This World Cup has been a bloody cracker so far! You can’t take your eyes off it. There have been great goals, big moments, upsets and no clear runaway team at the moment.
Let’s start with the big talking point of Saturday… Mesut Ozil was dropped to the bench after his poor performance in the first leg. Die Zeit wrote that he’d been ‘Wengerised’ in a scathing piece about his lacklustre demeanour and effort. There’s a bit of sub-plot going off that states he’s paying a price for his cheeky selfie with Turkish autocrat Erdogan, but look, if it were about that, he wouldn’t have started the first game.
I found it deeply amusing that the people who’d been tweeting, ‘World Cup winner Joachim Löw depends on Ozil, but Dave from Hounslow thinks he’s shit’, had to revert to calling the manager a racist and a right wing sympathiser as soon as he did what Wenger should have done last season and dropped him.
The German press, who many lean on to get their fix of Ozil appreciation were basically saying the same things Arsenal fans have been saying for years.
Lothar Matthaus: “At Özil on the pitch I often have the feeling that he does not feel comfortable in the DFB jersey, is not free, almost: as if he does not want to play. There is no heart, no joy, no passion, ”
Alfred Draxler: “Özil thinks of himself – and not of the team.”
Mario Basler: “Ozil’s body language is like that of a dead frog, it’s pathetic,”
Stefan Effenburg: “completely misjudged” (decision to start him)
I’m not saying that Mesut is a shite player, all I’m saying is what we’re constantly accused of imagining because we’re British isn’t always right. Arsenal fans often get themselves into weird love-ins with players who aren’t cutting it because they’re addicted to spreadsheets and being seen as higher intellectual powers when it comes to the beautiful game. Szczęsny, Denilson, Hleb, Song, Coquelin, Xhaka (Wilshere if you’re honest) all boasted outsized reps for what they delivered.
I’m not clumping Mesut with the above, the German is sublime and can offer up more on a bad day than most can on a good. However, when he puts in a stinker, he needs to pay a price. He never did under Wenger, and he never did with the fans (until the back end of last season). He has with Löw. The big question is whether the coach goes back and tries again. He wasn’t tempted to bring him on when things were looking pretty dire against Sweden, so it’ll be fascinating to see what happens next.
I think the biggest challenge Emery has next season is resuscitating his most expensive player. He has to get him motivated and back in the game. He’s Arsenal’s best player by quite a margin, to have him central to our attacking plans and working to his absolute capacity would be a dream. Rumblings of player discontent about his pay and effort levels isn’t good and it won’t be good for broader team morale, so let’s hope that’s fixed next year.
Also, the Bling Bling gang? I really hope they didn’t name themselves.
The next talking point was Engggguuuuurrrrland dropping a 6-1 defeat on the heads of Panama. I know they’re shite, but we’ve made a mess of equally average teams. It’s great to see England play in a ruthless fashion, even if I am a bit worried how we’ll deal with a better team. Belgium will be a nice warm-up. Win there and I will start getting excited.
Finally, exArsenal flop Wojciech Szczęsny didn’t exactly shower himself in glory for Poland again. He was slow off his line for their first goal, compounding his error he made in the previous game where he came out to sweep and missed the ball. He’s an average keeper as I’ve always maintained. Marotta has just dropped £10.5m on Perrin of Genoa, so it doesn’t look too good for the #1 jersey going to the Pole.
That said, current Arsenal #2 pulled off a couple of top saves, and of course, faked an injury as well.
Also, I STIL have a lot of love for James. What a player. Dropping numbers again because he loves the World Cup.
In club news, Lucas Perez is coming back to Arsenal to fight for his place. Excellent. Never thought he was a bad player, but certainly, a panic buy from Wenger.
Finally, check out the sweet, sweet designs from Fokohaela (you can actually
buy these). I LOVE the creativity. Totally mental and beautiful at the same time. Puma needed @losdejos (who is a Gooner) and his team on the Puma project.