Confidence restoration; Ox injury saves a selection decision

Had a bit of a heavy Saturday this weekend after the Lincoln game, which effectively wrote off my Sunday and even the ability to stare down a computer screen to compile some thoughts, so I thought I’d leave it and put something together on Monday. And here we are.

We already know three out of the four finalists, having seen the Totts dispatch Milwall quite comfortably, which means it’s certainly the most difficult cup draw in a long time. City, us, them and then most likely Chelski, will make a quartet in which winning the trophy will be rather difficult. But it’s a day out at Wembley and I shall look forward to it, whoever the opponents are, although I could hazard a guess that it’ll be that dirty lot from round the corner. When we’ve met them deep in competitions in the past it always seems to be at a semi final, so I’m expecting nothing else from the draw tonight.

As for our game on Saturday, it was another proverbial game of two, because the tam were utter tripe in the first half, but picked up in the second and looked like a Premier League team playing a Conference side.

I can’t quite get my head around why we seem to start games like this at the moment. I don’t know whether they are all too afraid of the ball, or they are so low on confidence that they don’t want it, or what. But I do know that unless there is a picking up of confidence somehow, that we could be in trouble as early as next season weekend if we don’t pull ourselves together. 

The hope is that a 5-0 win will do some good for the team, but you only have to look at the reactions to the goals to see that the players won’t exactly be reading too much in to a 5-0 win against Lincoln. The training ground this morning will hardly be buzzing with life after that thrashing. It’s a shame really, because we cod really do with something to give those players a massive lift. Who knows, maybe the prospect of a big game cup semi final will give them a bit of a boost?

I hope so. I’m sick of being melancholy about Arsenal. I just want to see them win games. My thoughts on the future of the manager won’t change, but right now, I’m just hoping the team get back to winning ways. 

There’s a full week between games and next Saturday we have West Brom away to worry about. My boss is a Baggies fan too and he’s a right wind-up merchant, so I could really do without him digging the knife in come next Monday!

I think I speak for all Arsenal fans when I say that we could all also do without The Ox being injured for any prolonged period of time. He didn’t last too long in to the Lincoln game before he twanged something, so I just hope he’s sensible enough and the club we’re good enough to get him off the pitch quickly enough to mitigate any damage to him. Arsène said immediately after the game that he thought it didn’t look to be a serious one, but at The Arsenal we specialise in making a few days out into a six week or three month lay off, so I won’t be counting my chickens just yet. 

If he’s out for a prolonged period of time that’s a massive blow to us. He’s been one of the few bright sparks of late and I was coming around to the idea of him operating in a central midfield on a permanent basis. His passing range was once again on show against Lincoln before he went off and with his contract situation still causing some consternation, what we’d really need right now is for him to be playing games and seeing himself as a first team regular. That would give us the best chance of keeping him and with noises that he’s unhappy already permeating the back pages of the national press, a prolonged period out of the first team helps neither us or him. Fingers crossed it can be sorted out quickly and we can get him back on the pitch soon enough.

What the Ox’s injury does do is prolong a decision Arsène has to make with Mesut Özil. He was a sub on Saturday and came on, but with this supposed new midfield three system that Arsène has adopted, where does that leave our number 11? The injury to The Ox probably means he, Ramsey and Xhaka will all play again next weekend, but had the Ox stayed on and played well in that three, would we have seen a repeat of that formula on a more regular basis?

I’d be surprised. Much like Arsène spending years trying to find a role in the side for Ramsey, he will always look to find one for Özil, so I suspect he would have changed his set up back to the one that has him in at number 10 sooner or later. But this injury has given the manager a chance to revert back, so no difficult decision about the German needs to be made, yet.

So I suspect that next weekend it’ll be Xhaka and Ramsey in the midfield, with Mesut in front of them, and we better hope that we can do the business with that trio.

That’s about it from me for one day. Time to make a move and get myself on in to work. Catch you tomorrow.

By | 2017-05-19T19:51:07+00:00 March 13th, 2017|analysis, Arsenal FC, FA Cup, Formation, gooners, Gunners, injuries, midfield|0 Comments

About the Author:

Gooner born in 1982 from Harlow, Essex, with a love for Arsenal that knows. I'm not an AKb, nor am I an 'In Arsene we Rust', but I like to think that I can tip-toe between the two, occasionally veering into both camps.

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