Last night as The Management was doing a fitness video I decided to undertake a bit of channel surfing and, upon landing on the sports section on Sky TV, I found a host of international games going on.
My general malaise over all things internationals clearly extends beyond the boundaries of the domestic football season, because I lasted about six or seven minutes of Belgium v Scotland, before switching over to a channel featuring a documentary about how people lived in 1900 by the sea.
I mean really, haven’t we all suffered enough, that there’s international football clogging up airtime on the sports channels? Why is this happening? Why aren’t the players all on holiday getting fat like the ‘good old days’?
International football is a waste of time and frankly, I can’t really be bothered even thinking about what it means for next summer, because that feels a lifetime away right now. Arsenal have this summer to cock up from a transfer perspective and then a whole season to disappoint us, so next summers Euros feel like a distant project in the far-flung future!
Carrasco still dominates most people’s thinking, which I kind of get, because he looks to be the nearest. I had a (very brief) exchange on Twitter last night as Layth had written a decent piece about what the Carrasco arrival could do for Reiss Nelson’s future. In it Layth talked about the potential of limiting Nelson’s opportunities for getting in the first team next season but I don’t necessarily believe that. Carrasco is certainly a player who will compete for the wide positions, but his versatility, as well as Nelson’s, means that I think the opportunity will still be there for him, as well as the potential for both playing together.
Of course I should caveat this by saying that the latest rumours are that Bayern are allegedly sniffing around Carrasco and if that is substantiated by any decent source, I suspect this all becomes a moot point.
If you look at the problems we’ve had this season it has come from our lack of drive, athleticism and pace on the wings, whereby too often we relied on Kolasinac as our creative outlet. That surely needs to be addressed this summer but not just addressed on one side, but both sides, because Bellerin’s injury left us with a reliance on Maitland-Niles for our width. He did an admirable job but was found wanting many times – including the cup final where he gave a silly penalty away – and so to me I see a potential Carrasco arrival and Nelson return from loan as essential in providing us genuine wide options.
Iwobi isn’t good enough in the final third.
Auba doesn’t look natural as a wide-left forward.
Mkhitaryan was woeful in the wide positions and needs to be moved on this summer.
Our options out wide were extremely limited and as a result we really suffered with any kind of desire to ‘mix it up a bit’ tactically last season. Emery tried different variations on formations but without the right players to fit his variations, it was ‘square pegs, round holes’ time yet again at The Arsenal. If you give me two genuine wide players who excite the crowd, both of whom can play on either flank, it gives you options to change things, it allows you to rotate more, plus it provides a bit of risk management for potential injuries.
I’ve talked about backing the manager if you are going to give him the chance to be successful and that means giving him a variety of different tools for him to work with and when he is adopting different styles, he needs proper players who look natural in those positions, which is not what we had last season.
So what I’m looking for is that variety in style of player and if we do manage to pick up Carrasco then I think we still need another player for the wide positions. For me that is Reiss Nelson and so I’ll be watching this summers friendlies with intrigue because I want to see how he fits in.
I hope he does fit in. I hope Emery gives him a shot because he’s an exciting player who, at 19, is still growing and can become something special at the club if he is given time and if his attitude is right. Sometimes it’s good not to scoff at ‘internal solutions’ and I think we have a few at the club at the moment that we could take a serious look at.
So we should take a serious look at integrated them this summer.
Catch you all tomorrow.