Morning folks. I tell you what, my back is killing me. Never had this before. Lower back pain. Managed to get through 35 years on this earth without anything such as a twinge, but for three days i’ve been waking up feeling like I’m in my 80s. Now I know how About DIaby must feel with all of the injury problems he’s had. Still, at least he’s got seven figures stuck in his bank account I guess.
As you can tell my the first 50 words or so we’re still very much in the no mans land in footballing terms. This is always a weird part of the year I find. It’s helped by the World Cup being just under two week’s away, but we’re knee deep in the mire that is post season, but not quite pre season yet. Speaking of which, when does post season finish and pre season start? And especially during a World Cup Year. Because the World Cup isn’t post season or pre season. It’s just, well, the World Cup I guess.
So yeah, this weird lull we’re in at the moment, which isn’t really bags of fun for any football fan is it? I guess at least we’re getting a little bit of transfer tittle tattle and despite the fact I generally despise it, because it’s taking place amidst the backdrop of a new manager, it kind of feels acceptable to me. That’s mainly because what I want to do as a football fan is to see who we snap up, then smash the life out of YouTube vids watching said player again and again, trying to form an idea on just how Unai Emery will set his team up next season. I even had a YouTube look at this Yancine Adil from PSG. That’s how much i’m craving this new season folks; I want to watch videos of a 17-year-old playing in youth team games for France and PSG.
The ‘off season’ eh? It’ll drive you mad.
Or if you’re Granit Xhaka, you’d probably say “sad” because he picked up a knock in training although thankfully for him it looks like it’s just bruising and nothing serious. It must be like walking on egg shells if you’re a player playing in games or training before the World Cup. You want to do enough to show you should be in the first team but you don’t want to over exert yourself so something like that happens to you. It’s a delicate line I guess.
I’m looking forward to seeing Xhaka in the World Cup though, because I want to have another look at how Switzerland deploy him. They have played him differently to how Arsenal have played him and given some of the things Emery has said about the importance of deeper lying pass distributors like Xhaka are, it does feel like he’ll have an important role to play in an Emery Arsenal team, but whether that remains the same or whether he’s deployed differently, I don’t know. I’ve heard people say that he’s deployed differently in the Swiss national team but I’m not really sure just how differently that is. I could probably read up on it but sometimes it’s just nicer to read up yourself and form your own opinion of a style of player I think.
So whether we’ll see Xhaka become more of a focal point at Arsenal like he is in the Swiss side, it remains to be seen, but it’ll still be interesting to watch him in action. Will he take up a more advanced role? Do the Swiss national team like to use him as the central pivot for more play? Doe he have legs around him that do the running, so his focus is when he’s facing towards opponents goals and playing balls into channels? How much defensive work will he be asked to do? Will his improvement at Arsenal in the last few months of the season mean that he adapts his game slightly compared to previous incarnations of Xhaka in the Switzerland team? I’d certainly like to see if we’re witnessing the evolution of one of our players in front of our very own eyes.
We’ll also have the added benefit of being able to see Lichtsteiner playing and unlike seeing him in previous years, this time we’ll have added incentive, because he’s clearly on the verge of it. He’s even doing it the Arsenal way. There are some players who would probably just say “Yeah, just waiting on my agent to confirm” but he’s towing the party line and saying nothing is done and he doesn’t want to comment on it. I suspect the Arsenal team have also pressed hard on him keeping schtum, especially after Unai shot his load too early when he was announced as manager.
Right, that’s me for another day, so I’ll see you tomorrow assuming my spine isn’t more wonky than Sarah Jessica-Parker’s dougie schnauzer.