Apparently there was a ‘behind-closed-doors’ friendly that took place either yesterday or the day before, in which both Bellerin and Özil played, prepping them fitness-wise for upcoming games.
I often wonder how they come about you know. Does Unai drop a note to another Premier League Manager and ask them if he wants to come out and play?
Hey! Quique! Good evening. Ju waaaan to play de foootball metch witch jour team n’mine?
Probably not. There’s probably a few members of the back room team who organise these sorts of things. But given that Watford and Arsenal train next to each other, if I was in charge of that, I’d be tempted just to play them every time we want to do a ‘behind-close-doors’ game.
The inclusion of Bellerin makes perfect sense but I find it interesting that people are also talking about Özil and his involvement. As far as we’ve been aware he’s fit and available so perhaps this leak from the club – and it is no doubt a leak by the club about the behind-closed-doorsiness of it all – is a bit of a way to explaining why he hasn’t been playing much.
There’s no doubt that having Mesut Özil available for the team is better than not having him at all – even on the bench – but this feels like a move from the club to surreptitiously show that he hasn’t exactly been putting everything in.
That’s certainly what I’ve heard and by the sounds of it his running stats and general effort in training are being questioned by the club. If that’s true then it does explain why the complete cold shoulder by the manager and after last season’s clear falling out around January/February time, I thought Özil had been making a concerted effort to get himself back in the team by working hard in training, or at least that’s what Unai Emery has said.
If Özil has now reverted back to not going the extra mile for the manager at London Colney then it does give us more of an explanation as to why what has unfolded has indeed unfolded how it has.
That’s certainly not how he’s positioning it and is even saying he’s doing extra training at the moment. Kudos to Ornstein for the interview with a player who doesn’t usually do that type of interview, but maybe he’s in a position where he feels he needs a bit of a PR boost. It’s a good article and worth a read if you’ve got The Athletic because it goes into more than just current form and looks like a real genuine attempt to explain what’s been going on.
He talks about the World Cup, the issues with the national team, his illnesses (pointing out its usually in Winter and he never tries to miss a game) as well as how the attack had an impact on him. It’s heartfelt and hopefully even served to get a bit off his chest. Anything that will help us to get the old Mesut Özil back. Because despite what a few idiots on social media have said – one muppet yesterday even suggested he was one of the worst players we’ve had at the club – Mesut Özil has delivered in an Arsenal shirt. His first couple of seasons he was a player bagging assist after assist and if we’d have had an Aubameyang instead of a Giroud leading the line who knows how many additional assists he’d have got. And who knows what might have been that year Leicester won the title. That season it felt like we were a world class striker away from a league title and the signing of just Petr Cech that summer still feels like a massive opportunity lost. Had we got that Aubameyang-style footballer, might we be talking about Özil differently?
Who knows. All I know is that some people have very short memories.
My hope is that we see him sooner rather than later. If we want top four we’ll need him because from what I’ve seen there are certain games where a player of his craft can make a difference.
Catch you all tomorrow.