Arsene Wenger qualifies and still manages depressing new low

by & filed under News Review.

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Here I am, penning an ode to another insipid Arsenal performance, trying to add new flavour to same cardboard curry we’ve been consistently forced to chew down for the last ten years.

We won, on aggregate. We are through to the last 16, but the worry about Wenger’s decaying ability to focus players, even when there’s the prize of CL football at stake, is reaching new levels of panic.

Arsene fielded a heavily weakened side, but make no mistake, that insipid performance was not reflective of the talent on show. No, the effort on displayed was a reflection of a manager who allows players to switch off because there’s no consequence.

(more…)


Mesut seeks urgent medical treatment at Four Seasons

by & filed under News Review.

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Mesut Ozil, is sick again.

“Ozil was in bed Monday and Tuesday. I would certainly have played him, but because he was sick he will have to work hard tomorrow and won’t be involved.”

Or is he? Arsenal fans are convinced that he is in fact on holiday with his lady friend, prepping for the biggest game of the season at Wembley on Sunday.

Look, it wouldn’t surprise me. This is how most clubs act. Players need time off, Ozil certainly needs time off. If you look at his sprint stats over the last 4 seasons, they’ve always massively declined post-December because he’s not that fit. Shout out to Vik Akers for sharing those numbers.

Sending Ozil to Turkey for a bit of sun makes a lot of sense. He’ll break away from the doom pit of Colney, he’ll recharge mentally, and hopefully he’ll deliver an explosive performance at the weekend. It’s a bit rough a player we drop £350k a week on needs to call in sick every other month, but it is what it is, we have to manage that until Wenger leaves.

… you’d also think that if he’s calling in sick, he’d keep the Insta posting to him pulling a sad with a massive dog on his lap.

The game today is going to be a cakewalk. We’re too far ahead to see any real threat. Wenger still sees it as a secondary priority.

“We have to focus on the Premier League,” added Wenger. “The Europa League is one of the priorities we have.

“But ideally we want to come back to the Champions League through the Premier League.”

The Swedes are going to have to come at us, they’ll expose themselves at the back, and we’ll take advantage.

Aaron Ramsey rejoined the squad for full training, so I’d be shocked if he started on Sunday. Even if he did, he’d be utter dross so it doesn’t feel like the gamble is worth it. He’s a player that needs games to find rhythm.

Mikki is cup-tied for Sunday, but he can play tomorrow, so he’ll earn a chance to forget about the shocker he had against Spurs a couple of weeks ago.

Auba, I believe, can play against City at the weekend, so he’ll certainly be rested. There are also strong rumours Iwobes will be played tomorrow, giving a big clue to him likely being dropped on Sunday. Seems really weird that as soon as the Nigerian finds his game, he can’t get a start?

Hopefully, we’ll see some more game time for Eddie and Reiss tomorrow. The perfect chance for those two to show they belong. I’m all about the Europa League, hopefully, the other results go to shit and we can make the semi-final at the very least.

I am genuinely excited to see the British teams doing well in the Champions League. I mean, easier to stomach because we’re not in the Champions League, but it really does prove a point, when you put great coaches with great players, magic can happen. There’s been so much negativity about how being near English soil somehow makes you average.

I think the extra money in the league has helped, Premier League teams need more money for the CL and bigger squads because we don’t have a winter break, and the competition pound for pound is way higher here. Most of the other leagues, bar Spain, have 1 team domination issues… so they hoover all the domestic talent and can rest players in low-intensity games before the CL.

It’s great to see our teams finally make a bit of a mark due to grotesque shared riches.

Right, enjoy the Alan Smith podcast. It’s excellent.

We cover:

  • Patrick Vieira to Arsenal
  • Steve Bould, huuuhhh, what is he good for?
  • What it takes to win elite competitions

Also, leave a nice review if you find it via iTunes.