On Rotation, Consistency and Summer Sales

The matches come thick and fast for the next fortnight with European and domestic cups interspersed among the Premier League schedule. With injuries taking their toll, the depth of the squad is being tested and it’s fair to say, next weekend will be found wanting.We’ve got two fit centre-backs and both are suspended.

It brought home the reality of our situation; in several key areas we’re one serious injury away from being short-handed. It’s a reason why I can’t see any major departures this winter without that money being immediately reinvested.

Raul Sanllehi’s observation that he dislikes January is a guiding light no matter how tempting it is for you to think there’s more than an inkling of truth in the Özil to Internazionale stories.

How much of Özil’s inconsistency this season is down to his back problem is hard to assess. It will impact but then he’s prone to bouts of inconsistency anyway; it’s the ‘curse’ of the talented player. Not the exceptional ones, I agree but the rest of the mere mortals.

But Özil is very much on the receiving end of Unai Emery’s ‘honeymoon’ period where anything he says, goes. He lost the power battle with Neymar at PSG where the hierarchy indulge the Brazilian, in his thrall thanks to the ludicrous fee paid for his services.

Emery, I suspect, is not going to allow a player to usurp his control; Arsenal will do everything his way, certainly on the pitch. His interview with a Spanish journalist earlier this year was telling:

I always prepare set-pieces extensively, and that has often worked in my favour. But when you have Neymar, sometimes there isn’t much more that you need — Neymar becomes your strategy.

The only strategy now is making sure everyone toes the company line.

Short Arms, Deep Pockets

There are more pressing problems than Özil. Henrik Mkhitaryan’s form for starters. His salary is big by Arsenal’s standards and in a club where value for money is key, we’re being short-changed.

His defensive work is often under-appreciated but in attack, which is his principal role, the end product is lacking. Based on their respective form since, we came out of the Alexis deal well. However, not as good as we set ourselves up to believe; one startling season in Dortmund is a millstone in the weight of expectations.

In some respects, it’s not dissimilar to Aaron Ramsey’s situation. A stellar season followed by respectable returns but failing to live up to the expectations created for him.

That isn’t to let the players ‘off the hook’. Consistency in performance is far from the simple flipping of a switch. A regular run in the side is more likely to manifest in consistency and consistency brings a regular run in the side; a vicious circle, particularly if you’re expected to come off the bench (ir)regularly.

Maybe – and it is a big maybe – the busy Christmas spell will provide the spark as Unai Emery rotates the squad.

In the meantime, the academy players get chances on Thursday and maybe next week against Spurs. These players are a reason we may be busier next summer. Danny Welbeck is leaving, Aaron Ramsey too. It will be no surprise if Mkhitaryan is sold with Reiss Nelson returning from his loan spell.

Whatever the outcomes, even just those three leaving frees a substantial chunk of wages. Add Özil into that and Arsenal can restructure their wage bill significantly. No money to buy anyone…

’til Tomorrow.

11 thoughts on “On Rotation, Consistency and Summer Sales

  1. Jonnygunner says:

    G’day YW and All 🙋🏼‍♂️

  2. C says:

    Well done Yogi!

    Not just those 3 but Ospina is set for a permanent 3m move to Napoli, where he is receiving rave reviews, but also Cech.

    Rotation will be interesting because with Nacho now fit, will Emery now give Maitland-Niles more opportunities in midfield and give Torriera a rest…I for one hope so. Mhkitaryan needs to add end product but if there is positives to take is that he is getting in the right positions and seeing the right passes, just not executing.

  3. Pete the Thirst says:

    The defence is a headache all of a sudden. We can patch it together for a game or two, but Koscielny is going to be rusty and Monreal with Lichtsteiner is weak in the air. Charlie Austin will be delighted to have his one world class game of the year against Arsenal again.

    Mkhitaryan looks like he’s lost his pace and Iwobi’s confidence has gone on holiday again. Thank goodness Toreirra has been outstanding for the past few weeks.

  4. Bill says:

    Great post Yogi

    I would be shocked if we can find a way to offload Mesut Ozil. Hopefully there is some team in the world who still believes his reputation and has not watched any of our games and has more money then sense. When he signed the new contract I thought he would set the all time record for fewest goals and assists per dollar of wages of any attacking player in history. In reality I was wrong because Alexis Sanchez probably has that record but Mesut is certainly going to be a close second.

    I am a huge fan of our new front office but they really had a brain fart with the Mkhitaryan trade. He has not really done anything of note since that one season at Dortmund. We already had Ozil, Wilshere and Ramsey so why get another purely creative player who does not score, doesn’t add any signficant pace or width when he plays out wide and does not add anything on the defensive end. We compounded the mistake by giving him a huge contract. I have no idea what they were thinking. We should have taken as much money as we could get for Sanchez and spent it on a defensive player or a wide forward who can bring some end product.

    As for this transfer window we has several holes to fill if we hope to make a real move toward the top of the table in the next couple of seasons. We need a CB. LB to replace Nacho because Kolasinac is probably not the right player if we use a back 4. Attacking midfielder since Ramsey is leaving and none of Ramsey, Ozil or Mkhitaryan look like a reasonable short or long term answer at that position. We also need a wide forward who can give us some production. Iwobe is what he is, a player with decent technical skill but zero end product.

  5. Welsh corgi cardigan says:

    Very nice post YW and I do like the clock work orange dystopia in your reasoning. It’s realistic and gloom and I’d rather have Özil on board but not at any cost and if he’s not on board with change, then sod off.

  6. Blue Yonder says:

    “A Night To Remember”, of course, but surely Emery and the boys aren’t on board the Titanic?

    If this were still the Wenger years, with Le Prof making all the decisions, I would be more concerned but the club has a better working model now and I feel the combined brains trust will come up with ideas aimed at solving the depth crisis. Sell and re-invest is obvious except that some of those to be sold may not realize the amounts we need and buying is never cheap these days. Time for Enos to dip into his sack and shower largess on mere mortals.

  7. LSG says:

    Top stuff, Yogi. I will be surprised if Mkhitaryan is sold in January, however. Who is going to take him off our hands with 3 years left on a contract at an astronomical wage? It is hard to see without a low low fee and AFC subsidizing the wages very seriously, at that point, how valuable would that be for us? Vs Huddersfield I would have played him instead of Guendouzi behind the two strikers. He might have created more at the start. But he has certainly been one of the big disappointments for me this season.

  8. Jonnygunner says:

    Morning YW…..did you have a problem with your site last night?

  9. Jonnygunner says:


    I couldn’t access it on either iPhone or iPad

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