On Henry, Coaching, & Bruising

“I love it when the player is as good as possible. If he does not play on an international level, a bit is lost.”

Arsène Wenger on Mesut Özil

For a man whose entire management career saw him rail against international football and overuse of players, it is surprising Arsène Wenger feels Mesut Özil must return to the Germany team if he is to play his best for the club. And you can bet he wouldn’t be saying that were he still in charge at the Emirates…

Wenger hasn’t lost his sense of humour. “In the next five years, it might happen that social media substitutes players during a match…This will happen.” 

The twinkle in his eye as he spoke hinted that the “I’ve got 22 years experience” as he’s told to substitute a favoured son.

Where that will be is another matter. PSG still hover in the background; maybe he’s talking about Germany because relegation to Nations League B won’t be seen as a year or two schlepping around new grounds. It certainly will be Joachim Low’s resignation note and a long one at that.

Wherever he ends up, good luck to him. He will inspire the players, as he did with Thierry Henry. Not that the new Monaco boss learned about football from him. No, that was from Pep Guardiola.

Pep for me is the reference. We learnt how to play the game when I went to Barcelona under him.

Thierry Henry…ouch!

Whether the intention was to be as brutal as it sounds in bites on an electronic back page is another matter. It underlines the difference in approach of both coaches. Guardiola, the pragmatist, involved and student of football; Wenger, paternal and nurturing.

If he finds the balance between the two, Henry could be a success.

Bruised Ankles, Bananas & Egos

On the Arsenal front, the international stragglers returned to training and we photographed being all intense and that. Everyone is fit who was expected to be apparently.

Danny Welbeck’s hamstring twanged but stopped reverberating so he’s back with the squad while Mesut Özil’s back isn’t spasming any more. Sokratis has a bruised ankle which will match the bruised banana next season’s away kit is sure to be.

The most intriguing returnee is Ainsley Maitland-Niles. If he didn’t have a double-barrelled surname already, ‘versatility’ would be inserted as one of them. However, his return offers an interesting dilemma for Unai Emery: who makes way in the squad? A short spell on the bench before 90 minutes against Blackpool? That may have been a match marked down as one for Elneny but I suspect, will see AMN and Guendouzi in tandem.

Which begs the question of what now for the Egypt international? Certainly, it seems only a run of bad injuries will put him into contention for the Arsenal XI. A January exit seems likeliest for Elneny which wouldn’t hurt the squad in terms of numbers. Six midfielders – seven if you class Alex Iwobi as one – without counting any of the youngsters such as Smith Rowe (still no hyphen), Willock, etc.

The squad is evolving, with Welbeck and Cech still seemingly heading toward the Emirates exit when contracts expire. An overhaul of the squad is only to be expected with a new boss but it seems most of the work may be completed in three transfer windows, even with the reportedly miniscule transfer budget we have next summer.

That’s a conversation for another day. There are plenty of those between now and kick-off against Leicester City on Monday night…

’til Tomorrow.

22 thoughts on “On Henry, Coaching, & Bruising

  1. ferkov says:

    Nice one.
    So Is the hyphen thing in , or is it out?

  2. C says:

    Good stuff Yogi.

    I actually think in the cups and group stages we could see Maitland-Niles/Guendouzi/Elneny with Elneny sitting allowing the 2 others to play their more natural all action all impact midfield roles.

    Cech and Welbeck, good luck to them but now is the time to let Leno continue to claim the #1 shirt and phasing Cech out. Kind of harsh, but it needs and needed to happen.

  3. C says:

    Emery says Sokaritis a doubt for Monday. All things considered, the pairing of Holding and Mustafi has been quite solid and while every now and then Mustafi has a lapse, can somebody, anybody name a CB who doesn’t?

  4. ferkov says:


    Fair question, though I think it is the Nature of Mustafi’s mistakes that are the source of anxiety. I’m happy with that partnership for Monday. I think Holding is a good foil as he seems to go looking for the aggressive CF to compete with, so taking some of the aggro off Mustafi.
    Ball in the air, u look across the line , your man has it , he’s a top player, …..
    FUCK how is he on his Arse? It is safer not to prepare for the unpredictable, otherwise it fucks all your Positive setup. I hope the psychologists are feverish.

  5. C says:


    Personally, don’t think he is nearly as bad as some make him out to be and he sure as hell wasn’t helped by Arsene’s lack of care for defending and last season by Kos’ injury/decline. He has a lot of good qualities and think under a system like Emery’s, he could develop. I tend to think, outside of the rare top quality youngsters, most CB’s get better with age and Mustafi just turned 26 this season.
    Holding, I think is a good prospect and could certainly come good as he develops.

  6. Blue Yonder says:

    Good description of Wenger – “paternal and nurturing”. I hope there will always be room for that in football. However, it can’t come at the expense of winning.

  7. ferkov says:

    I don’t think he’s bad. He’s got all the attributes there. His mistakes tho tend to be crass, so everyone spots them, even the numbskull pundits.

