physical with Wilshere.
And Olivier Giroud. The Frenchman is really hitting his stride with four goals in four Premier League matches and establishing himself as one of the most clinical finishers in the league.
Overall, not a bad performance from Arsenal.