When Is Wenger Going To Give Ozil A Rest?

It's a Mailbox dominated by reaction to last night's game, with thoughts on an out-of-sorts German, red card penalties, Nacho Monreal, let downs and Toni Kroos...

Last Updated: 20/02/14 at 09:16

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Well This One Was Sent During The First Half
For. F**k. Sake.
Matt Wright, Gunner in Aus.


Arsenal v Bayern Thoughts
- All I can say after yesterday is how good Arsenal were, especially defensively. People will point to statistics all day long but I felt until the red we were the better team and should've been at least 1-0. Afterwards, it was just a lot of passing and a superb strike from Kroos. This is the best team in the world and I thought they looked toothless and frankly average for large parts of the game, largely in part to our superb performance.

- Robben is an a*** but what a player. He probes and darts, he makes clever runs. The move that gave away the penalty was perfect

- Can we agree Arsenal have one of, if not the best CB partnership in the Premiership? If it wasn't for Koscielny determination to score, the match probably would've ended 1-0. With 10 men against Bayern?

- Sign Kroos please Wenger. Fantastic player and one of the best strikes in the Champions League this season.

- Sanogo again performed well but last night was crying out for a pacy striker. With Walcott running in behind yesterday with Chamberlain, they would've caused all sorts of problems for Bayern

- Please drop Ozil. Send him on holiday for a week or so and tell him to come back when he's ready. He clearly isn't going to play through this dip in form, so I think its time to give him a rest. Also, can someone else take penalties please

- Taking 1-0 to the Allianz would've been perfect. As it stands Arsenal are now in a win-win situation. If we go to the Allianz and lose, we have less games to go and push for the title/FA cup (along with Liverpool and probably Man City). If we win, it will be the same confidence boost as last year and who know's what would happen.
Rob, gutted but proud, AFC

...Firstly, Gary Neville has gone to pot. Whatever his merits as a pundit (and i think they are fairly exaggerated) he has none as a co-commentator. He makes his mind up without the use of his eyes. We were all irritated to high heaven with Ozil's lazy penalty but don't use that to colour the rest of his contribution. Every time Arsenal won the ball back he was their out. He kept the ball so much longer than other arsenal players. I thought he was full of energy and running.

2. Monreal replacing Gibbs was the biggest blow of the night. The drop in class was startling - Monreal has nowhere near the positional awareness, physicality, anticipation, passing ability of Gibbs. This led to insecurity in the back four. It ultimately led to the ball over the top for Robben where he was fouled by Szczesny.

3. And fouled he was, and the balance of likelihood is that his touch would've left him with the ball at an open goal. It was a penalty and it was a straight red. The merits of the double punishment can be discussed elsewhere - the referee did what he should've done.

4. Weren't Bayern awfully predictable? Now, i realise that Arsenal only left them with a third of the pitch to play the whole rest of the game in but ... down the right, down the right, down the right was mind numbing stuff. Luckily for them Koscielny had his late game brain fade leaving Flamini to deal with the Raumdeuter himself Thomas Muller.

5. Arsene was excellent. Great team selection - The Ox and Sanogo gave exuberance and add in Flamini, Ozil and Wilshere and you have a perfectly dynamic arsenal midfield - Cazorla to add his own brand of magic.

I'm a fairly neutral football fan. I support Bray Wanderers in Ireland and West Ham in England although more than anything I like to watch good quality tactical football. I was disappointed with Pep's Bayern but understand that this game was a strange one due to the sending off.
GearĂ³id

... - Who decided Ozil should take that pen, I guess there were 60,000 people in the stadium that knew he was the last person that should take it, lack of leadership on the pitch and in the manager.

- Why the hell can't we play like that all the time... Pace determination etc...not hard, guys just have to try
Liam


Kroosing For Love
Dear Bayern Munich

Please pay Toni Kroos whatever he wants. Selling him to United is a terrible idea.
A concerned Liverpool fan (has he misplaced a pass ever??)


On Mesut
Ozil is a disgrace. Worst player on the field. And Monreal and Sanogo were on the field.

Passenger. Let Him Go. Missed The Brits over it.
John Ed, LFC, Ireland

...Why won't Wenger rest Ozil?

The guy needs a break - he's shattered. The FA cup is our best chance of silverware so how about playing him against the Toffees and resting for the remainder of the month?
Graham Simons, Gooner, Norf London

...More like Mesut Woe-zil

Drop him Wenger. Drop him.
Kireca


Why Didn't Boateng Go?
Ok, so we cant have any complaints about the red card (even though everyone in football thinks it's a stupid rule) but why wasn't there a red for Boateng for his foul on Ozil? Ozil had cut inside to shoot so by tripping him up he did exactly the same thing that Szcezny did to get a red.

I can't believe nobody on Sky mentioned that but then we're talking about the commentary team that were dumfounded why Sanogo didn't play more games before the Liverpool game. How about because he was injured? Do Sky seriously expect people to pay money for that kind of insight?
Adonis (Not that bothered about being out of a competition we probably won't win anyway) Stevenson, AFC


16 Years Of Let Downs
Has a club that has qualified for the Champions League/European Cup as regularly as Arsenal ever had such little success in it?

