Sell Ozil … Send Emile Smith-Rowe Out On Loan …

October 9, 2019

The title of this post sums up the consensus of opinion from yesterday’s post that asked the question of what we should be doing with the aforementioned players. The results of the polls embedded in the post showed that more than 60% of those who lodged an opinion were in favour of selling Mesut Ozil, and sending Smith-Rowe out on loan.

AA contributor Gooner4life summed it up as follows:

Having waited and hoped that Ozil would adapt to the Premier League’s athletic standards of fitness and commitment to enable a team structure that would benefit his skill set and enhance the teams resilience, I have seen that hope disappear much like Ozil himself in games. He is not strong enough or fast enough to impose himself on games or assist in stifling the opposition pressing our defenses.

The time for pastures new has arrived with a subsidised loan or even free transfer to allow his particular talents to be showcased in a less abrasive league. Ceballos Ghendouzi Willock Torreira are the go to options for a dynamic midfield (which can be supplemented by Luiz or Chambers – but NOT Xhaka).

ESR is one of a number of shining academy stars (many of whom shone through in the pre season fixtures) who have potential to become regular starters. Injuries have stifled his progression and others are presently seizing their opportunities so a loan to a competing league would be beneficial and he is already highly regarded in Germany without hardly playing.

ESR needs to be placed with a club who will develop his strength and resilience to complement his talent by starting him consistently (not bringing him off the bench when the game needs rescuing). We need to look within the club more often to nurture the wealth of talent that could have been in our team rather than looking at what £50+million stars they have become and could be saving those sums in the transfer market.

The first team squad is becoming a stronger and deeper and will provide an opportunity for bringing the youngsters into the premier league environment. This is already happening and needs to be continued.

As a clever German recently said North London is still red!

Gooner4life

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Is there a place in the Arsenal squad for Mesut Ozil and Emile Smith-Rowe this year and beyond?

October 8, 2019

We discussed it many times but it seems that now (although it is not working perfectly) Emery has decided to mould Arsenal’s play based on the Liverpool model and his time in Sevilla. On the Liverpool model because it is clear that he wants that high-intensity press and quick transition bsed on 3 lethal attackers, incisive full backs and a strong/physical spine defensively (CBs+DM+CM).

Modelled on Sevilla, because he wants to set up with a 4321 with one player in the middle 3 that can defend well but that can also break the lines with dribbling or passing, which is what Banega did for him in Sevilla and what Ramsey also did last year when he was fit to play. I think Emery’s idea is to give that “Banega/Ramsey” role to Ceballos this year.

It hasn’t gone unnoticed that Ozil has been left out of match squads for the last few games. The reason for this could be that Emery actually does not need Ozil-type of players in his team. He wants more industrious players in the middle of the park, faster players on the wings and he already has some players that fit the bill more than Ozil.

So it is time to part with our German maestro who was delivering assists after assists in his first three years with us? I think so, not because he is not a gifted player but because he does not seem to be able to adapt his game to the demands of the coach so you are in a lose-lose situation and it is best to let go for him and for us.

I think Ozil would be a great acquisition for PSG or Juventus or Bayern – but he ll go there as a squad player but he will get plenty of game time because these teams can make the most of his skill sets. PSG for example does not have players that can break lines with exquisite passes – Mbappe and Neymar can dribble past players for fun and have quality passing but what if they were fed the balls rather than having to create the plays…I can imagine a 4231 with Verrati, Gueye – Neymar, Ozil, Mbappe – Cavani do some ravage in some games…Anyways…

Now comes the tricky question regarding Emile Smith-Rowe. Can ESR play in the middle of the park? Certainly but can he play better than Douzi, Torreira, Willok and Ceba? Does he also have what it takes to play on the wings? Not really sure.

Can he play like Lacazette? To be confirmed…So in the short-term, I think it would be in both club and player’s interest to loan him back out again in January but maybe for 18 months so he can get some solid experience and come back and maybe then, there will be a place for him in our squad depending on his development. The boy is talented, no doubt. But I can’t see him go past the mentioned players in the near future so let us not slow his progression down and let him go out on loan in the EPL or abroad but he needs playing time.

