Ahh man this Interlull is interminable. It feels like the world has literally ground to a halt as we patiently await the return of actual, proper, football.
I’ll be honest with you, even the news that Henrikh Mkhitaryan bagged goals and assists for Armenia, or that Reiss Nelson bagged an Under-21 goal with a free kick last night, isn’t even enough to peak the slightest interest in me.
Nor is the birthday of Mesut Özil keeping me sated. He’s 30, the club put lots of messages about how fabulous he is on social media, etc, etc, and I’m sure that was enough to avoid “a Yaya” so we can all breathe a sigh of relief.
There did seem to be a lot of it yesterday. I have notifications on my phone for anything Arsenal Tweet and I’m sure it went off about seven or eight times yesterday. I don’t recall any other players getting such treatment and I know he’s the jewel in our team crown (let’s not argue about how much he sparkles right now, or whether he should be said jewel, he just is given his status and wages), but it does feel like he gets extra heavy petting from the club, especially compared to some other players.
And I’m trying to reconcile in my head why that is. Is it happening right now because the clubs social media team have been trigger happy all season anyway as they have more freedom to tweet and do other stuff now that Arsène’s gone? Or is it because Mesut came back from the World Cup a little mentally battered and bruised because of what happened and how he felt he was scapegoated?
It does feel as though he has needed a little metaphorical hug or two since he’s returned to the club this summer. The World Cup did him no psychological favours and we also have a manager who takes a harder line on him than the laissez-faire approach of Arsène Wenger. So perhaps all of this social ‘love in’ that is happening serves a wider purpose than just keeping the Arsenal Social Media Team busy?
My hope is that Emery finds Özil the perfect role in his Arsenal team and we start to see the German flourish again. I’ve always loved watching him play; he can be a magician with his vision and the way he connects the attacking part of our team, so I always think he should be playing so we can get that magic from those boots of his. But perhaps we can only et that when he is given all the love in the world.
Or perhaps not. Mourinho was manager at Madrid when Özil was a star and giving Ronaldo goal after goal on a plate and you only have to read some of the word written by Özil about the friction Mourinho had in the dressing room at times which sometimes inspired the German. Perhaps Emery’s approach is trying to mimic this; providing the right balance of ‘tough love’ to give the German enough of a carrot to get the best from him?
Who knows. But what we do knows is that so far this season, his form has been a little patchy. Partially that’s been because the team set up hasn’t been right with too much congestion in the middle and players playing on top of one another, taking up similar positions and generally looking a little awkward at times. We’ve got away with it and built a winning run, but to me I feel like we need to sort out that congestion and find a way to get the best out of Özil, if we want to be successful on the pitch this season.
But anyway I’m starting to ramble. I should probably leave it there for the day because quite frankly the prospect of having to talk about the UEFA Nations League is a bit of a joke if you ask me.
Catch you all tomorrow. Hopefully there’ll be some news starting to filter through about the team and who’s fit for next Monday.