United Out, Kitted Out, Aaron’s Out: One Out, All Out

Life does like to hand out lessons when you get too full of yourselves. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer found out the hard way that brash claims about being good enough to win the Champions League lead to a fall. And United fell to earth in an Arsenal-style defeat to PSG.

A reminder of the heady days of facing Bayern Munich and feeling hope slowly seep out of you as the game unfolded. I talk of the 3 – 1 defeat, everything after that was just par for the course; expectations were low thereafter.

It wasn’t quite as funny as Chelsea falling flat on their faces at the weekend but to see their previously indefatigable self-belief punctured was delicious. Yes, I’m aware of the dangers of gloating at another club’s misfortunes. Even the most unsuperstitious of people understand where I’m coming from there.

And no, I don’t miss the Champions League. I am aware we need the money but that’s a separate issue. I dislike European club formats these days and made no secret of that when we were in the Champions League every season. A knockout tournament with no seeds – a pure knockout cup – is and always has the ideal but that ship sailed a long time ago.

The Europa League is, of course, no better. The UEFA Cup was killed by the Champions League expansion and the weakness of the Cup Winners Cup. Given that three competitions was previously unsustainable, quite, it’s not clear where UEFA thinks the appetite for a third competition emerged from.

The cash rewards for the new Europa League II is unlikely to make it a financial success. There is a financial gulf between the two current competitions. If the Europa League isn’t in the same neighbourhood as the Champions League, ELII isn’t in the same universe.

Kitted Out

Our immediate future is the Europa League. The FA Cup defeat to United gives us a weekend off which will factor into Unai Emery’s thinking. BATE Borisov away and home are our next two games which changes the line-up for Thursday I should imagine. There is no ‘gain’ from playing the second string this week. Run up a big enough win and certainly think about a different XI for the home leg.

It’s a difficult decision. Unless he plays the first XI for both legs, there is a 10 to 14-day gap between games for players. We see how hard they find it to play well after international breaks; will this be any different? Yes, they will be training together but is that enough?

The medical update has just been issued by the club. Sokratis is back (woo-hoo, no more Mustafi), Xhaka’s back, Aubameyang and Ozil too. But Aaron’s not. Aaron’s got a bad knee and can’t play. Next, it will be a hamstring injury and then ankle. Possibly back as well, given Mesut used that for an undefined absence. And then before you know it, he’s never seen in an Arsenal shirt again…

And loosely on the subject of the Arsenal shirt, there are pictures circulating which purport to be of next season’s away kit.

If true, Adidas are certainly looking to curry favour with fans by revisiting the 1980s with the tonal yellow stipes and blue sleeves. Of course, this could just turn out to be a sweatshop knock-off which will do the rounds at Benidorm market but it’s a helluva lot better than anything Puma managed in their disastrous tenure as kit designer.

First world problems, eh?

’til Tomorrow.

44 thoughts on “United Out, Kitted Out, Aaron’s Out: One Out, All Out

  1. Poor old United, eh?

    That Mbappe lad looks to be The Player for the next generation. Another name on the ‘I could have bought him’ list that Arsene knocked together. I wonder…

  2. Man U out??? HoHoHo!
    I LL gloat any & every misfortune which befalls a direct rival for a CL spot. Downside though is one less competition for them & maybe fresher legs for the closing stages of the PL.
    Hopefully, we have an easier run in these closing stages so I can gloat some more.

  3. I’m with you YW….Aaron may well not make an appearance again for us.
    The shirts I like-very retro.
    Uniteds fall from glory-perfect…and yeap-I’m happy to gloat !
    What the hell’s going on with Mesut?

  4. Not sure about the 3 bars.is that part of the top?if so looks manc.if not quite like in a retro way.getting back to our proper away colours of yellow & blue/dk blue.not all those ponder efforts in god know what colours the yanks were churning out.clueless.

  5. Always a great day when United lose. That goes for Spurs, Chelsea and any team coached by Big Sam. I could go on. With PSG’s penchant for folding in the 2nd leg United aren’t out of it yet but we live in hope. I’d be playing the strongest 11 we can muster for both legs. Strike me down but maybe it’s an opportunity to work on our defence? May also be a chance to run Ozil into some form. Surely Ramsey gets a send off at home before the season’s out. I’d lay money on that!

  6. Of greater impact, I think, is the loss of Lingard and Martial

    The basis of their threat was completely exposed as soon as they went off. PSG had no fear to pressure higher up the pitch and made the threats of Sanchez, Pogba and Rashford quiet by doubling up and, basically, knocking them about a bit.

    The injuries both sustained look at though they’ll be out for a good few weeks/months.

