So, those pesky Chilean’s have confirmed that Alexis will be playing for Chile tonight which whilst could leave some to being happy because his injury isn’t as bad as first seemed, given the strapping on his leg You’d suspect they are patching him up and hoping for the best rather than him fully recovering.
I’d imagine it will be the Arsenal med team and Arsène Wenger who will take the morale high ground in terms of his fitness, should he make it through tonight’s game, which means we’ll probably not see the guy at the weekend. It would be the right thing to do and whilst I’m kind of being a bit presumptuous here, it’s an educated guess that suggests it’s better to rest him for a week, than risk losing him for a couple of months. Still, we’ll have to wait until the weekend to find out from Arsène how he is, and we need to pray that nothing serious happens to him tonight.
If he doesn’t make it for Saturday, it will place added pressure on Özil to be that focal point of the team, but it will also mean the German has to potentially adapt his style from this season to last season. Michael Cox says some interesting things about the pair combining this season and whilst Giroud can still provide good foil for Özil to operate in his newer, more forward-lying role in the team, he might still find himself operating as an assist king if Olivier is positioning himself centrally, in the box, when our build up play begins. If Alexis is missing for a period of games it will be good to see what Ollie and Mesut can do to combine with one-another. In the Sunderland game we saw that Giroud can still get on the end of Özil’s balls, so I am hopeful that we can still see a good partnership that could develop between the two.
What I’m also hopeful for, is the return of Santi, because I think that could be a real confidence booster for the team ahead of another tough away day at Old Trafford. That tiny little Spaniard is a ball retention machine and Xhaka is also proving to be good in that regard, so a base of a midfield who don’t lose the ball, is the beginning of a positive and stable team set up that can give confidence to the defenders. In particular the full backs. If, as a left or right back, you know your central midfielders will be able to keep hold of the ball whilst your team has possession, you feel more comfortable in going forward. You know that if they’ve got the ball then you can supplement the attack and so if Santi and Xhaka are available and ready to start against United then I hope they do, because I think we could get some joy from our fullbacks venturing forward on Saturday, especially someone like Nacho. Fresh from scoring with Spain and having got one already at Old Trafford, it’d be interesting to see how he gets on if given the time and space in United’s box, no?
Elsewhere, it’s nice to see Gnabry hail the influence of Arsenal after his hat trick for Germany at the weekend. Whilst we can no longer claim him as our own, it’s nice to know that he still holds some positivity for the club. Like I said in my blog the other day, it’s a shame he had to jump ship so early, because he’d definitely have been given his chance this season. But I suspect that unlike Pogba, we won’t be seeing a return to Arsenal for him one day. He’s doing well at Bremen, but his rise to prominence at that team will do one thing if he’s successful, which is to secure him a move to Munich. That’s what happens to decent young German players and given the slightly questionable nature of how Munich seemed to be involved in the transfer and then not involved, I think his future is tied to Bayern if he’s successful. If he’s not successful, why would Arsenal try to re-sign him? We want the best players in the world to play for us and with all due respect to Werder Bremen, the only way we’d try to pick up a player from them would be as their star player rather than a player we’re taking a punt on.
Still, like I said, at least it’s something that he has good things to say about Arsenal.
There really isn’t much else going on right now. This international break has felt longer, more boring, fraught with more irritating news than many an international break before it. England play tonight but it’s a friendly game against Spain, to which I really couldn’t give a monkeys. I just hope all of our players return back alive.
Catch you tomorrow. Maybe some Arsenal news will start to trickle through.