While their input on the German stage is waning and causing ill-feeling with some supporters – underpinned by racist leanings – there’s no doubt that Team Özil is on the ball as far as Arsenal are concerned.
Or for the pre-season, at least. #1ö returned to training ‘early’, ostensibly because everyone told him how good training is under Unai Emery. For good, read different. Because it’s different, it feels good. As many former players commented, the double sessions are nothing unusual. However, because of the coach’s different ideas, the tasks are new. And new feels good.
Mesut didn’t return early though; he’s on the plane this weekend and needed his tests completing. And to be honest, he probably can’t wait to get involved and feel the love after the wretched summer he endured with Germany.
No more gloating over Olivier Giroud with the Frenchman being a World Cup winner as well. Apparently, Özil would rib – gloat in newspaper terms – Giroud about being a World Cup winner. In my mind’s eye, the scene played out in much the same Franck Lebeouf’s appearance on They Think It’s All Over.
“Hey Mesut, pass the ball”
“Why should I? I am a World Champion”
These things never end well. Although they did for Giroud this summer, of course.
It’s all quiet as the club prepares for the Singapore jaunt. Sevilla bottled it and we now face Lazio in Stockholm on 4th August. The fluidity of these opponents is such that at some point we’ll play a team in the first half with different opponents in the second.
It’s a bit more practical than playing two ninety minute friendlies on the same day. Ajax tried that yesterday – a draw with Wolves, defeat to Walsall in case you wondered – both on the same ground as well.
My Lucky Number’s Seven
There was an interesting quote in yesterday’s Guardian about the new transfer window. English clubs, according to one agent, were ill-prepared for the early close to the summer’s business. There’s a shocker; England? Ready to go it alone and wholly unprepared? It’s got a familiar ring to it…
Many were way behind in their purchases with three Premier League clubs – Burnley, Everton and the Swamp Dwellers – yet to buy. The expectation is that foreign clubs are waiting to raid their English counterparts once 9th August passes. Their logic is that having bought all the players they want, clubs will be desperate to sell.
For fringe players, I’d certainly expect that to be true. While the deals for the ‘stars’ will go through as usual, i.e. now, those who aren’t going to feature linger like a bad smell. They are the ones we need to shift on. In Arsenal’s case, it’s claimed seven players need to be sold so we can buy two more.
Emery said earlier this summer he wants three first-team goalkeepers so two will move on. I’d guess they are looking at Ospina and Martinez, but whoever we receive an offer for is the lucky winner. It’s not hard to pick the other five: Welbeck Jenkinson, Perez, Akpom, and Campbell.
I’d add Mustafi to that list to raise funds. I get the feeling that certainly this summer, Koscielny’s injury saved the German’s bacon. Had both been fit, one would certainly have gone and I suspect that being club captain would signal the Frenchman being kept.
Not that being club captain is anything other than a poisoned chalice. Look at the recent history and it’s essentially Arsenal telling players their time is up. One way or another, you are out the door in the next couple of seasons.
You’re All Doing Very Well
It’s quiet other than that. According to the Telegraph, we’re employing a pointy-head who worked on Candy Crush to do all sorts of fascinating stuff behind the scenes, and essentially bring a bit of science into the set-up. While Wenger revolutionised diet in the English game, Arsenal seriously lagged behind other clubs in medical treatment and use of data or video analysis.
We’re playing catch-up and hopefully, with minds more attuned to using this information, we’ll be making the best use of the information. It is interesting the way football is embracing technology and data to improve players, from signing them through to technique.
I can’t, however, get excited by it. Interested, yes, but it doesn’t float my boat, as they say. It’s much the same as new executives in retail or sales. Good stuff, welcome to the club, I’m sure you’ll do well; now when’s the next match.
And that’s what matters. It’s all about improving performances and anything which does that is a welcome investment – well, not quite anything – but I’ll carry on in my Luddite ways, ignorance is bliss, etc.
I don’t know what the technology is beyond that which is in the paper. I don’t have a demo copy on my laptop to play with and see it in action so while it’s interesting to read about, there’s an intangible element to it all. Plus I don’t know how other clubs are set up, so there’s no benchmark to judge how we’re doing against it.
It’s all a bit ‘Young Mr Grace’, isn’t it?