    Lovely player that Mata is/was, his pace across the turf makes him almost useless in their system now 😀

  7. Yellow & blue should always be our first choice away colours , so I’m on board with next year’s Adidas top even if the stripes make it look a little like a British Rail signal operator’s hi viz.

    So , yes , very 1980s.

    I always feel great when Man Ure lose. It just puts a spring in the step to know those billions upon billions of entitled nob heads who follow the ‘world’s biggest club’ will have to get back in their box for a while.

    As for Thursday , yes play the first XI please. It’s not as if we can win anything else this season so let’s give it our best shot & entertain the fans a bit.

  8. Why can’t they do a red and white away strip if the colours don’t clash, and something like above and 2nd away kit?
    Yes first team for the game, and make sure we win.

  9. “Not quite as funny as Chelsea falling flat on their faces last weekend.”

    Maybe not, but it is good to have comparative material abounding, isn’t it?

  10. Three bars? I used to be able to handle that in 45 minutes or less.

    They were within easy walking distance of each other…

  11. Pete the Thirst,

    Add Kimpembe and Marquinhos as well. Just think, Marquinhos is widely viewed as one of the best young CB’s in world futbol, yet yesterday he bossed the midfield to the point Pogba as I type this is still trying to climb out his pocket.

  12. Gotta get Ozil back in the fray in these EL tyes. Might be the flat tracks he thrives in, and build some confidence for him and those who should be feeding off him.

    If he fails, then he’s truly DONE at Arsenal.

  13. Thanks for the write up. Ugh dont remind me of the Bayern years… I dont really believe things were rigged, but in our CL ties it seemed like we always came up against the biggest super power, in the prime of their run. We got barca for a couple years, then it turned into Bayern. This was the bayern where Neuer didnt have to make a save for 20 games in a row and started playing cards with fans behind the goal.

    That hopeless feeling, ugh. Granted we did put together a couple inspired (90 minute) performances to pull off some upsets. However winning 1 game out of 6, over a 3 year span aint that good.

  14. The more games Utd, Chelsea, Spurs and others of that ilk play, the better, as far as I’m concerned. Still, seeing one of them lose in a knock-out competition is never a bad thing.
    Talk about Ramsey’s injury seems to be somewhat muted but, with his record, it’s always a concern. Still, I hope to see him get a proper send-off at Emirates. We could use more Aaron Ramseys.
    Opinions swirl around the stated 400K per week but none of it hurts Ramsey. Or helps Arsenal, for that matter. In hindsight, and from a strictly business perspective, a sale last summer seems now to be an opportunity missed.

  15. ferkov,

    Emery:

    The players we didn’t bring in the squad were because Aaron Ramsey did not train with us and Sokratis only started training yesterday and today – I don’t think it’s enough.

    “Mesut is the same,” he added. “Aubameyang, after he was sick, trained on Monday, yesterday and today, and I think he’s OK for the match.”

  16. C,

    Yes, just read that on BBC.
    Who interestingly refer to Helen as our former defender. They love a little joke.

    Interesting that Aaron is injured ,but Mesut is ‘the same’.
    Hey ,the language thing ,and so the potential for misinterpretation is there far all.
    He’s the Boss. Ozil stays at home. Let’s hope we find some good attacking flow without him.

  17. Now that Mkhitaryan is back and Suarez is here I doubt we will see much of either Ramsey or ozil. There is not room for unlimited number of attacking midfielders in the match day 18.

  18. Since there isn’t much money in it anyway, why not do an unseeded draw and straight knockout for cup winners cup as a separate competition? That might be fun.

  19. ferkov,

    It is interesting despite Ozil being back in training.

    I really do wish Emery would give an interview in his native language and explain he and Ozil’s situation.

  20. C:
    ferkov,

    It is interesting despite Ozil being back in training.

    I really do wish Emery would give an interview in his native language and explain he and Ozil’s situation.

    You expect a manager to use the players he feels give him the best chance to get results. Credit to Emery for being willing to accept whatever questioning comes from media and fans and making his judgement based on what he has seen on the pitch for the last couple of seasons rather then basing the decision on reputation and/or weekly wage package

  21. I would guess Emery’s first 11 players for the rest of the season will be

    Leno
    Maitland Niles, Kos Sokratis Nacho

    Xhaka, Torriera Mkhitaryan

    Iwobe Lacazette Pea

    That leaves a bench of

    Cech, Kolasinac Mustafi, Guendouzi, Suarez, Nketiah.

    Next in line for inclusion in the match day 18 will be Lichtensteiner and Elneny.

    You could argue that Guendouzi and Suarez should start and Xhaka and Iwobe should drop to the bench and I would not argue with you.