So what do we do with these 2? Keep, sell, loan…?

RC78

 


Mesut Özil Ate My Hamster …

August 28, 2019

I know, I know, but its a slow Wednesday morning and Sunday seems to be taking forever to arrive so don’t expect too much this morning people. The link, however, is the position that Ozil plays and I am assuming that had he been fit and on form then he would have played at the head of the diamond in place of Ceballos against Liverpool, agreed, or maybe not?

Özil or Ceballos?

This brings me to the link between Ozil and Ceballos and the question of why do we need them both; the answer is that we probably don’t. My guess is that Ozil remains wrapped in cotton wool on the off chance that someone might buy him in the remainder of this Euro transfer window. As a guess as to what is going on behind the scenes with him this is no big deal, pedestrian really, but how the club are going about replacing him is what is fascinating me.

Buying a tried and tested attacking midfielder would probably cost, in wages terms, around four hundred thousand pounds a week, hang on didn’t we have one of those but let him go – Ramsey wasn’t it? You get my drift, they are few and far between, they are expensive and even worse it is still possible to make a massive mistake. There is no better example than the debacle that United are dealing with right now with the “tried and tested” Sanchez — phew, dodged that bullet.

Back to Ceballos. Last week we all would have been happy if he were signed then and there and the name Ozil never mentioned again, this week, mah, not so much. It is also far easier to see why the club didn’t try and push the boat out in an attempt to sign him outright from day one. Cleverly, we get to see him develop all season before we choose to spend the big bucks, the club might want to do that as well but our opinion (we) is far more important of course, lol. It’s a good strategy, it’s a clever strategy and as an attempt to replace Ozil, be it this season or next, I think it is worth pointing out.

Ceballos or Torreira?

And, that believe it or not, brings me to where I wanted to be all along. Mike asked: “If you lose a game does it by definition mean the tactics are flawed?” Certainly not, in my opinion, but with the use of hindsight surely we would have been better off playing Torreira at the head of the diamond instead of Ceballos.

I am not convinced that our five foot, two Uruguayan is the defensive midfielder that we all seem to think he is. Has anyone seen such archetypal DMs such as Kante or Makelele steal inside the box and score goals such as Torreira’s against spuds or against Liverool on the weekend for that matter?

Our pocket rocket can operate well in the box and score goals, the importance of which should never be underestimated; perhaps I can describe him as a Swiss army knife with far more tools available than people are realising or maybe accepting — surely he is better deployed as an attacking midfielder than a rigid DM?

LB


Unai, Wake Up! … Xhaka + Özil + Mhki = Disastrous Defending

August 7, 2019

My take on the pre-season is now focused on what we can expect from the coming season based on what we saw, how we ended last season and what improvements, if any, we have made.

Summary of last season is that we had a very effective “new manager bump” which put us in pole position to qualify for the Champions League. However with a typically Arsenally (what we used to refer to as Spursy) finish to the season we blew it in what I think was pretty spectacularly bad fashion. There were fundamental problems:

  1. We couldn’t defend properly and conceded way too many poor goals. My humble opinion on this is that as bad as our defenders appeared to play, we just defended horribly as a team. Our pressing during the first part of the season was quite good but after March, it was amateurish. We had no one who could hold the ball and relieve pressure. We had also signed what I think is a very good keeper which made it all the more frustrating.
  2. We weren’t direct going forward and (as usual) had no plan B if teams parked the bus. Our playmakers (Ozil, Miki and Iwobi) failed fairly miserably as a group. When Ramsey finally got into the team, he offered directness and we played better. When he got hurt, we were done.
  3. We had no heart, balls whatever word you want to use. A team devoid of leadership and such a weak mentality, I thought we were Spurs during the 2000’s!!! Seriously though, both us and Manure were horribly weak mentally and the final positions reflected that.

So I was looking to Unai to change three things really. Mentality, mentality and mentality.

