The next two games are ‘crucial’ said Mikel Arteta. Probably because both are at home and his team need another six points. But not only that, we need to keep the confidence high and only winning will achieve that. Plus, our home results have been pretty grim until now so that’s also something we need to change. Make our home our fortress between now and the end on May and the season will have been a lot better than it looked like is was going to be pre Christmas.
After the two league fixtures, the FA Cup returns and we’ve been given a tough one. Away to either Southampton or Shrewsbury. I’m not sure what’s happening with that tie though as the Shrewsbury squad has been hit by Coronavirus but if it can’t be played soon, I guess Southampton will be our opponents.
Mesut Ozil continues to hog the headlines which I suppose he will until he finally packs his bags and says his goodbyes. Even then there’s no guarantee his name and Arsenal’s won’t be written about during the weeks and months which follow. His every footballing touch will be assessed by the journalists, with pen ready to tell us all how well he’s playing for Fenerbahce or some team in the MLS. On Twitter, Mesut said he’ll never regret moving to Arsenal. Of course he won’t as Arsenal have made him a very rich man, but in terms of football, he enjoyed his time pre Covid under Mikel Arteta. Personally, I enjoyed watching him during the Alexis Sanchez period. The two gelled so well. If only that pairing could have continued for longer than it did.
Things went south for our number 10 though when the laid back approach Arsene Wenger seemed content with was replaced with Unai Emery. A coach who wanted more from his players. More effort, more pressing, more of everything. Mesut clearly didn’t like that idea but over time, it was clear that very few others did too. It was far too easy to down tools, get the head coach the sack and hope another ‘Wenger like’ manager would walk through the Arsenal gates. That didn’t quite go to plan did it as Mikel Arteta is just as tough a taskmaster as Unai Emery, if not tougher. I personally think the players downed tools again because they hoped for another change but if I’m right, their decision seriously backfired. The board stood by Mikel Arteta, certain players were eventually dropped or in Mesut’s case, left out of the squad altogether and finally, things are improving.
Our attacking play is now more about Martinelli, (fitness allowing) Saka, Lacazette, and ESR than it is Willian, Pepe and even Aubameyang. Heck, even Xhaka offered more in attack in our FA Cup fixture than Willian. Our defence is about Holding and Mari than Luiz +1. Once Gabriel returns to full fitness it’ll be interesting to see what decision Arteta makes but splitting a central pairing which has performed so well would be harsh on either Holding or Mari. If the Martinez saga taught us anything, it was that current form doesn’t always count when Mikel makes his choices. Actually, you could add Willian and Pepe into the equation because how many games and dismal performances were they afforded? If Mikel Arteta had been as ruthless with the entire group of players as he’s been with Ozil, perhaps the bad run we were on would have ended sooner but then again, if our own assessments of the squad are anything to go by, Arteta wouldn’t have been able to field a full team. Lol
Finishing with Mesut, I hope he gets his move away because his talent is being wasted. His footballing career is nearing its end and if he loves the game as much as he says he does then just go and play. Forget about the money because once those boots of his are hung up for good, no amount of money in his pocket will make him ten years younger.
See you in the comments.