Mesut Ozil: Conundrum, Asset or Liability?

Question: Is Mesut Ozil a Conundrum, an Asset or a Liability?


I ask, because if we believe the various media outlets, and unfortunately many do blindly, he is all three.

Take the latest stories of how he wants to quit Arsenal, and see how it is possible that a simple statement made in answer to a question by a team mate can develop, in a ‘Chinese whisper’ sort of way, to what the headlines read a couple of days later.

Ozil went to join up with the Germany squad, and although he never played, he would have had time to chat with his colleagues. They won the World Cup together, so they are amongst friends. Some are at new clubs and they discuss how they are doing there. Innocent question pops up, ‘Would you fancy playing at this club?’ Answer, ‘Possibly. One day, maybe’.

That is all it would take for this message to be passed along the line, until it reaches a manager of that club who has expressed an interest in the player, to then release that via a ‘tame’ journalist to spread the word ‘Ozil wants to leave Arsenal’. UK journo’s who love to stick the knife in, add ‘in January’ to their headline. Note also then how they respond to Arsene Wenger’s answers. ‘Wenger would be unhappy to lose Ozil in January’ … still leaving the idea it would be okay in the summer, even though that was never said?

When I read or hear comments, I take some on board if I think what they are saying has credibility, and the people who are saying it are in a position to speak with accuracy and experience.

Take this example. I heard Graham Souness talking at the half-time interval during a match recently. He was saying what he knew about cruciate ligament injuries, not from his own experience, but from other players that have had them. As it happens, he was talking about Falcao, but it does have relevance to Theo Walcott, and others of Arsenal interest. The crux of it was, when a players suffers these injuries the knee does not feel as ‘tight’ as it used to, and this can affect a player’s confidence. There is a slight ‘looseness or wobble’ which they have to get comfortable with. Again, with reference to Falcao, he said it is worse the older the player is when they get the injury. ‘Younger players can recover fully, but once they get over the age of 25, the difficulties arise’.

I find this credible, because Souness would know of a number of players who would have suffered this type of injury, and even allowing for advances in medical treatment, still many players do not get back to the level of ability they once had, so this explanation might have some substance?

So I ask, what makes any sense of Arsenal buying Sammy Khedira? One thing, the possibility of a low fee, even if that is off-set by the reported wage demand. Again, how much can we trust in that our ‘agreed terms’ suggest he settled for £100k, not £200, or £155k per week, as his demands were earlier reported? The other plus is his relationship with Ozil, on and off field. If he could link up with Mesut and bring the very best out of him week in, week out, then he would truly be a bargain.

The downside is, will Khedira’s knees hold out in the EPL, week in, week out?

I also read of a Chelsea interest. At first glance, he does not seem a player Chelsea need? They are pretty solid in the defensive midfield area, and why trade a younger, fit player, for a potential bench warmer? I think their ‘interest’ lies more in affecting Arsenal. Whatever way this saga goes, I do not see Khedira as the player we need. That said, will Ozil see this as another slight on his reason for signing? He gets played out of position, more on that later, and then does not get the one player he can rely on him to support him on and off field?

Another half-time chat I listened to during an England game was Glenn Hoddle on Wilshere. He was doing his usual bit on Wilshere underperforming, but he went on to say, ‘that in this ‘new’ role Jack had been given as the ‘holding midfielder’, that he would have to be more disciplined’. ‘He needs to stay back as he cannot do the 40 yard runs and get into the box for the return pass. Too often he goes straight into a crowded midfield, and if he loses possession there, he opens us(England) to a counter attack. So he must stay back and play for the team’.

That was the gist of it, but it struck a chord with me. We know Arsenal play a different format whilst they experiment with the 4-1-4-1 formation. As there is usually a defensive midfielder in place, and Jack either does the box to box stuff, or more recently, plays higher up the field.

This to me is where the Ozil conundrum comes in. Because of Wilshere’s tendency to operate in the centre ground, no matter where his starting line up is. In doing so, he takes away from much of what Ozil can do best. And what Ozil does best is when the centre field is not cluttered, and he can move in and out of that area, no matter what position he is notionally assigned to.

