Happy Friday to you and unto your kin. I hope you are well. I am still wrestling with my emotions from an Arsenal front if I’m honest. That’s because I’m trying to reconcile the rapidly deteriorating football quality with the injection-in-arm adrenaline boost of signing one of the world’s strikers, followed by the confirmation on the official website that Özil has – in his words – “signed dat thing”. I think ultimately the fact that these two deals get done gives me the satisfaction and boost that every Friday should have but as with all shots of adrenaline that will soon wear off.
So what needs to replace it is results and that is something that has felt increasingly more difficult away from home. With our next away game against the Totts in just over a week I suspect it isn’t going to get any easier for us but, at least for now, there is another game that can dominate the discussion and that will be Everton at home.
The manager will take his usual position in front of the furry mics and journos to answer questions about the game but, as is the way with the tabloid press, much will be focused on transfer activity as well as how Arsène fits in some players like Iwobi and Lacazette into his team.
There is so much of Arsène that is about actions rather than words and I expect his press conference today to be no different. I suspect he’ll talk about every player getting a chance, about how he can play some players together like Lacazette and Aubameyang, but I think we’ll only ever see that when there’s the inevitable “we’re behind so sh*t, we better do something” approach with ten minutes to go. It’s his modus operandi and we all know it.
What I hope we don’t do is completely ‘kill’ Lacazette’s Arsenal career like we did with Chamakh. Hear me out here folks. We all know Chamakh wasn’t really up to scratch but when he joined he bagged a fair few goals within the first 10 to 12 games. I thought he looked good and I saw a decent – if not spectacular – player. But as soon as Van Persie was back he was essentially never to be seen again. I can’t even remember him coming on as sub much.
Now, part of his fall was down to van Persie’s form, part was his own confidence smashed into the ground, but when Wenger insists on playing some players despite their clear lack of form (Denilson, Eboue, Arshavin, now Iwobi), it does saddens me how some get chucked on the scrapheap so quickly.
I think Lacazette is a good player. He’s been quite misfortunate to be in an Arsenal team where only Mesut and Ramsey appear to play to his strengths. He’s struggled of late but when you’ve got players like Iwobi dribbling past three and not releasing the ball to you because he prefers to drill it wide, or straight down the ‘keepers throat, what are you to do?
I feel like he might get another shot from the start tomorrow though. It’s just the sort of thing Wenger does. He did it last season with Xhaka. There’s the famous comment about watching the Stoke game from the bench for Robert Pires, as well as countless other examples of how the manager ‘eases’ players in. Auba will be no different I suspect.
So in some sense I hope Lacazette starts and scores tomorrow. He needs it but actually, we all need it, because we need a bit of competition in our team to keep players on their toes, because it feels like some of those players are getting free passes at the moment.
Xhaka for example. At fault on Tuesday for the first goal, why not give Maitland-Niles a shot in midfield tomorrow, to show Xhaka that if he wants to make it he needs to do more?
I doubt that’ll happen though. I have probably bored you enough with my theories of Arsène and his ‘hierarchies’ of players. It is evident when you see who is not performing and ‘undroppable’. That’s still the case today and I don’t see it changing until the manager himself changes.
Right, that’s it from me for another Friday, as I realise that this year I’m coming up to having written this blog for seven years now. I celebrate my Twitterversary today too – eight years on the platform. Jebus I feel old.
Catch you all tomorrow with a match preview.