On to pre-season. We won our first few games, beat Bayern and went 2-0 ahead against Madrid. I wrote in my match report I wondered if we’d really turned the corner or if we’d revert to type.

We did the latter. Gave that match away, played really quite well against Lyon (apparently, I didn’t see it) and lost that one, then lost against Barca after I thought, a fairly competent first half performance and a 1-0 lead. I know it’s pre-season but what have we learned?  Apparently not a lot. Here are my concerns with the manager for the coming season.

  1. We still aren’t defending well as a team. I don’t see that has been addressed. It strikes me as strange that at 2-0 ahead against a 10 man Real, then our most experienced defender gets 2 yellows in 5 mins. We had opportunities to kill the game off. We go in 2-0 up at half time, then he brings off Willock and leaves Ozil to defend ahead of our full back. We coughed it up and if Ascencio hadn’t got hurt, would have probably lost. And we still had 2 golden chances to win the game at the end but failed to take them. We lose to Lyon after a couple of marginal decisions and AMN not having the greatest of games. Why? If he’s not motivated after pulling the shirt on, who is? (I know he’s had some problems in his personal life so I’m giving him the benefit). Where’s the manager in this? Then we lose to Barca after being ahead 1-0 at half time because again we take off our best midfielder and put Ozil to defend our right and Miki to defend the left. No wonder we aren’t happy with how they played. They can’t defend !!!!!!!!!! Does Unai know that?
  2. Granit Xhaka. I still don’t put Mustafi in this category, Granit stands alone for me. Maybe I’m mistaken but a holding midfielder needs strength, agility, speed and awareness. Xhaka has none of these. His tackling is poor, he gives away loads of free kicks and possession because he’s poorly positioned, misread the situation or just gets outmuscled, outfought or outrun. Compared him to his top 5 peers. Kante, Jorginho (who’s not great either), Fernandinho, and basically any of the Liverpool or Spuds midfield. Not only would he not get a look in at any of them, he wouldn’t even start at United. Not to mention Wolves, Everton, Leicester. What does he do well? He strikes a ball and makes the occasional sublime pass. But I see the same Xhaka as last season and for those of you that know me, what Emery does with Xhaka was going to define how I see his second season. I have been a fan and advocate of Emery since he started and firmly believed he should be given a year, which he has been. I just don’t understand his persistence with Xhaka.
  3. MENTALITY!!! We are soft. No one expects us to take the lead and hold it. Pre-season has just re-iterated that and in any sport, winning becomes a habit. So does losing and weak mental performance. I know Klopp said you can’t become a big winner without losing big first. Hope he’s right because if so, we’ll win the quadruple this year !!! But I’m not holding my breath. Liverpool, City and Spuds are miles ahead of us in this category. And it’s squarely down to their managers.

In trying to be balanced, I must say I’m completely impressed with our transfer window. Hopefully we’ll sign a central defender which will make it an 11/10 instead of the 8.5/10 it is now. I also believe the signings we have made, although not defensive, will help with our ball retention and therefore indirectly with our defending as a team.

Pepe and Ceballos look like they’ll be tremendous signings and there’s more than one way to defend. So let’s see what Unai has planned. I’m concerned we haven’t signed a CB and if Xhaka starts and Miki and Ozil are deployed in front of our full backs, I see a frustrating season ahead.

Please prove me wrong Unai and Granit !!!!!!!!!

Mike M


Bernd Leno … next Arsenal Captain

July 19, 2019

I totally understand people being annoyed with Koscielny and feeling let down, but I have a slight issue when people talk about him being captain and how a captain shouldn’t behave in this way.

Let’s be honest, the captaincy at Arsenal has meant very little for nearly 10 years now. It wasn’t that long ago that I wrote a comment about how our ‘captains’ had played less than 10% of PL games over a 5 year period. That’s an absolute joke! Even the season just gone, we started it with 5 so-called captains, I mean what the hell is that!? Obviously Koscielny’s antics don’t help bring any respect back to the captaincy, but I think that respect had died a long time ago.