So can we play Wilshere in the same team as Ozil? Well not if they both have the same freedom to move into preferred areas, in my honest opinion.

Now if Wilshere is being groomed for the long term holding midfield role for England, and Hoddle was overjoyed at his performance that night, then perhaps he should do the same in the Arsenal line up? Yes, it will mean him giving up the idea of being the Number 10 conductor of attacks in and around the box, which will not go down too well with him or his many supporters? But I don’t suppose Arteta was overjoyed when he converted in a similar way. So does that make Arteta more of a ‘team’ player than Wilshere? If he takes it on board as a new challenge, and uses his skills more on reading the game, rather than just diving into tackles, where he risks as much injury as he does when he ‘puts his body on the line’ drawing fouls, or not, as the case may be, when he gets clattered going forwards. I think if he is serious about modeling himself on Alonso, then it ought to be for club and Country? Let’s not forget that some of those passes from deep were very Cesc-esque, or straight out of the ‘book of Alonso’. He must have enjoyed that, as well as his overall contribution?

Perhaps he should start thinking of a long term career in this pivotal role, rather than a short term, injury ridden, glory seeking one playing up front? Then both he and Arsenal could benefit?

It would also go a long way in solving the Ozil conundrum?

Now, is Mesut Ozil an Asset?

I want to use this quote from Milo in yesterday’s post:

First and maybe most important point: He opens he field and direction of play up, more than any other high profile number 10 or playmaker, by NOT being afraid to move the ball, or run sideways. Everyone always is looking for the big, flashy, vertical ball over the top, but when it’s not there, he refuses to force it and I admire that…Greatly. He certainly has the vision and skill to execute more difficult passes. His tendency to drift sideways results in him looking like a drifter, but he’s like the knight in a game of chess. Not always flashy, but LETHAL. No one has figured it out yet, but I tend to think his lack of production has more to do with Arsenal’s and Arsene’s tactics than it has with Mesut?

This was an excellent bit of insight which might have got lost, as it was not related to the post in question. Milo came to this conclusion through watching past videos. I wonder how many of Ozil’s critics have done this?

We have only seen flashes of what ‘the best number 10 in the world’ can do this season. But when we had a nearly fully fit squad last season, he was on fire. The plague of injuries this time has really upset the rhythm of the side. Despite the new signings being great additions, it does take time to gel properly. Ozil was late returning from the World Cup, and he is not the only player to find it difficult to get back to some sort of form at league level. No sooner does he play with the freedom that suits his game, and the line up is changed once more. My big criticism in his last game was the very unusual number of times he gave away possession. If he was carrying the injury that now requires him to have a 10 week break, it may well explain his lack of touch that day?

Over the next few games we will see if we can cope without him. But more importantly, we will see what a difference he makes in a fully fit squad in the New Year when he returns. He is an asset we most definitely need, but we need the team to work so he can produce his magic. Otherwise, and I will quote Milo again, we will miss ‘facets of his game that are either underrated/undervalued or go completely unrecognized’. But they are the very bits that help make the magic he can produce when conditions are right?

If we do miss out on him be able to produce his best, that would be a sad day for anybody who appreciates a quality footballer.

Liability? Never ….when he has quality players that move as a unit, and has the space to work in.

If he fails, then we must look at what is failing him …First!

In the meantime, we have to play without him. Who plays where, will be the subject of the next post. I just hope there is not a scramble of players all thinking they can step into his shoes, and we end up with an endless pattern of reshuffles?

Many thanks to Milo for inspiring the angle of this post.

 Written by: Gerry.

51 thoughts on “Mesut Ozil: Conundrum, Asset or Liability?

  • Great post Gerry. Love the way you have incorporated Milo’s passionate and analytical comment into it as well. 🙂

    Of course he is no liability but a pure asset. And all agreed that the team will need to play well to get the full value out of Ozil. He never seizes to try and add value to the attacking side of our game. His vision is great and his technical ability is simply sublime. He runs constantly and creates space and keeps the ball well too. I have said before that our attack is not gelling as yet and it will take more time for them all to gel. Alexis and Welbeck are great assets but clearly we are not a purring attacking machine at the moment. And Ozil suffers from this as well. Patience is needed, but it is not a friend of high expectations.

