With one minute to go in the game at Selhurst Park, Man Utd, who are 1-0 up, gave away a free kick just outside their own penalty area. Michael Olise stepped up and fired a cracker past David de Gea. 1-1, two points dropped and thank you very much Patrick Vieira’s team. Rewind to 80 minutes of the game and Utd’s key midfielder Casemiro was booked for a foul on Wilfred Zaha which means he’s now suspended for Sunday’s fixture at The Emirates. After the game, ten Hag was quick to point out that when Arsenal lost at Old Trafford, there was no Casemiro in his team. There was no Thomas Partey in the Arsenal team either but unless something freaky happens between now and Sunday, there will be this time. Utd were fortunate that day and he probably knows it.
Rio Ferdinand believes there is no comparison between Casemiro and Thomas Partey as Casemiro ‘wipes him [Partey] away’ with his impact on the game. Stats are behind his random opinion adding – ‘I think the importance to their teams…you could argue both sides quite equally. But then, when you through the stats in Casemiro wipes him away’ he said on his Vibe with Five Podcast.
Stats, love or loath them are an odd thing to base an opinion on in my opinion, certainly when comparing players in different teams. What is important is what that player does for his own club and how his performance has an impact on the team he plays for. Look at Yves Bissouma for example, superb for Brighton during his time there but how’s he doing now? Declan Rice is probably the first name on David Moyes team sheet each week but that doesn’t mean he’d walk into the first team at Man City, or even Arsenal. Jack Grealish and Kalvin Phillips moved to City after standing out for Aston Villa and Leeds respectively but at City, life is a lot tougher. Arsenal themselves have signed players who have been on fire at their previous club but arrive at Arsenal and they struggle. Sometimes it’s easy to forget that we have a £70 million player out on loan because his move to Arsenal didn’t work. If reports are to be believed, Unai Emery didn’t even want the club to sign Pepe because he wanted Wilfred Zaha instead. Again though, just because Zaha has been pretty good at Palace, there’s no guarantee he’d have excelled at Arsenal.
Going back to the result last night, two points dropped by Utd is good news for Arsenal and every other club in and around the top four. I know it’s only January and there’s a lot of football to be played yet but it doesn’t matter if a club drops points on the opening day of the season or the last, they all count.
I know the Daily Star is about as reliable as a bus arriving on time but they’re suggesting Arsenal might keep hold of any transfer budget available this month until the summer. The story was possibly sparked by the Declan Rice rumours because it’s highly unlikely West Ham would sell the player this month. In any case, I’m sure Chelsea would sign him right now if they could. Honestly, I can’t see the club not adding to the squad before the end of the month, not when we’re in such a good position in the League and Europa League. There has to be a number of players out there in a similar position to Martin Odegaard when he first came to Arsenal on loan. A fringe player for his current club but one who has oodles of talent and ability just waiting to be unlocked. Players who know they just need the right move in order to progress their career. Or a player who is out of contract in the summer but wants to move right now.
Chelsea might be throwing the money around, collecting as many players as they can, because they can but it’s Arsenal who sit top of the Premier League. Mydryk might have said no but not every player will. Not if football wins.
Catch up in the comments….