Sixteen consecutive years (I think) of qualification yet one final and no wins is all they've had to show for it. It must be frustrating for Arsenal fans that they can confidently say the moment they come up against a really quality team they'll get knocked out. It's almost as if the sole purpose they qualify for it is for the money it generates.....
Rob Pearse


A Capable Forward Would Beat Bayern And Barca
I can't say why, but I'm not impressed by Bayern Munich, or Barcelona for that matter. There may be no basis for my assumption, but I fully believe had Aguero played for either English side this week against their respective opponents, we'd be looking at wins for both.

The use of Aguero here is merely a metaphor for an extremely capable forward. In my opinion, Arsenal and City suffer from the same problem. Excellent supporting cast, with only a decent lead. In such situations it's hard for teams to make the most of their chances which is what Arsenal and City failed to do. Had they had a player who was incisive forward it would have definitely been a different story.
Joshua, South Africa


More On Double Punishment
Regarding the double punishment of a red card and a penalty I agree with Phillip Cornwall that it is necessary for those situations when the defender has made a completely cynical foul with no attempt to win the ball.

However I would argue that those occasions are very rare compared to how often games are ruined by nothing more than a clumsy challenge. If that clumsy challenge does result in the denial of a goal scoring opportunity (for example, if the penalty is missed) then by all means send the player off, but don't send the player off automatically.

There are many ways to improve on the current rules to ensure that defenders are punished for denying goal scoring opportunities but also to ensure that games are not ruined by double punishments.
Joel

...1. Are FIFA rules pertaining to a red card as being the "last" man (with only, say, keeper to beat) illogical? The law says, "A player, substitute or substituted player is sent off if he denies an obvious goal-scoring opportunity to an opponent moving towards the player's goal by an offence punishable by a free kick or a penalty kick". Now, how has an "obvious" goal-scoring opportunity been denied if a penalty is awarded? Penalties are the most obvious goal-scoring opportunities in the game of football, in the EPL pens have a 90% conversion rate. Anyone who has played the game at any level would tell you that an "obvious" goal-scoring in open play is not so obvious because there are so many variables at play, the keeper is rushing towards you, you have to decide what to do, defenders are chasing you down, and all this must be executed quickly to score. Now with a pen, if you have a player like Lamps in your team, it's a certain goal. I have not (or rather can't) checked the stats of the conversion rate of, say, one-on-one opportunities, but I have keenly observed football long enough (18 years and counting) to know that these are fluffed with alarming regularity. If anything, by committing such a foul in the penalty area, a player has increased the opportunities of goal-scoring. So why penalise the team even more by sending off a player and having him suspended?

2.The laws being as they are; I think a lot of referees, for fear of being vilified for misinterpreting the rule, actually misinterpret the rule as "last defender = red card". It is quite possible that you can foul an attacker being the last defender but NOT deny a clear goal-scoring opportunity. Yesterday was a case in point: Robben barely had control over the ball, the ball was going away from goal and moving very rapidly out of touch. Had Szczesny not fouled Robben, he probably still would have retrieved the ball, however he would have been at a very tight angle and quite some distance from goal, and by this point, defenders would have recovered their positions. Foul, yes....clear goal-scoring opportunity denied, no! I do sympathise with referees in that interpreting the rule that way makes decisions more black and white, however, they are the referees and are put out there to, amongst other things, use their discretion.

3. Bar for serious foul play that can endanger safety of opponent, dissent and violent conduct, are red cards not actually destructive to the spectacle of football? I understand the intent behind penalising "professional" fouls heavily in that we want to see more goals in football, but at what cost? We waited with bated breath for two months for two epic battles, Citeh vs Barca and Arsenal vs Bayern, however what were supposed to be two epic contests (and until the red cards in the respective games, both games were very intriguing and tightly contested) turned into processions and damage limitation exercises. Should football not look into the idea of the sin-bin? Before the knives are sharpened, I really do not enjoy seeing my team thrash a 10-men team, I don't derive much joy from it.
KT Mokhele (Still Trusting in Wenger, real gumption showed by the boys), Gooner in Johannesburg

......Instead of awarding penalties & giving a red card for a clumsy challenge denying a clear goal scoring chance, why not just award the goal? Then there's no incentive for the professional foul. In fact we should do away with penalties altogether and use the following system:

- Foul denying clear goal scoring chance in the box: Award the goal

- Foul denying clear goal scoring chance outside the box (e.g. Solskjaer's famous professional foul): Award the goal

- Other foul in the box (e.g. accidental hand ball, foul on the edge of the box when the player is going nowhere): Attacking team gets a direct free kick from their choice of spot outside the box

- Other foul: Free kick from the point of the foul

This system would do away with the dual standards of refereeing we currently have inside and outside the box, and keep cards for important things like dangerous tackles, swearing at the ref, and taking your shirt off to celebrate a goal
Darren O'Driscoll


World Cup Plan
So Mesut Ozil has been in England for less than six months and already can't take penalties any more. If we can convince the Premier League to unite in signing every international footballer going to the World Cup, we might finally have the edge in penalty shootouts!
Dan, Stoke

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Anyone But Rooney. Or Baines. Or Hart.

There isn't a great deal of excitement in the Mailbox regarding England's potential new captain, but we have good stuff on Gerrard's development and a one club man team...

Goodbye Patrice And Farewell Steven...

Man United fans say a fond farewell to Patrice Evra in the mailbox while there are also thoughts on Steven Gerrard's retirement from England duty. Plus, some rare cricket bantz...

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