A fascinating characteristic in the animal kingdom is the single-mindedness of the herd to sacrifice one of its own to save the whole. You see it when the prey kill or sacrifice an injured member so they don’t slow down the whole pack as they flee from predators. Perhaps the time has come for Arsenal to cut its losses and make the team whole again.
Chelsea away showed us the importance of the team is greater than the sum of its parts. Both Petr Cech and Nacho Monreal alluded to the fact that the team recognized they had to redeem themselves in the eyes of the fans and make themselves righteous again.
Seven wins since the mauling at Liverpool. Four of those came in the Premier League without conceding a goal; not a bad return at all. I’d be surprised if Arsenal wasn’t the team of the month in September. For the most part, it happened because of the team ethic and not a superstar carrying the side.
The question is whether we can achieve the same consistency for the rest of the season. The next few Premier League games against Watford, Everton and Swansea start answering this question, giving us a chance to sneak into the top four under the radar.
Winnable matches one and all but only if the players continue to apply themselves in the right way.
Of Mental Flight and Diminishing Returns
Speaking of flying under the radar, Mesut Ozil undoubtedly used the drama of Alexis Sanchez to skate past the dodgy terrain of the supporters wrath. Until now that is.
Özil’s PR team served their client well. In Australia when they promised it was all in hand, he was so convincing that we believed him. Yesterday, a photo op next to an Arsenal branded gym mat showed the German hard at work recovering. Considering he only played 9 minutes against West Brom, you could be forgiven for scratching your head and wondering how he got injured again just before the trip to Belarus.
Is Wenger pulling an ‘Almunia’ on Ozil? After the Spaniard’s West Brom “Supermare” at the Emirates conceding three inexplicable goals, the Spaniard was never seen in between the Arsenal sticks again. The official reason was a strange injury which kept reoccurring; he never became ‘fully fit’ again until he joined Watford.
Thomas Vermaelen suffered the same fate after being left holding the bag following that debacle at Spurs. There’s no doubt that Wenger’s always been ruthless that way.
There’s no question that the team is more balanced and performed better without Özil in the last few games. We defended better as a team and attacked more cohesively. Özil for sure has his moments but when we’re not playing well, my sense is that he is a liability and we end up playing with 10 men.
Perhaps the time has now come for Arsenal to cut its losses with Özil. Jack Wilshere and Alex Iwobi have a great opportunity to stake a claim for that No. 10 spot; they need to grab it with both hands and refuse to let go. Martin Keown’s view is that just like Elvis, Ozil has mentally left the stadium.
What Neymar Wants, Neymar Gets
Just ask Edinson Cavani. These are strange times when a player gets to dictate to a club who to buy in the transfer window. If you believe the stories out of PSG, Neymar decided the French giants should get rid of Cavani and get him (!) Alexis Sanchez. Apparently, the Brazilian and Chilean are good friends, just like our Lacazette is with Antoine Griezmann.
In this circus, I suppose I’d be happy with Ozil and Alexis being let go in return for Thomas Lemar and Antoine Griezmann or Edinson Cavani. But if wishes were horses, most of us would have a ranch by now. Go on Lacazette, pull your finger out and do a Neymar; demand your BFF is signed by Arsenal.
There’s No Business Like Football Business
YW posed a question this week: why would Kroenke want to let go of Arsenal?
Of course, he wouldn’t. With the top 6 Premier League clubs demanding 35% of a £11 billion jackpot from TV rights in the next 10 years, our Stan is going nowhere. 11 billion is a conservative figure; Facebook, Google, Apple, Amazon and Alibaba – 5 of the 7 most powerful and wealthiest companies in the world – want to bid for EPL broadcast rights in the next round.
No Sir, our Kroenke isn’t going anywhere. That’s why he wants to be rid of Usmanov so that he can disappear Arsenal into the nether regions of the Delaware forests. You know he’s going to leverage Arsenal to the hilt, right?
Peter Hill-wood was right after all, “We don’t want his lot around here”. Yet here we are.
That might also answer the question why the love fest between Wenger and Kroenke. From a billionaire’s perspective, Wenger is a safe pair of hands, one of the biggest assets he has who won’t rock the boat but keep Arsenal on an even keel.
This, of course, is the bone of contention with most if not all the fans. We don’t want to be on an even keel. All we want is to win, life trophies, hold the bragging rights, and watch beautiful football from big-name players. We want it all and we want it now!
Have a great weekend good people.
Thanks, Isaac. Just a quick note that Bandcamp A2Z is live on Dad’s Jukebox, brought to you this week by the letter B.