WE HAVE SOME ARSENAL FIRST TEAM CONTENT PEOPLE!!
Thank frigg for that, because that last international break was really getting on my wick. You know how sometimes these breaks can go quite quickly? No, me either, because that one get long. Probably longer than the others. It was maddening.
But Unai did his “Good afternoon” thing yesterday and gave us an update on players, playing on Monday night, playing against Sheffield United, as well as who he thinks top four rivals are and the racism issue that I spoke about in midweek. As usual we got some answers to the questions which just seemed to go around the houses a bit and not really say anything, but given my mind was on Özil yesterday (which is why I wrote the blog), I was particularly intrigued with his response to The Athletic article as well as the fact he’d said other players deserved to play more.
Of course Unai merely suggested it was a physical thing, which all but confirmed to us that he’d dropped Özil because he wasn’t putting a shift in for training. That in itself is a slight concern but let’s not forget Paddy Vieira was a notoriously bad trainer if you listen to the likes of Ray Parlour, although when it came to game day, that’s when Vieira turned into the monster that he was. Özil hasn’t really got near Vieira’s level but Patrick was a generational player. But I suspect that the training side wouldn’t make much of a difference if Özil has performed out of his skin every game he’s been involved in this season. Against Watford, Forest and in the Europa so far he’s done ok, but not exactly sparkling, so it becomes easier to drop a player like that if his training isn’t quite up to scratch. So to some extent I kind of understand where Emery is at with him.
He did say yesterday, however, that he’d improved and is looking better – a not-so-subtle code for “he’ll be in the squad on Monday” I suspect. I doubt it will be in the first team but Özil should surely make the bench I’d have thought. So hopefully the latest in this ongoing saga of boringness is over now and we can get back to what was happening towards the end of last season between Özil and Emery I.e. a marriage of convenience for the sake of the club.
The main good news is that both Tierney and Lacazette are now fit and much like Özil, I suspect the Frenchman will make the bench but perhaps Tierney will get himself a start. It’s been a long time coming but we’ve seen the difference he can make over Kolasinac so let’s hope that Monday night brings a Premier League debut from the start. I – as I’m sure you – feel like this will improve our team and whilst Bellerin may possibly be a week short of a start, we should be giving Kieran a shout this game week I reckon. Whether the boss goes with Maitland-Niles or Chambers is a question for Monday’s pre-match blog methinks.
What will also be a question is how the bloody hell we have such a shocking record up there. Without a win in four which has included three draws and a defeat. Sheffield United are hardly Chelski or United, but I remember that shocking game back in 2006, with Toure being done for pace by some random and then us going behind before the farce set in that had Jagielka going in goal and only having one real shot to face. That game felt very much like the kind of horrid performance we’ve seen a lot in recent years away from home so hopefully there’s a plan to banish some demons on Monday night. Lord knows we can do with it.
There wasn’t really a lot else to come from the press conference that I found of any interest, if I’m honest, mainly because they got stock responses from the manager. When asked about who our top four rivals were Unai simply said we have two teams in front and a few teams behind us. An absolute Yawnsville of an answer to an absolute Yawnsville of a question; as if he’s going to say “United don’t have a chance, Chelsea have a young team and Spurs are Spursy”. Perhaps if it was Arsène doing the conference we’d have got a clever quip, but Unai just isn’t that guy, something most of us have gotten used to by now.
So that’s it from me. It’s Friday, hopefully we have a weekend of some of our rivals slipping up, followed by a Monday night victory which unfortunately we have to wait around a bit for.