    Unless there are injuries there is no room left for Ramsey or Ozil.

  22. Bill – Just chiming in but I do like what i’ve seen from Guendouzi, maybe it is premature. He seems to have that killer pass in him, i’ve been saying it for a while. After Cesc left (and to a lesser degree, Alex song Barca-Bilong) nobody was there to play the killer through pass after a period of possession. I think part of that was our strikers (giroud lacking true pace to get thru), and part our midfield.

    Now this year we have seen Guendo play at least 3 or 4 of these really brilliant passes. The kind Ozil should be (and occasionally) does make. We have the strikers, hungry to get behind and score goals. Our opponents are often pressing us deep giving plenty of space in behind. We just need that moment of magic, the quick glimpse, RVP making winkie faces at Cesc while twisting in behind Rio Ferd & Vidic, getting a ball perfectly in stride and whacking it in with the chocolate peg.

  23. C

    Clearly Emery has Mkhitaryan higher on his pecking order

    I would argue Mkhitaryan and ozil have been almost equally ineffective in terms of bringing a creative spark to the team. If thee is no significant difference in terms of bringing creativity then I would expect Emery to pick the one who has more energy and is better at pressing up high and bringing other intangibles to the game

  24. Thrillbo

    I think Guendouzi is a tweeter. Not a creative midfielder in the Cesc, Xavi, Ozil mold and not a defensive midfielder. I do think he could thrive in the #10 position but he would not look play like Cesc. I think C had the best idea when he made the comparison to Patrick Vierra. Its way to early to start thinking like that but it would certainly be awesome. He seems like a deep lying playmaker like Vierra or may be Xabi Alonso who would have to be paired with true defensive midfielder.

  25. C

    I suspect if Emery was 100% honest he would say that part of the decision is based on body language in training and just an overall feeling of how much the player really seems to care. Managers can overlook someone who seems to approach everything in a languid way when that player is playing well but it becomes a much more problematic when the player is no longer productive. You might remember Alan Iverson who is a hall of fame basketball player from the 80’s and 90’s. He gladly told anyone who asked how much he hated practice and did not really care what anyone thought about him. I am sure his coach hated that but Iverson lead the league in scoring and was always close to leading the league in assists so the coach put up with his lack of effort in practice. If I had to guess I would suspect that Emery would like to see a bit more energy and effort but since the player is not producing the lack of “fire in the belly” becomes more and more annoying.

  26. Bill,

    Couple lf facts I want to iron out for you: 1. Allen Iverson was a NBA player in the 90’s and 2000’s, 2. The whole practice thing was because he missed practice a couple of times but he also worked his socks off.

    If we are talking the whole ‘fire in the belly’ thing and that is part of the reason why then that’s ridiculous. Having a languid style doesn’t mean you don’t care or is not trying because, for instance, Ramsey runs around but positionally and tactically gets found out. I know as much about the situation as you do but this feels almost personal between Emery and Ozil at this point especially when you consider Mhkitaryan goe straight back into the team and he certainly isn’t a player who high presses constantly or produces.

  27. C:
    Bill,
    The C and Ozil love in continues……..

    Couple lf facts I want to iron out for you:1.Allen Iverson was a NBA player in the 90’s and 2000’s,2. The whole practice thing was because he missed practice a couple of times but he also worked his socks off.

    If we are talking the whole ‘fire in the belly’ thing and that is part of the reason why then that’s ridiculous.Having a languid style doesn’t mean you don’t care or is not trying because, for instance, Ramsey runs around but positionally and tactically gets found out. I know as much about the situation as you do but this feels almost personal between Emery and Ozil at this point especially when you consider Mhkitaryan goe straight back into the team and he certainly isn’t a player who high presses constantly or produces.

  28. Jonnygunner and C

    If you don’t like the term languid style then use whatever code words or phrase you like. Most managers won’t call out a player in public when he believes the player no longer seems to have the level of intensity or energy require to be effective. I am 100% certain that Emery would love to have the player from 4-5 years somehow return. However, when players hit the downside of their career arc and the moments of magic that used to occur automatically no longer happen the player has to put in extra effort and find other ways to help the team. If instead the player just seems to shrug his shoulders and say “it is what it is” and outwardly doesn’t seem to be bothered by losing his place then it has to be a bit frustrating for any manager not named Arsene Wenger. Again that is all just pure speculation and it may be way more fun target but I would be surprised if there wasn’t at least a small element of that in what’s happening.

  29. That comment should be aimed at C Bill…not C and Jonnygunner….I’m with you on this…

    Bill:
    Sorry that was supposed to say “way off target”. Spell check and fat fingers on a keyboard give you strange things sometimes.

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