Although I didn’t bother to watch any of the international games on yesterday, I have had a quick look at which of the games included key Arsenal players and, after a quick glance online, it appears everybody is safe. For now.
By all accounts, Mesut Ozil sounds like he had an effective game for Germany in Scotland, with the general consensus that he retained the ball, looked decent in the centre of the park but was often surrounded by a couple of players. As one of Germany’s main forward creative forces, you’d expect nothing less, but I do find it interesting that this is the same set of journalists who would describe Ozil as being ineffective. Or perhaps, when you’ve got three players buzzing around you at all times and you still manage to retain possession and bring other players in to play, you’re actually providing more space for your teammates to be effective. The key there is to have your teammates being more effective, so it’s no surprise that since we’ve dried up a little bit on the goals front, we’ve seen quite a few stats about the number of chances he’s created.
He’s an important part in our cog, but if other parts of he team aren’t 100% accurate, then unfortunately it doesn’t help his own stats in terms of end product. He’s spoken about how he’d like to be on the score sheet a little more and whilst I applaud his desire, for me as long as he keeps creating those chances for our forward three, then I’ll certainly be happy. He’s a fantastically gifted footballer, he glides across the football pitch and now all he needs is for Giroud and Alexis in particular to do the business for us at the sharp end of the pitch.
As for Giroud, Debuchy and Koscienly, the latter didn’t start, but Debuchy came on at halftime and looks like he had a decent game. After his comments in the French press, I was interested as to how he’d perform, but it looks as though he’s making the right moves on the pitch to win both his international and his domestic place back. He apparently nearly scored late on too, so if that’s a sign that he’s looking to get forward more, then I’m all for it. One of the reasons that Bellerin has retained his place, I think, is that he is the better of the two at getting forward. He has the pace – we all know that – but if Debuchy is to show he’s an attacking threat too, then Arsene will have been looking at the game closely. I suspect we will see a bit more of Debuchy eventually, but for now he needs to accept that his competition is ahead in the pecking order.
Giroud however, doesn’t appear to have had a good time of it, being jeered by the French fans s he was subbed off in the second half. With Benzema still recovering from injury and his Arsenal form having had a couple of difficult games, this would have been ideal for him to win his confidence back, something that we all know he needs to be at his best. Arsene has spoken on a number of times about how he’s a guy that needs to be feeling good in himself in order to be successful and games like he’s had for Arsenal and also for France will not help him to recapture his form. At least he’s said the right things in his post match comments, taking a very Gallic approach by effectively shrugging off the criticism, which is the right thing to do as long as he doesn’t let the ‘boo boys’ get to him. When he’s not scoring though, there are other parts of his game that he can continue on to ensure that – as he said in the aftermath of the French game – the victory of the team is assured. If he has players around him, happy to feed off of him and make runs in beyond him, he’ll be just as effective in contributing to the team’s success. We don’t need a 30-goal a season striker if the rest of the attacking players and midfielders are all getting in to double figures on goals.
Hopefully the game at Stoke this weekend will provide a chance for redemption. He needs to have a game in which he’s presented with enough chances and in a game like Stoke, when they will sit deeper, it probably plays to his strengths more than Theo’s. But anyway, thoughts on Saturday’s game can be saved until later on in the week.
The most important thing is that the players all come back fit and able to play against the Orcs. It doesn’t look like Ozil, Debuchy, Koscienly or Giroud have picked up any knocks and Rambo played the full 90 against Israel, so he should be OK. We just have to play the waiting game on tonight’s fixtures, so that’ll be the English and Spanish boys, then Osp[ina from Colombia on Wednesday. If we can everyone back all in one piece, we should be in good enough nick to start putting this run together as I feel like I’m constantly talking about.
So that’s that for today. Cross everything because after the Welbeck news at the weekend, we could really do without a number of other injuries cropping up before this Saturday.