Two of the biggest decisions Mikel Arteta has had to make since becoming Arsenal manager has in my option, involved Mesut Ozil and Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang. One hasn’t really done much since leaving Arsenal, the other has found himself back in the Premier League with Chelsea after a short stint at Barcelona. With Arsenal travelling to Stamford Bridge tomorrow, it’s inevitable that all eyes will be on “I’m a blue” Aubameyang. The media will be hoping he scores against his old club I’m sure, even if it’s just because it’ll create a good headline. I can see it now, ‘Aubameyang shows why Arteta was wrong to let him leave’. Gabriel Jesus going through a bit of a goal drought will only add fuel to their potential story.
Aubameyang was great for Arsenal, of that there’s little doubt, but after his new contract, things turned sour. We’ll never know what really went on but if Mikel Arteta was going to change the Arsenal mentality, he needed every player to fall into line. Not 99% of the squad, but 100%. Shape up or ship out. Both Ozil and Aubameyang were shipped out. Other players went too but their departures weren’t quite so high profile.
Ahead of tomorrow’s match, Mo Elneny has been talking about life at Arsenal and like a number of his teammate’s have said before, there is a feeling of togetherness within the squad.
Big Mo is quoted by the Independent as saying:
We don’t allow big egos. This is the dressing room we have now. Everyone loves each other and everyone works for each other. This is what actually makes our squad really strong, because we don’t have egos in the team. Now everyone looked at themselves because Mikel did that to the captain of the team. What is he going to do with another player? This showed that now we can’t play around, now we have to be calm with the team and the way the team is going we have to stick with the team, not do something different.
There’s a difference between a footballer having a big character and having an ego. Egos in team sport doesn’t always work well. Great when things are going their way but when they’re not, problems can arise. Even if Aubameyang scores a winner in today’s game, the decision to ‘let him go’ was right. By the sound of it, his swift departure woke every player up and made them realise, Arsenal are a serious club again.
Of course we all all want three points from every match but when an ex player is lining up for the opposition, it adds an extra edge to a game. A bit like playing Aston Villa after Martinez left or if we were to play Marseille with Guendouzi in the team.
Chelsea – Chilwell, Kante, Arrizabalaga, Fofana and James are ruled out and Chukwuemeka is a doubt.
Arsenal – Emile Smith Rowe remains out and at the time of writing, there’s been no update on Takehiro Tomiyasu. Matt Turner, Oleksandr Zinchenko and Kieran Tierney were all training yesterday.
I’ve not watched Chelsea at all this season but their results suggest they can be good one day, not so good the next. They topped their Champions League group relative ease but in their last League match, Brighton thumped them 4-1. Like I said, when an ex returns to the club he left, there’s often an added incentive to win.
The incentive for Mikel Arteta’s team today is to regain top spot. I know it means little at this stage in the season but points do. Three today would be massive.
Anyway, here’s the team.
See you in the comments.