Watching Germany last night had a very familiar feel to it, as an Arsenal fan, I must say. Plenty of possession, control of the ball in the most part, finding it difficult to break down the opposition, then when you do you come across a ‘keeper who decides he’s going to have a ‘worldie’.
So perhaps that’s why I simply watched on as the French marched on to the final at Germany’s expense last night with two goals from Antoine Griezmann. What a player he is by the way.
If only we could have bought him when he was at Real Sociedad, eh? We’d have ourselves quite an attack, with even Giroud loving playing with the guy. Watching those two combine in an attacking duet on a few occasions last night did make me wonder about some of the ideas mooted with reference to Alexis playing just off of Giroud. It’s an intriguing proposition, that’s for sure, and would probably be the solution to the conundrum of how to fit both in to our team, because it doesn’t work in our current set up. I think it was Tim Stillman who first draw my attention to the fact that when both Giroud and Alexis play, they seem to take up similar positions on the attacking left hand side, more often than not. So changing the dynamics of the team – given the success the French have had so far – is not inconceivable. After all, Arsène has form in that regard, because he changed our style to a front three after the success of Rijkaard/Pep’s Barcelona teams.
Arsène would have been commentating on each of the French games so far too, so he will have seen how well Giroud has worked with a player just off him, where his game is suddenly not about goals but about linking and bringing others in to play. To be fair to him he’s done that at Arsenal, it’s just that the system and his own form have often led to frustrated Arsenal fans, bemoaning our reliance on him. We also bemoan a lack of an acceptable alternative (mainly due to Welbeck’s injuries I think), but that’s a different discussion, for a different day.
Today’s discussion is about last night’s Arsenal performers and I think all three of them equipped themselves well. Giroud had a decent game as a target man, with one moment that had me chuckling into my glass of red, when he was through on goal but eventually everyone got back to stop him. My chuckle came from a text from my cousin who asked “has he always been that slow?”, followed in quick succession by my brother saying “milk float”. You and I, as Arsenal fans, have seen that ball in behind at least half a dozen times last season alone. So it will have come as no surprise to us that the German defender made a great block to prevent Giroud from getting a shot away. But to those that don’t watch Arsenal enough, this is relatively new stuff, which also had me chuckling at the expectation of those who thought he should be away and scoring. It just ain’t his game, baby.
I thought Koscielny was immense too, yesterday, particularly given the fact he’s surrounded by a collective of bang-average defenders on his team. Seriously though, Deschamps must have lost a bet to have kept picking Sahko over Koscielny in years gone by, because the guy is immense. He’s showing in this competition just why he must be one of the top five defenders in the world right now. What a player.
Sadly though, there will be one Gooner soon to be heading home in the shape of Mesut Özil, who I don’t think deserved to be on the losing side yesterday. He dictated the play at times and popped up in spaces all over the park. The only problem the Germans had was not having rapid players running in behind the French back four. We all know Mesut and we all know he could find a hobbit in a large wood, but you have to put a hobbit in the wood in the first place, so the Germans never managed to break the deadlock.
As he’s been linked, I had a little look at Draxler too and I don’t know about you, but on this Euro’s showing so far, I wouldn’t put him in the £40million+ bracket. Don’t get me wrong, he’s a good player and would certainly work as one of our pacey wide men, but I just didn’t see enough of him to suggest he’s worth more than what we paid for Mesut.
At least now that there are only two teams left in the competition, we’ll start to get some idea on player movement, with signs already showing from other clubs that the market is opening up. I just hope we’re active before the tours start.
Righto, it’s Friday, I’m finished, and you have a lovely day to go and enjoy.