Emery really needs to have a long hard think about what he wants from his next captain and he needs to ensure that he chooses someone who plans on sticking around and hopefully chooses someone who isn’t sat in the stands most of the time.

Give us an idea of who is the most popular choice for captain among Arsenal supporters by voting in the poll at the bottom of this article.

Personally, I’d be giving it to Leno. I know a lot have mentioned Sokratis, but he is a bit too fiery for me and may cause disruption if he gets into the players too much. I like his passion and i’d want that to continue, but I think I’d prefer someone a little more level-headed for the role.

Xhaka is another option and the extra responsibility may see him cut out some of the silly mistakes, but I always get the impression he’s glancing at the exit door. A dark horse might be Holding. If he can break into the first team and become a regular after his injury then I’d love the idea of a young, English old-fashioned centre half captaining Arsenal again.

It’s about time being captain of Arsenal meant something again. Let’s hope Emery gets it right.

Written by fatgingergooner


We loved Arsène Wenger … but isn’t it time to move on ….

July 5, 2019

We’ve had some excellent contributions from bloggers over the past few days.

Our varying views have shown that there’s still a lot of love for Özil although many want him gone, some reckon that Emery isn’t the man for the job where others are ready to give him another year and many, many Arsenal supporters are still hurting from the fact that Arsène Wenger has gone. What ever happens to Özil or Emery, it’s all part of the fabric of our history as were the glorious years of having Arsène Wenger as our manager.

Our feelings about the club and our views about what should or shouldn’t happen can hamper debate and discussion occasionally, but we welcome all views on here and just ask that people try and keep calm. A wise blog owner told me years ago ‘it’s just a blog’ 🙂

There is always so much speculation during the closed season about who will come and who will go. Without actual football to watch sometimes our trips into navel gazing end in tears where in reality this forum is for Arsenal supporters to chat about the club we love in good times and in difficult times.

Yesterday’s comments threw up these conflicting views ………….

This from VP

Emery I thought got worse as the season progressed and fell in a heap. 1 win from finishing in top 4 & CL, and 1 win from finishing with a european trophy. But I’m up for what he can do in his second season (althought wouldve loved Rafa).

And this from Els

I don’t think Emery got worse as the season went on. I think they were burnt out. Emery’s intense training sessions were too much of a culture shock for a lot of players used to a more creative style of play.

I think a lot of players had nothing left to give.

Another season and pre-season in particular will help with that. Also a lot of young legs. Another reason why Emery is a good fit.

I, like many supporters, felt very frustrated that the team weren’t able to get themselves into the top four. And the thought that that lot from down the road were actually better prepared to get themselves into the top four above us quite frankly leaves a very sour taste in my mouth.

I’m looking forward to the new season with hope and expectation, I shall be saying that a lot in the coming weeks.

peachesgooner

 

 

 


Emery is wrong … build the team around Özil

July 3, 2019

Confusing times …

We have a manager who I took against within about two weeks of his arrival. Because I seemed to be in such a minority, I drifted away from the two or three Arsenal supporters’ blogs that I was in the habit of reading. Everyone liked the new energy, the direction the club was taking, and certainly the results during the first half of the season justified the optimism. I didn’t like it – any of it.

When you have a set of round pegs, you can try to squeeze them into square holes, you can throw them away and buy new square pegs, or you can create round holes into which to fit them. From the outset, Emery forced his round pegs, and the rounder they were, the more he tried to crush them into his shape of choice.

When you have three of the most potent, exciting, skilful footballers in the world, you can start your system with them, and build around them – or you can mess around with them and make them what they’re not.

When you have some of the best talent coming up through the Academy, you can encourage them, fast track them, utilise them: or you can bring in other exciting young players to block their progress.

For me, Emery failed in every one of these aspects.

Many months ago, I wrote on here that I thought Mesut Ozil could not fit into the new system, and was criticised for that view. Ozil is one of my all-time favourite players, second only to Dennis in garnering my admiration. I choke at the thought of him not playing in red and white any more. I was apoplectic at the way Emery treated him (I’m convinced this was a reaction to his losing the PSG dressing room). Alongside Ozil, how were Lacazette and Aubameyang treated? Confusingly. When they were both fit, the manager took far too long to play them together.