    Whilst Ozil can play anywhere in attack as long as he has a free role, Jack can play anywhere in midfield and is in my opinion the better all round midfielder. I reckon Arsene sees this as well and is building the team around the little genius. Whether he plays deeper, in the b2b role or in the hole, it does not matter too much. He will give structure and impetus wherever he is played. Important is, he holds the middle, bosses it and owns it – he is the true conductor, whereas Ozil plays the first Violin, which allows for more movement. Can they play together? Of course they can. There is no problem and I dont buy your argument that Jack pushes Ozil out of the middle at all.

    In an ideal world we play 4-1-2-3 with both Jack and Ozil in the ‘2’ and Alexis and Theo on the wings with either OG or Welbeck (or Reus in January?) up top. But please let’s stop the idea that Jack is hindering Ozil’s performances. The problem lies higher up. 🙂

  • Excellent article and comment too. Its good to see the positive rather than the criticism that seems to follow Ozil without seeing the whole picture.

    I believe that with good squad rotation all our creative players will flourish and injuries will diminish…resulting in more confidence, points and trophies

  • Thank you Mike – I bet you were fearing the worst though?

    It is going to be up to Arsene Wenger to juggle the players, if he can?. I find the ‘quoted’ reason for AW to play him out wide ‘… in order to build up his stamina’ a little strange? I sure we can all remember Ozil coming up with a 120 minute winner in the World Cup, even if he did not often do the full 90 at RM? Sounds a bit like he is trying to make him a player he isn’t, when really he is just accommodating others. But that is just my view.

    The next run of fixtures will sort out a few positions, especially when Ramsey comes back too?

  • TA – I did not expect universal approval regarding Jack Wilshere 😀

    It is not like I am suggesting he does it deliberately, just that the area he likes to play in tends to attract more defenders than there would otherwise b. Not just CB’s but defending midfielders and tucking in full backs? Add that to our front line, and you get congestion. Furthermore if Ozil is on one wing or another he only has one area to play the ball. Ozil does not necessarily take the ball to the edge of the box, rather sends the ball forward to open up play. Not that Wilshere couldn’t do this, but he presses for that extra yard more often than not?
    I agree that they can play together, and I put forward a case for that being the holding role for Wilshere.
    As I see it, the difference say between Wilshere and Ramsey playing with Ozil, and this was at the heart of that purple patch last season, along with Walcott, and that is Ramsey arrives late. Whereas, when Wilshere does the box to box thing, he gets to the middle of the park ahead of Ozil. That is when, I think he takes that space?
    Somebody put up the stats for assists and key passes yesterday, and Ozil came out way above Cazorla on a similar number of games played, and almost three time as much as Wilshere. Now I am first to admit that Wilshere is playing a lot better this season than last, and it will be interesting to see how they match up after these games while Ozil is out?
    Your point about Wilshere being the better all round midfielder is probably true, but then again there are several midfielders who can tackle a bit, pass the ball a bit, and run past a defender a bit …but that does not mean they are as good as Ozil doing what he does best, i.e. creating chances. I just take the view that I rather have Ozil creating the chances at the pointy end than Wilshere. Let’s be honest, to date Wilshere has been a bit hit and miss? Now is his opportunity to show he can do it on a consistent basis.
    I repeat what I said above, if he wants to have an international career, and he is looking at Alonso and Pirlo as role models, then he needs to be doing it at Club level too.
    I might slightly alter your line up a tad, and have a ; 4-1-1-3-1, where a DM sits behind Wilshere, not as cover for him to go forward, but more so he can find space to conduct from the back. This would allow our backs more freedom to back up the attack, and still allow the two attacking midfielders to support the front man.
    But we are not making the decisions, only putting forward our ideas.

