Ramsey shines as Ozil makes decent debut

Posted by Andrew Mangan

All the headlines ahead of Arsenal's 3-1 win over Sunderland were, naturally, about the £42.5 million man, Mesut Ozil. But while the German made a decent start to his Arsenal career, it was Aaron Ramsey who stole the show.

The Welshman scored twice for the second time this season to ensure Arsenal took the three points and recovered well after the home side had drawn level early in the second half.

His first goal, a cracking volley from a Carl Jenkinson cross, was the kind of strike only a player full of confidence and in good form can score, and the dynamic midfielder has been one of the team's best performers this season. To hit the ball so cleanly while leaning back is a difficult skill; more often than not, these kind of attempts end up sailing over the bar.

- Report: Sunderland 1-3 Arsenal

Instead, it flew past Keiren Westwood to put Arsenal ahead after they had conceded a poor equaliser. Laurent Koscielny's judgement has to be questioned again as he leaped into a challenge in the box, making Adam Johnson's dive easy for the referee to point to the spot. Despite that, Arsene Wenger will be happy with his team's response.

Ramsey made the game safe. His passing and movement left the Sunderland midfield floundering, and he rolled the ball under the keeper to increase the lead to two goals and ensure the Gunners took the points. It's five goals this season already for the midfielder, and he looks like he's ready to really kick on, having had his career so disrupted by the appalling challenge that broke his leg.

As for Ozil, he created the opening goal with two fantastic touches. His first plucked a Kieran Gibbs pass out of the air; his second rolled perfectly into the path of the in-form Olivier Giroud, whose finish was clinical.

The German was involved throughout but, at the same time, looked a bit sluggish (probably because of the illness that threatened to keep him out of the game) and a little bit unsure of himself, down to the fact he was playing with his new teammates for the first time. In the absence of Per Mertesacker and Lukas Podolski, there was no German speaker on the pitch to help him through his first 90 minutes in England, but his quality was obvious and time will sort that particular issue out. Well, time and English lessons.

Despite the win, there are some postgame concerns for Wenger. Giroud pulled up with a knee injury late, and as the club's only recognised striker -- and one in brilliant form -- that's a real worry. As were the plethora of chances missed by the ineffective Theo Walcott, who could have won the game for Arsenal in the first half.

Walcott has yet to score this season, and as one of the more senior attacking players, it's something that will trouble the Arsenal manager. He did make good runs and get into some good positions, but the finishing left a lot to be desired and could have proved costly.

Although Ozil showed just what kind of influence he might have over this side, it was good to see one of the existing squad members make the difference. Less than 12 months ago, there were people writing Ramsey off left, right and centre.

He's got his head down and worked hard, and today he thoroughly deserves the kudos that will come his way.


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