One of the players in the current squad one might argue isn't likely to be overawed by a so-called 'tough' game is Mattheu Flamini. Since his return, the tenacious Frenchman has been lauded for adding that much sought after 'steel' and toughness to Arsenal's midfield and in the eyes of most, would have been tailor-made for the battle at the Britannia. Inexplicably however, Flamini was left out. It's easy in hindsight to look at the team selection and criticise the manager's decisions after the event but leaving out the Midfielder, as well as Oxlade-Chamberlain and Ozil, was odd before the game and in light of the result, looked borderline absurd. Ok, the team he picked may have been mostly the same as that which comprehensively dispatched of Sunderland a week prior, but if
I have been tempted to suggest that Mertesacker's transfer from Werder Bremen is the most symbolic of the Emirates era. Just like Dennis Bergkamp's arrival served as precursor to the champagne football of the last decade at Highbury, Mertesacker's was the first in a seismic shift. One of the reasons given for Arsenal's regression has been that the French league had gotten progressively weaker. When Arsene Wenger first came to England, he had the knowledge of an unheralded market and he took advantage of this. Jamie Carragher, the ex Liverpool stalwart speaks of how he effectively wrote off any signings from the French league by Liverpool on the basis that "If they were any good, Wenger would have bought them." As Wenger had to devise a plan to save Arsenal from the havoc brought by the departures of Samir Nasri and Cesc Fabregas, Mertesacker's arrival foreshadowed a more Teutonic outlook. The next year, Lukas Podolski would join. The year after, Mesut Ozil. Wenger, a man born in Alsace, a town that borders
There is a huge irony here – that the same people who never stop banging on about the importance of ‘marquee’ signings where Arsenal are concerned seem oddly unwilling to accept how far twenty marquee signings each might take Manchester City and Chelsea beyond our reach. And have you noticed how they have found all sorts of ways to keep criticising whilst carefully avoiding any real mention of this elephant in the room? One of their favourites is to compare our budget to the teams just below us instead, to show how we ‘under-achieve’. ‘We only just came above Spurs, and look how tiny their wage bill is compared to us’. Well, firstly, Spurs are showing right now just how difficult it is to maintain that kind of form for more than a season. Secondly, if they ever made the
Has there been any confirmation of the extent of the injuries? It’s never a good thing to have too many changes to your back four but regardless I do think we will be okay. Monreal wouldn’t be a huge miss but the absence of Gibbs puts a damper on the whole situation, losing two leftbacks at this stage could be a problem. Koscielny on the other hand is a huge miss however with Sagna willing and able to play center half we should be fine.
As expected Arsene has made big changes to the Arsenal team this afternoon. Mesut Özil is not even on the bench which comes as little surprise. Tomas Rosicky will play the number ten position as he had done so well last season and Lukas Podolski is given a chance to use that hammer of a left foot from the erm left.
On his return from injury, it was clear Rambo was playing tentatively. He was slow and ponderous in possession and was asked to play an unfamiliar position. The thinking behind shoehorning him into right midfield has been questioned by some and lauded by others. In truth only Arsene and his backroom staff know why he was asked to play such an unfamiliar position. This season we are seeing the player we had caught glimpses of pre-shawcrossed; a player who is exuding confidence and class, trying things on the pitch that others would never have deemed possible from the Welshman 12 months ago. Whilst the medical staff, who often come in for criticism over our injury list, deserve a great deal of credit; so too, do the personnel who spent time with Aaron focusing on his
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