It seems there’s a war a brewing…
Well, it wouldn’t be the Arsenal fan base if there wasn’t arguments over something and in this instance, the something is one in which the dividing line between the sides is Emery, with Özil on the other side.
There seem to be plenty of people who are starting their moves in to the certain camps but, if I’m honest, I don’t really feel like getting in to some kind of ‘player v manager’ debate right now. Or ever, really, because it is like shouting in the desert. It’s no bloody use.
Firstly because there’s little that we as fans can do that will be of any help to our current drop in form. Back Emery and singing his name may give the manager a boost, but it felt like at the weekend he sh*t the bed a bit with his decision to field players like Iwobi instead of Özil. Iwobi has his moments but Özil is a game changer and by not including him in the squad the manager sent a clear signal to the player, but to us too, because no matter how much anybody questions his decisions he’s shown that he is going to stick by his own beliefs.
Perhaps that’s to be respected but at the weekend, as I’ve already said, it feels a little like he was making a rod for his own back. Plus when it went wrong his decisions were called in to question and perhaps I’m wrong, but it feels like the game at the weekend was the first time in which the dividing lines were so clearly drawn with regards to this saga. It feels like there were more dissenting voices over his selection decision than I’ve seen for a long time, so I wonder if the West Ham game will be seen as the point in which the honeymoon period was well and truly over.
It’s a shame because I was enjoying the whole unification of the fan base that we seemed to have for a few short months late last year. It was nice and meant that we didn’t have any of the – frankly boring – sides that people feel like they have to sit on. I’ve seen so many Twitter polls on my timeline asking for variations of “Özil vs Emery” that it’s boring the pants off me. Can’t we just all get along? More importantly can’t Unai get along? For the benefit of the club and everyone associated with The Arsenal???
As for Mesut, well, we all know his PR team regularly play blinders and the fact he nailed himself a mega contract this time last year shows you the people around him are good. Very good. The best that money can buy no doubt. So he’s ensured he’s doing his bit to keep fans on side with pictures of himself in training saying stuff like yesterday; with comments of “No matter what…put in the work”. It’s clever because it’s a public declaration that the manager is not picking him from his own volition and not because Özil isn’t fit, isn’t willing to train and doesn’t want to help the team.
It’s his statement back to Emery which effectively says “your move, chief”.
People can argue his case for inclusion or omission both ways and the chances are if you’re an Arsenal fan you sit on one side or the other and you’re not really going to change your mind. But what Özil is doing is making sure that publicly he has fans on side because he and his team know the power of media and social media and they are using it to show they are not the problem in this situation. That may or may not be true, but the media is littered with people using it to their own advantage on a weekly basis.
And so now the ball is in Unai’s court and this weekend’s game against Chelski will have plenty of eyes on the team selection and if Özil is in it. To me it feels crazy not to include him because these are the sort of games he could thrive in. But perhaps the manager is making his stand, the flag is firmly entrenched into the muddy battleground where his troops are and he ain’t budging.
It’s a bold move to be fair to him. Bold because Özil is an expensive asset. He’s the fancy china that you use for posh guests and when the posh guests come round and you’re serving them their food on a microwaveable plate that has scratches all over it, whilst showing them said china in the cabinet, it doesn’t always go down too well.
If Emery continues to ostracise Özil and the likes of Ramsey without picking up results or with performances continuing to decline, then he’s going to find himself in hot water pretty soon, so he either needs to make do with the players he has and get a tune out of them until the end of the season or face increasing noise over his selection decisions.
As always, football is about results and if he’d have managed to pick up wins away to Southampton, Brighton and West Ham, whilst playing some younger kids, he would probably have more people siding with him. But right now we don’t have that, we don’t have a team playing well and arguably haven’t really done so on any kind of consistent basis all season, whilst our best creative players are sat kicking their heels.
Something’s gotta give.