Unequivocally, in the right system, those three together would rip defences to shreds (as they all too occasionally have), at least as potently as the Liverpool front three.

Five of our best youngsters were farmed out for experience. All well and good; probably the right thing to do. Emi Martinez has been our best goalkeeper for a while now, but has been consistently shunted back, and then loaned to Reading, where they think he’s a hero. Callum Chambers was player of the year at Fulham in a DM role. Krystian Bielik pulled up trees making a massive impression at Charlton. Reiss Nelson and ESR furthered their education in Germany, and certainly Nelson impressed, making the shortlist for Rookie of the Year.

 

The point is, what now? The latter two are attacking players, wingers or attacking midfielders. But we’re bidding for Zaha, Brahimi, etc. Chambers and especially Bielik might well be the answer to our DM shortcomings. Chambers is maybe a bit slow. Bielik isn’t, is a big unit with all the skill. He’s had a few growing pains, but he’s possibly through them at last. If he doesn’t get his chance this year, we’re going to lose him. Martinez should certainly be allowed to vie with Leno to start – I personally think he’s better.

Then there are the others, who stayed at the club. Jordi Osei-Tutu has gone, a really promising pacey right back, who might have been tried in order to free up AMN for a more suitable role, but never was. Willock was a way better player than Guendouzi and Xhaka last season, but got his chance too late. He’s fleet, skilful, proper box-to-box, good defensively, and has an eye for goal (even if he had something in it in the Europa Final!). The same things could be said of Ainsley Maitland-Niles who has endured being put at right back in order to get into the team.

The players who Emery picked: Xhaka, good when the team is dominating and not exposed to the fast break, but awful if rushed, because of his lack of pace, which forces him into rash challenges; Torreira, everyone’s favourite because of his insane commitment to the cause, but actually too lightweight, and not really quick enough; Guendouzi, a player full of promise, but whose main contribution was falling over to draw fouls.

 

What of Emery’s tactics?

We were promised measured playing out from the back to draw the opposition out of position. That was a disaster, especially when Cech was in goal, more so when Mustafi was the defender. Even Leno abandoned it late in the season. We were promised a high press to win the ball back early and near the opposition penalty area. It spluttered throughout the year, and was less used towards the end. He did have a magic touch in the first half of the season, with his substitutions and timing thereof, but even that waned. I’m not aware of any other tactics, or tactical shifts during games. He did tinker with the old back three/back four dichotomy, but the result seemed more confusing for the defenders than helpful.

And the man himself? He was much lauded for his determination to speak English from the get-go, but I found him incomprehensible, no less so after a year in the job. When I did understand him, he spoke in totally meaningless platitudes, and entirely without humour – how I missed Arsene’s wit and wisdom.

Well now he wants new toys to play with – Zaha et al. And as always at this time of year, the fans are in a frenzy to buy this star, that rock, the other tyro. This is why I thank fellow blogger Fred for pointing out the obvious, that you can’t promote youth AND buy stars. It doesn’t compute.

Me? I’d start with Ozil Lacazette and Aubameyang. I’d have AMN, Willock and Bielik as first/second choice midfielders, in any combination according to circumstances. I like several of the attacking youngsters, who should certainly be in the squad, along with Iwobi. Martinez would be my goalie. Central defence and left back might need a bit of shoring up, although there’s not much wrong with Papa, Holding, Chambers and Mavropanos. Monreal has lost too much pace. Koscielny needs a final season like Mertesacker’s. Mustafi… well, Mustafi! Let Xhaka go, let Torreira go back to Italy, sell Elneny, Jenkinson and Mhkitaryan. And Mustafi… Hopefully, Bellerin will return undiminished. So maybe Tierney to fill left back is the only player I would consider.

Sit back with a rock solid defence, fast transitions with AMN and Willock to Ozil, unlock the strike force. Easy.

Written by Maxwell