Big game today, Arsenal face Neil Warnock’s Cardiff City away from home. For the Bluebirds, it kicks off a trio of nightmare games for them, with Chelsea and City following our visit. It could be a gloomy run for them if Arsenal bring some of that destruction football we’ve yet to see land season.
Unai Emery has his own batch of issues to deal with. Firstly, he hasn’t won a single game away from home. No big deal, he’s only played one, but when you put the issue against the backdrop of our woeful away record in 2018 (we’ve lost 8 of our last 9), it could be a problem if he doesn’t bag three points today.
The main theme of the day will no doubt be Mesut Ozil and the drama he’s faced over the past few weeks. The manager has gone to bat for the German, stating he was in fact, very ill. It took a week to concoct an excuse deeper than just ill, then when it landed, it was stated that he had a highly contagious disease (with the club curiously allowing him into the dressing room). Our manager had this to say on the matter.
“For me that is one thing; I don’t stop during my career for everything that the news says about me or the players. But in this situation with Mesut Ozil it is clear, he is OK, he has the commitment we want, he is a very important player for us and we want to help him to give us the best performance in each match and each moment.”
Regardless of what the real story is, this is a chance to see what Emery does with a fully fit Ramsey and a fully fit Ozil.
Does the Welshman continue to play as a number 10? Does Ozil find himself moved out wide right like he is for Germany? I’d hazard a guess and predict yes to both questions. The modern #10 needs to work hard for the team, and in Emery’s 11, you have to be able to deal with the tasks that you’re handed. Admittedly, Ozil isn’t going to be tracking the sublime Jorginho today, but he’ll still have to do a job. If the future is Rambo at #10, let’s start building muscle memory by positioning him where he’ll play for the Liverpool game in a 7 games time.
Additionally, Emery needs to settle on a midfield he can keep on the pitch past 45minutes. We should see a start from Torreira, and I’d say he’ll likely continue with Xhaka in the starting 11. The Swiss isn’t my favourite player, but it can’t be denied that he looked far more effective when he had a real DM sitting behind him doing the dirty work.
We’ll also have some interesting decisions up top. Does the manager continue with Auba through the middle? Does he bring the sparky Lacazette back into the fold? Or does he just admit he made a huge mistake with his strikers and go with Danny Welbeck.
The dream for tomorrow is that the defensive methodologies start to sink in. We haven’t looked comfortable at the back since preseason began, and it’s unnerving quite how poor we’ve been, even against West Ham. No team has conceded more shots on target than us, clocking an incredible 24 thus far. Cardiff hasn’t managed a single goal so far this season, meaning we’re absolutely ripe to go a goal down after 9 minutes. We’ve conceded 4 goals this season before 30minutes has played out, we need to make amends today and start building confidence. Emery just need to go classic Sunday league…
‘Lads, keep it fucking tight for the first 30, then let’s build from there. Tommy, stop smoking, and please don’t call the ref a fat c*nt today.’
Finally, before you go. How’s this article for making you feel a little ill.
The signing of Aaron Donald to the richest defensive contract in NFL history Friday was a triumph of the Rams’ greatest force.
That force is the guy who will pay him.
In capping off a wallet-purging offseason that has cemented the team’s championship hopes, Donald was guaranteed $87 million as part of a $135-million deal that celebrated the Rams’ most valuable player.
That MVP is owner Stan Kroenke.
In his three years since moving the Rams back to town, Kroenke has made an impact larger than the giant defensive tackle himself, larger than all the stars he has made rich, as big as any Los Angeles sports business leader since Phil Anschutz stuck a shovel in the ground that Staples Center sits atop. Kroenke has not only been the Rams’ biggest force, but a force on the entire local sports landscape, spending, building, growing, committing.
He gets Los Angeles. He understands its fans. He knows what works, and, man, he’s been working it.
Shame when he bought Arsenal, he did nothing of the sort. He let us flounder in the mud with zero investment. In the U.S., it seems he’s found his mojo, inking massive contracts whilst dealing with the $3billion the Inglewood stadium cost him to build.
Listen to this carry-on.
He said he would build the Rams into a team that will compete for championships. That is also happening. With Kevin Demoff, the chief operating officer and vice president of football operations, and general manager Les Snead working the controls, they have put together a team favored by some to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl.
“It all starts with Stan, he has the vision,” said Snead. “He empowers us. He expects us to bring that vision to fruition. Then he steps back and lets you do your job.”
Donald was only the finale of a string of big contracts and acquisitions that filled the summer. Not only do the Rams now have the highest-paid defensive player in history, they also have the highest-paid running back in Todd Gurley. When you throw in the signings of receiver Brandin Cooks and tackle Rob Havenstein, Kroenke agreed to pay $198.7 million in guaranteed contracts that could wind up being a $306-million payout.
Stan empowered absolutely NOBODY at Arsenal for 10 years as he fawned over Arsene Wenger like a teenager put in a room with peak Thierry Henry. Absolutely disgusting that finally, Stan has realised how to become a ‘franchise owner’ and the club he’s dishing out the 20/20 vision to is based in L.A.
Fuck NFL. It’s going down the toilet anyway. Who the fuck is going to put their kids, as young as 8, on the path serious injury, and maybe even death? Real football is the future, and that’s a fact I just made up.
Imagine if Stan had the same passion for making Arsenal great 10 years ago? What a different story our football lives would have been…
Right, enjoy the game, I’ll see you all in the comments.