  • Hey all ! Its been quite some time.
    Gerry great post
    I read the one before too
    Ozil is a big asset no doubt about it, yes he dies sometimes become a liability when he loses the ball high up the field as many of you might suggest
    But it has 2 reasons
    1) no one available to pass which is not his fault
    2)inability of the DM and defenders to regain control of the ball before any damage is done
    The first is the one we should take into consideration the second is more of an excuse

    The post before this one is the one that intriuged me more the flamini arteta dilemma
    I think with koscielny out Wenger might play Flam as RB
    But if he doesnt then I think we should play both Flamini and Arteta against Hull
    It has a couple of advantages.
    With Kos out it provides relatively greater cover to the back four and the inexperienced defenders(chambers is also out) that will play against Hull
    Also with Ozil out and Ramsey not yet ready, Wilshere will get the CAM spot
    Alexis and Santi will play on the wings
    I hope Welbeck is fit too. There were no questions about him in the team news in

  • Neeraj – Big apologies to you. I never got around to checking out that ISL link you put up.
    Very sorry, but it was not a good start to the week. for me.
    I would like more news if you have it though?

    Regarding Ozil losing possession, I think we can put that down to his injury?
    His stats for last season show he had a 93% pass completion rate. Which is why losing possession seemed very odd.
    He also created 90 chances, as opposed to Cazorla’s 60, from a similar number of games.

    Agreed though, he is an asset.

    On your comment from the previous post, I think you may be a tad hopeful if Arteta will start?
    However, in a couple of hours we will know the line up of the reserves, and if that includes Hayden, Bellerin, and Walcott, I think all three will not play tomorrow.
    However, that will be the chat for the preview blog.


  • Hahaha Gerry, you always amuse me with your lack of appreciation of what Jack is able to do and what he adds to the team. I could respond in more detail but we have had this discussion many times before. He is finally fit and stable, fingers crossed, and is showing almost all of us how brilliant he is.

    Ozil and also Sneijder were successful under Maureen because he allowed them to play a free role were others bossed and structured the midfield for the team. At Arsenal he is given a free role with added defensive responsibilities, which is a work in progress to be fair – hence Wenger’s comment on ‘stamina’ maybe?

    You might have a point about Jack playing in the deeper role long term. I guess we have to wait and see, but I reckon Wenger sees him higher up the pitch, at least this season.

  • So none of the trio above are down for the reserve team game. Hooray!

    Tasty line up they have, at least for 45 minutes:
    GK: Huddart
    Defence: Moore – Ajayi – O’Connor – B54
    Midfield: Matland Niles – Diaby – Crowley
    Attack: Walcott – Akpom – Gnabry
    Zelalem and Iwobi on the bench

    Should be good?

  • Last season Ozil contributed quite a lot but stats like pass completion rate can be deceptive. Out of the 93% successful passes how many were short passes backwards or sideways? Personally, this season I think he has been a liability, there is definitely something wrong in his head, mentally. When things are going well for the team he seems ok, but when the odds are against us his head drops, he looks depressed and he disappears. He seems to lose all his instinct to continue trying to win. If the rumours about him wanting to leave are true, then I would say sell him, probably be at a loss but that’s football business, like buying a dud car, if you make a gaff then the resale value drops.

  • First off, great post Gerry and a good read as usual – much appreciated.
    However as you were probably expecting the subject matter and many of the points expressed are just lost on me so no intellectual response from me this time, just a (and I apologise in advance) juvenile attempt to poke fun at the whole situation that doesn’t really add anything to the actual constructive nature of the post and its subsequent comments.

    Here goes then:

    Hahaha you guys crease me up, it’s a good job you’re not making excuses for the guy 😆

    It’s not Ozil it’s:
    Arsenal’s and Arsene’s tactics

    It’s not Ozil it’s:
    The 4-1-4-1 formation

    It’s not Ozil it’s:
    The role he has been given in the 4-1-4-1

    It’s not Ozil it’s:
    The team as a whole

    It’s not Ozil it’s:
    The front line

    It’s not Ozil it’s:
    The changing line up

    It’s not Ozil it’s:
    The lack of a fully fit squad

    It’s not Ozil it’s:
    World Cup Hangover

    It’s not Ozil it’s:
    Wilshere’s fault

    It’s not Ozil it’s:
    The fact that what he does can’t be seen by the naked eye

    I’ve got one! Maybe it has something to do with altitude? Maybe if we dug the stadium pitch down about 50 meters he would play better?

    Hahahaha Ozil the new Bergkamp that will never be 😆

    He’s like a goldilocks galaxy, given an incredibly specific set of circumstances then life can flourish otherwise all you get is lifeless nothingness hahahaha.

