‘It’s raining. It’s pouring. Will Arsenal continue scoring?’
Not a bad intro for a soggy Saturday!
Right, we’ll crack through the newz in speedy fashion.
He’s finally fit. He’s in contention for all the games. He has a deal in the offing.
What should Arsenal do?
Well, Arsene said if Abou can prove his fitness this season, he’d land a deal. Guess what? He didn’t prove his fitness. He’s in contention with 10 odd games left to go. That’s a pretty appalling season by anyone’s standards. Well, actually, considering how many games he played last season, it’s pretty good by his standards.
So, does he deserve a deal?
No. He doesn’t.
Has Shad found the source of the problem? Was he tying his boot laces too tight all along? Who knows. Feels unlikely that at 29, we’ve suddenly found the magic formula that’s going to keep him fit.
Secondary to that, even if we have found the magic formula, he’s at an age where it’s all down hill from here. He’s so inexperienced as well. I think we have a real revisionist view of the midfielder. He’s never strung 10 solid games together for us and we’re all remembering him in that Liverpool game a few years ago like that was the standard. He’s a precocious talent and had the potential to be something amazing, but it didn’t workout. He might be amazing next season, but it’ll only be for 5 games, then he’ll tweak something.
Any other coach would put him out to retirement. Because on paper, it’s a waste of a perfectly good squad number. He’ll go on a pay as you play deal… but even that makes little sense. What if he’s fit all season but doesn’t start? Am I going to be passing around a donations hat in the stadium to get him a hot salt beef sandwich from club level?
At the end of the day, it’s sweet that we give our staff hope. It shows we care. I just don’t think that sort of approach in sport is right. He’s already hugely rich off what we’ve given him… and we’re giving him more. It feels like we’re killing a kids chance of proving themselves.
Interestingly, The Guardian have him down as a doubt today with a calf injury.
Mesut Ozil was the topic of conversation on the Daily Mail with Martin Keown. I absolutely love this comment here.
You have fans in the game that love to think they see what others cannot. They’re all furious at the moment because people are loving the contribution Mesut is making. Like he was making it all along. They’re furious now because they have to find a new player who the peasants fail to understand.
‘Shit guys, looks like we’ll have to see what Denilson is up to?’
These people are the football equivalent of new music people…
‘Man, I liked that band until they put their music on Spotify’
I think my appreciation goes to Shad Forsythe for bulking him up. That was a masterstroke. He’s a bit of a beast now. Breaks up with his lady, gets tanked, starts owning it on the pitch. That’ll learn her… don’t worry Mesut, she’ll appreciate the way you create space through clever movement. She’ll know those dead eyes roar with passion behind the scenes. She’ll know that deep down, when you potter back to defend, and don’t defend, that you really wanted to defend.
Oh Mesut, you beautiful misunderstood artist. The Marilyn Manson of Arsenal 2015.
Arsene Wenger said he’s happy he’s not doing an end of season tour with the team. I’m happy as well. Give the boys a rest. Wenger says the players are half on their holidays.
That’s one thing Burnley won’t be today. At this stage of the seasons, safe teams tend to switch off, because mentally, they’re in Las Vegas chugging down champagne in pool… or, like Theo, eating a ham sandwich at the side of the pool in a sun hat.
Anyway, Burnley are very much in the race to escape. If they beat us today, it’s a massive, massive three points. So they’ll be charged, lapping up the cold weather. You’ll also have a section of players who will be showing the world that they can cut it in the league.
As I said yesterday, it’s important we continue to plan in the way we have been. This extract from Rosicky adds a bit more fuel to the fire that we weren’t exactly preparation masters before (as if results and what you could see with your eyes didn’t tell you that).
“We know we can beat the big teams so that was nothing new – we wanted to win and the performance was good as well.
“We changed some stuff slightly in our preparation for these games. We’re doing a little more tactical work and we changed some stuff against the big teams.
“I don’t want to go into the details but there were some adjustments and it’s paid off for us. Recently we’ve been successful against the big teams but we still have to play Chelsea and Manchester United, so we would like to carry on like that.
It’s important that tactical work comes through in games like today. I think we have been guilty of not having an answers for breaking down rigid systems before. A bit of thought can give players an extra edge if the game gets testy.
Danny Ings has 9 goals and 4 assists, so he’ll be one to watch today. The whole team could be dangerous if they take us into the second half. We need to be patient and we can’t expose ourselves at the back if we’re pushing hard for a goal. I don’t feel this is a banana skin because we’re not a side that’s relying on the form of one or two individuals, we’re a team that’s winning so well because everyone seems to have hit their stride. This would be a very disappointing place to lose ground in.
United are hot on our tails. Second is ours to lose. We need to keep the momentum going.
Great thing about today is we kick off proceedings for the weekend. We’re the first of the top 5 to play. United play City tomorrow, which means someone is falling away… I have a feeling it might be United, the arrogance coming out of the camp this week has been something else. QPR host Chelsea in a game that doesn’t normally throw up a shocker, but it has done before, they’re on a bit of form and they’re scoring goals… you never know, QPR have to escape or it’s big trouble for them.
Liverpool play Newcastle on Monday… 3 points to them.
A big weekend of football.
Let’s hope Wenger has the team focused on nailing those three points.
Finally, if you want more of my words, take a read of who I think could replace Theo next season.
P.S. The pictures I use at the top of my blog are getting boring. If you’re at the game today and you get some nice ones, Tweet them at me and I’ll use them tomorrow.
P.P.S. Bielsa would get Ozil and Denilson. Nice read here.