    There’s his tendency to look for a foul at the wrong moments for instance. Vertongen esq. Down like a pansy in the wind. He should learn that refs don’t ,and never will give those for Arsenal. It’s a shame that verton.. can’t finish it… gets away with it imo.

    As you say ,if he improves with age ,these decisions should be his priority.

  8. Blue Yonder says:

    Note that Wales managed an away win (Republic of Ireland) without Ramsey (or Bale) and Arsenal will as well when he has left (as seems more and more likely.) The crystal ball is a little foggy with respect to where he will wind up and the problem is I can’t see any of the top six sides that his style would permit him to walk into. That means either a lower side who could build around him or Europe. Cardiff City, his old team, would seem a natural fit if they could afford him. They certainly need scoring and he would be a returning son so might he accept lower money to do so? I know, this is football we’re talking about.

  9. ferkov says:

    Blue Yonder,

    That would require sentiment to outweigh his ambition.
    He gets to play the prodigal return thing with Wales, so I can’t see that luring him .
    It will be interesting,if very sad, to see what happens if none of the top 6 contenders come in, and we don’t offer a respectful contract.

  10. Thrillbo says:

    I hate to say it but I watch a fair number of non-arsenal EPL games on the weekends and you dont see other CBs falling randomly on their ass once a game. For some reason other CBs always appear so well drilled and solid compared to ours. Maybe because we leave our D exposed, while other teams tend to sit back and be organized?

    I just cant buy it that Mustafi makes the same level of mistakes as other quality CBs in the league. I mean, Yogi didnt name him & Kos the Chuckle Brothers for nothing. Every game you have a laugh while Mustafi does something rash and costs us. For example, have we seen any hilarity mistakes from Sokratis yet? Dont think so (could be wrong). If he is in trouble he just hooves the ball out of play instead of trying something fancy, gifting the ball to opposition and letting them score. I get playing from the back is important but playing solid D and non conceding is more important then possession of the ball.

    In truth i wish the best for him and hope that he can solidify his game. For me Mustafi is Koscielny Jr. They both have same type of play style and are prone to costly errors. For all his experience i dont think Laurent ever truly conquered his YIPS. He was still often seen pressing high up the pitch when it wasnt necessary, lunging into tackles because out of position etc. Hope Skhrodran can develop into quality but i’m afraid he is stuck at his current place. Solid CB but not top quality striking fear into opposition thinking shit we will never score. Instead our opposition are licking their lips thinking we can just sit back, let bellerin overload and then when we turn it over, hoof it as far as possible and let chuckle bro chuckle it up and hopefully get a score.

  11. C says:


    I see what people are saying but, for instance, I do think that people see 1 mistake as a, he’s a shit player who does nothing right. We love Kos but some of his mistakes even in recent years, have been SHOKING (see red card at end of season that put him out of the FA Final).

    He flourished in the tactical La Liga and is currently playing for a manager that does tactics….I think, like Bellerin, Iwobi and a couple others, they may be a much better player as and at the end of the season then he was at the beginning.

  12. ferkov says:


    Arsene never did share the orthodox taste in English defenders. Maybe Tony was right afterall.
    Well why would he? Orthodox English football needed to change. And it has. But Defenders are still there to defend. The Rock from which the others can flourish.
    Hence he never invested enough in Defenders. Verb not noun.

  13. ferkov says:

    Oh. There’s supposed to be a suitably insane emoticon after the Tony bit. But I couldn’t find anything apt.🦄

  14. C says:


    That could very well be true but I think it was more, defenders in general he had a distaste for.

  15. ferkov says:

    What a lot of strange fish he bought over the years. No obvious pattern, apart from always the impression that he was trying to make a silk purse from bargain Sows ears.
    Until Chambers and Gabriel. Top dollar, didn’t like them ( ? Resented paying that much for someone with so little creativity?), then fobbed them both off. Sacred blue.
    Don’t wish to be misunderstood here, I have huge respect for him, and appreciate that if you attack constantly then your back line don’t need be Defenders. Then along came the Oilbased billionaires to spoil the fun.

  16. C says:


    Gabriel is a strange one because he showed he couldn’t defend and, style and ability wise, was the replacement for the gimpy Kos and then he was sold only to be brilliant last season and equally this.

    There is hope, Emery with his understanding of tactics and Mislintat with Sanllehi and Fani, they will see defenders and bring them though they already have with our 2 Greek mobile mountains.

  17. C says:

    Haha, ol’ Jack makes me laugh with talk Ramsey gets into any of the top 6 sides….guess he forgot that Ramsey isn’t getting into Citeh ahead of De Bruyne, and the Silva’s or Liverpool and that midfield, Chelsea’s Kovacic and Jorginho, but mayhe Manure because they are a cluster fuck at the moment.

  18. ferkov says:


    Beware the fan favourite scorned.

    What’s he up to these days?

  19. Aaron says:

    Henry is screwed, but he does not realize it yet, and Viera might make it-maybe.
    Holding and Mustafi it is. Hold on.

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