Howdy fellas and ladies, hope you’re feeling fine and dandy on a Tuesday, wherever you may roam.
Let’s start today with some words about Mesut. Mainly because I like talking about him. The way he plays football is effortless and ever since we signed him, whenever there’s an article or an interview with him, I invariably tune in. Hopefully he’ll soon start feeling confident enough to start doing interviews in full English because it would be great to hear his slightly awkward sounding tones in my mother tongue. I like that about him too; for all his gliding and effortlessness on the football pitch, when he talks (or shouts at camera) he sounds like he should be a comic extra in a Pink Panther movie or something.
Still, he’s been talking to the official site and talking about them importance of the manager in him making his decision to sign for Arsenal, given the technical quality we have as a team and our style of play. All factors that led to his signature and as I’ll try to touch on in tomorrow’s match preview, factors that should see us be able to overcome a tough but beatable opponent in Zagreb.
I know when you read stories from players on the official site, that you have to realise that they have been cleansed and sanitised to within an inch of their life, but much like I knew WWF wrestling wasn’t real and still I got right in to it, I do the same when I hear about how happy players are at the club. I don’t doubt for a second Özil isn’t happy, but that isn’t really a blueprint for long term legacy building, which for every new signing we have I always hope for.
It is of course a slightly irrational thought process, I’ll admit, because when you look at the majority of footballers in any team these days, you can count on one hand how many have been at the club for more than six or seven years. But that will never stop me hoping for the same from every successful Arsenal player and I hope that Özil, Alexis et al can lay down roots at the club in a similar way that Henry did (and yes I know he left the club, but he spent long enough at Arsenal to build a legacy).
We should get some idea on team news today from Arsène and whilst I’m pretty confident I could at least name eight of the starting XI tomorrow night, it’s still useful to hear it from the horses mouth, so to speak. Apparently Big Per was in a car accident on the M1 during the week, but he’s ok and I’d expect would make the trip. Whether he retains his place, after some good showings by Gabriel, remains to be seen and it’s good to see that so many positions are no longer easy to predict. Both full backs, one centre half alongside Koscienly, the wide right and centre forward position; all of the question marks that we have as fans are positive, because competition breeds success. And we all want success. Lots of it.
Hopefully that competition will only get bigger when Welbeck and Wilshere return, but with the former already undergoing surgery and rumours that I’ve read on Twitter (I know, I know, fools errand and all that) that Jack too might require surgery – I’m yet to read anything from the club or online to corroborate the story – we might have to wait a little bit longer to get the full extent of competition for places that we want.
The news will be a bitter blow (if true) for Jack, but we are moving dangerously close to ‘The Diaby Zone’ with him I fear. I know his injuries have been in different places throughout his career, but that is probably worse news, because he’s probably more fragile and susceptible to breaking down as a result. Will he ever realise his potential? At this stage that’s a bigger question mark than there’s ever been, which will be gutting for all Arsenal fans concerned, because when we broke through we thought we had that player for 10 years+ at least.
At least we have the squad depth to cater for these injuries. That’s something to be positive about.
Right, I’ve rambled on long enough for one day, so I’ll let you go. Back tomorrow with some Zagrebian thoughts.