Alright gang, Alex here. So I’m covering for Pedro while he bombs off to Australia for a while. In the middle of February. Alright for some eh?
I read with interest his post about Ozil and Alexis. Two world class players with very different qualities. Alexis is a shit-your-pants, setting-fireworks-off-in-a-pensioner’s face kind of player, while Mesut is as smooth as Nutella, almost stumbling over himself to do something 20 times cooler than James Dean’s cool uncle. So it’s no wonder seeing them play together highlights their perceived weaknesses.
Do the stats tell the whole story? I don’t think so. Yes Mesut covers a lot of yards – part of that is because he is constantly moving to create space. But part of it is because he, along with Giroud, Alexis and Welbeck, leads the pressing game from the front. However, unlike the others, he rarely puts in a challenge or wins the ball back.
Ozil was my favourite non-Arsenal player before he joined Arsenal. I remember him beasting England in the World Cup in 2010 but also watching a highlight reel for Madrid the season before he joined us and being blown away. What’s sad is that he hasn’t quite hit those levels since joining us. Nonetheless, the idea that his contribution is anything less than key is a nonsense. Just look at that pass he picked out for Tomas on Saturday. No one else in the team would have the vision AND technique to pick that option at that time.
Regarding Alexis, well yes he is not reaching the incredibly high standards he set for himself at the start of the season, but I’d say it’s partly down to fatigue and partly down to being played on the left – whereas before he was more central.
What the discussion reflects is a more general trend of judging individual players over too short a period of time. Last season Mertesacker could do no wrong, now he’s too old and slow. Last season Monreal was a liability while Gibbs was a world beater, now it’s the other way round. Giroud’s perceived ability changes from game to game.
Football fans (and I include myself in this) are incredibly fickle when it comes to judging players’ ability. We judge players from game to game, from touch to touch even though we all know it doesn’t work like that. Personally I think we have the most complete squad we’ve had for a very long time (except for Flamini). However it’s a squad that is massively underachieving because our manager doesn’t do tactics (even against Champions League opposition), doesn’t rotate in order to rest key players like Mertesacker and Sanchez, and has no concept of in-game management. For me these are the issues that need to be addressed before we talk of signing or selling any players (especially two as world class as Ozil and Sanchez).
Also doing the rounds is a video someone took of themselves singing the Giroud song four minutes into the Everton game only to be met by confused looks from our fans. It was met with opprobrium on Twitter – what a disgraceful set of fans we are. Well look, there certainly can be issues at time with the atmosphere at the Emirates, but don’t judge until you know how you’d react to a guy loudly singing that song into your earhole while he films you. The reality is no one wants to sing the song of a player who played so woefully in the game before. If he’d picked another song – Red Army, Ars-e-nal or whatdoyathinkoftottenham? – he almost certainly would have got a chant going. How do you resolve the issue of a lack of singing? Singing sections probably, safe standing, some twat with a drum, or the team performing well. Last season the atmosphere at the Ems was fantastic because we were playing so well. On Saturday the atmosphere kicked up a notch after Gabriel made that outrageous tackle. Fans feed off what they see on the pitch and vice versa for the players. The atmosphere was very flat at the start of the game on Saturday because we had had an awful result on Wednesday and played like frightened church mice against Everton for the first 30 minutes.
Anyway I’ve rambled on enough. We’ve got a game this evening against QPR apparently. Harry Redknapp isnt there anymore so I’ve got nothing to say about them. James is going to be writing you a lovely match report.
Oh yeah, as if you haven’t heard enough about Mesut Ozil today, Pete has written this for ESPN (he’s going pro). It completely contradicts everything I have just said but is a lovely read nonetheless.
You can follow me on twitter @aldo_doel
See you on the other side x