Football is all about signals and signs. From the one or two arms raised moments before another corner fades to obscurity through to transfer rumours and contract renewals. It’s all signals and signs. Arsenal are no different.
The biggest giveaway that the club is going to offer a player a new deal? The summer before when they tried to offload him. Arsène told Jack he could do one, now he’s been offered a new contract. Arsenal tried to offload Mo Elneny last year but now he’s here until 2022.
I don’t think that’s a bad thing either. You need squad players and honestly, he does the job he’s asked to do. A ‘Water Carrier’, he just gets on with it, knowing he can play the game of his life but he’s back on the bench for the next game.
Gareth Southgate did the club no favours admitting that Jack is “managing” tendonitis in his knee. No wonder he won’t sign a pay-as-you-play contract. Arsenal know he has a medical issue but still play him now, aggravating the condition. You don’t run something like that off.
Let’s not forget that the club, like every other, is bound by the shackles of short-termism and if a player can walk for the next 90 minutes he’s needed, he’s playing. Wenger admitted some years ago that he overplayed Wilshere when the player was a teenager. The needle was firmly entrenched in the fabled red zone and Arsène didn’t rest his midfield tyro. Now the problems of that decision haunt us.
The Wilshere situation is just bizarre. Wenger, no doubt aware of the criticism about the situation, flip-flopped and now puts his “weight” behind Jack staying. Given Arsène looks gaunt these days, it’s less weight than he previously had. It must be a blessed relief to get on the training ground to forget his woes for 90 minutes or so.
God knows what the player makes of it. He’s expected to give his all every week for a club which acts as if they don’t care whether he stays and a manager who doesn’t know if he’s coming or going.
It used to be the Windsors who were the benchmark for dysfunctionality; Arsenal gives them a good run for their money.
Psychotic…But Absolutely Right
Tomas Rosicky must be thinking ‘thank god I got out there when I did’ while goodness knows what Santi Cazorla is thinking. More about walking and running again than about a contract, I guess. What will the new ruthless Arsenal do with the Spaniard?
Anyway, these are distractions from the real business of what happens on the pitch. The squad is patched up and back on the training ground. Aaron Ramsey and ‘Big Al’ Lacazette joined PEA after a few days off. A change is as good as a rest, etc.
Looking at the photos, there aren’t many players ‘missing’ with their countries. Let’s put it this way, we could field a strong XI in a cup-tie if we needed to.
Are managers experimenting this international window? Southgate certainly is with England but others seem to be fielding strong sides which underlines how few world-class players we genuinely have. Löw once again ensured his prized asset is not knackered for the World Cup finals by sending Mesut Özil home for a rest.
Which is all good for us. We need a strong line-up this weekend to make sure that we play our part in sealing Stoke City’s fall into obscurity. The Championship is welcome to the Orcs and with a bit of luck with boot them into League One in double-quick time.
This Situation Absolutely Requires a Really Futile and Stupid Gesture
It’s a big seven days when the club action returns. Three home games, two against relegation-threatened sides and the first leg against CSKA which we must win. A sign of relative success will be playing two games a week (more or less) until the end of the season.
Looking at the league table, we can rotate our XI for the Premier League and still expect a good points return from the remaining fixtures. The danger is complacency, however. Burnley could be a six-pointer while United is a benchmark fixture. It’s sandwiched between the two legs of the Europa League semi-final; do we sacrifice the game?
Finishing sixth or seventh makes no difference as far as next season is concerned. Both drop the respective teams into the third qualifying round of the Europa League. That’s the footballing perspective; financially it’s worth £2-3m in prize money.
Would you accept a weakened side at Old Trafford if it meant a strong XI for both legs of the semi-final? I would.
What are they going to do that they haven’t already done to us? Thinking it couldn’t be worse than the 6 – 1 proved foolish, but surely we cannot capitulate more than 8 – 2? Surely?
Before you answer that, remember this is Mourinho’s United and when it gets to 2 – 0, they park the bus. At 4 – 0, the team don hard hats, get out the string and spirit levels as they build a depot for a fleet of buses to park in.
No, I’d live with a weakened team.
Just the minor matter of reaching the last four then.