Black Friday over here today, it’s a little like an Arsenal November, full of promise, light on the quality of return and the chance you might come home with an injury,
Great start. Great start.
So on the continued saga of Granit Xhaka, who seems like the kind of purchase you make, deeply regret, then try and find another use for… the man himself has come out in the press to reveal some of the inner workings of what’s going on (via @AFCSTUFF and Viasat).
‘Arsenal knew how I played when they signed me. It can be both positive or negative, but that’s the way I play.
‘Playing rough is my playing style. If someone takes that away from me, I will no longer be Granit Xhaka.’
‘The boss has high expectations on me, but during the games, I have what you would call a ‘free role”
Deary me. So it seems that Granit believes two things, firstly, his lack of first team chances appear to thread from too much aggression. Secondly, Arsene Wenger has dropped him into ‘free role’ territory.
This raises a few interesting talking points. Firstly, in the modern game, dropping someone like Xhaka into a free role seems a bit, well, reckless? He’s used to playing a certain way under coaches that are far more prescriptive, now he’s being given a free role… which might point to the reasons he seems to lack discipline. Players at Arsenal don’t usually give too much away about how Wenger coaches them, but you’d have to imagine that Aaron Ramsey gets the same ‘do what you like, mate’ treatment as well.
The second point about the aggression is interesting as well. For a club consistently accused of having a soft underbelly and a glass jaw, surely having some tried and tested steel in our starting 11 is a welcome addition? Can’t for the life of me work out why a manager who boasted one of the meanest teams in Prem history would opt to beat the aggression out of a player whose game depends on it?
Also interesting that someone pointed out that the reckless nature of his new game might be related to having to make tackles higher up the pitch.
So in short, you can look at this as a genius behaviour from Wenger, or you can look at it as another clumsy signing and another clear showing that perhaps the man in charge isn’t quite up there with the younger coaches coming through.
This isn’t exactly the first example of Wenger having positional issues with his players. Jack Wilshere, who I don’t believe will be playing this weekend suffered similar problems under Wenger, was he an Ozil, a deeplying playmaker or a DM? He didn’t know. So no surprise he struggled.
You also have Theo Walcott who was consistently thrown the… ‘you could be a superstar striker’ bone, despite it being obvious he’d never be right for that role. Then you have Ramsey, and who the f*ck knows where he’ll be playing this weekend. Chamberlain sees himself centrally, but we’ve seen him all over the front three as well as newly at right back. I mean, our midfield really is a bit of a confusion pot at the moment.
Back on the Xhaka thing. I also think it’s odd that bar the penalty against Spurs, Xhaka didn’t put a foot wrong, then he finds himself benched. His number in attack and defence were total boss, just seems odd that he’d be dropped for a very dodgy penalty, for two games as well.
On the, ‘EVERYTHING IS ODD’ narrative, doesn’t it seem strange that Theo Walcott didn’t get a look in during midweek? Or even Chamberlain. Both in fairly good form, surely they’d have offered something to the game?
BACK TO JACK, he’s played 11 games for the Cherries this season, even completing 90minutes. I don’t mean to harp on, but what would the chances be of Arsenal subbing him 10 times to protect his fragile body? Good that he’s finding his feet at Bournemouth. Eddie how is extracting the best out of him after a bit of a bland start. He’s not hitting Ozil like heights, no goals or assists, but he has hit the woodwork a lot. I don’t have the number though. So sorry.
Eddie Howe has been singing the praises of Arsenal, hopefully so he can nab more players, not because he has a new contract to sign when Wenger moves upstairs.
‘There’s a lot to admire about Arsenal. They always stick to their philosophies and are very loyal to their style of play.’
So sweet to say.
Right, not a lot to come from the prezzer, Wenger says we need to create and score more goals otherwise our unbeaten run won’t be sustainable, he also says we’re missing Santi because he provides the link to our attack… sure does, can’t imagine a player who might be a solve for that?
Till tomorrow x