    Its simple!
    He doesn’t like and cannot perform well the role he has been given on the wing, he dropped in form as a result, picked up an injury, and now it gives someone else a chance to provide that role.
    If nobody else can perform that role in the 4-1-4-1 either, then for god sake abandon the idea because there is literally no-one to make it work. If someone can then great, keep them there until Ozil can prove himself a better candidate to be there and forces his way back into the team.

    Job done 🙂

    Btw Jack up front, never a DM – as usual
    And f*cking hell that’s a tasty front line in the reserves tonight 🙂

  • Northbank – Of the 93% pass rate completion, how many were short, sideways or back? Does it matter, they kept possession. If a pass forward is not on, why attempt one? Very peculiar argument.
    What do you put his greater number of chances and assists than his midfield partners down to? A misplaced back pass perhaps.
    But then we come down to the lack of warrior spirit as the main reason for your dislike?
    It is true he is not a tough tackling marauder, but I don’t think we bought to be our DM.
    I accept that if the team are playing badly then it is much harder for him to play well, but that is a far cry from him giving up. Mind if you were basing your appraisal on his last game it could well support your argument … if it wasn’t for the injury he picked up in the first half and now requires up to12 weeks out?
    You should have applauded the Wednesday post, as Bell-end subscribed to your view perfectly.
    But each to their own I suppose ..

  • V. Funny Steve. I think you missed one – He hasn’t got Sammy K to hold his hand?

    Does this logic apply to all players btw?


  • “He hasn’t got Sammy K to hold his hand?” 😆 god damn it, that actually pissed me off that i missed that one 😆 👿

    What logic mate? lol – you realise you’re talking about me right lol

    tbh Wilshere, OX, Sanchez, Danny, even Cazorla seem to be putting in very good consistent performances, don’t they face the same set of circumstances as Ozil?

  • Gerry

    It was you who asked the question in your post, asset or liability? You obviously started off with an agenda to prove that he is an asset, and clearly wanted everyone to agree with you. Hence your terse response. I think differently and said so, he is a liability. Bell-end has nothing to do with it unless you think yours is bigger?

  • NB – I set out the questions that had been thrown at Ozil from various parts of the media.
    I then went on to answer the questions and gave my conclusions.
    I always get terse when people cherry pick the parts that they can make their own agenda stick, as you did with the passing stats, and ignored the the chances created and assists?
    I was also getting very annoyed that I couldn’t get the feed for the Under 21’s game, 0–0 at the last view.
    You think differently, and as I said, each to their own.

  • Gerry I’ve got to say i personally don’t put too much stock in those stats – who decides what constitutes a chance created? because if Ozil was putting that many chances on a plate for the strikers that the stats suggest i am sure i wouldn’t have a bad word to say about him mate – just saying 🙂

    But f*cking behind you all the way on the U21 game!!! why do i have to watch this Twitter bullshit!! wheres my Arsenal TV showing me all the reserve games live 👿

  • Love triangle anyone??? If the rumours are true, I’m done sticking up for Mesut and the only purpose he MIGHT serve me, is helping the club whom I cheer for win and even then, like Giroud, it will be hard to feel full enjoyment, if he makes a large contribution. People and public figures who have that amount of gravitational pull, do not know how lucky they are to be able to have and to take virtually anything and anyone they choose. It’s bad enough when it’s someone who sits at a desk for their living, but when it makes headlines…Yeah…What a load of puke. Maybe he should be a Mormon, if he already isn’t one.

  • Milo don’t despair. Unless he has be flitting over to Germany with Poldi I am not sure this is a recent story?
    I am not sure muslim to mormon has a natural route, unless it is one of those ‘change one letter at a time’ and get fro one to the other in 6 lines.
    You know what they say, it takes two to tango, and I should know I watch Strictly Come Dancing’

    Let us just stick to the footie side of things for now, eh?

  • Well that is all the come back-ees off now, and still 0-0. See if Zelalem can conjure up some Ozil-esque magic … if that is not touching a raw nerve 😀

    He did get more assists than anyone else Steve. Those stats don’t lie … although I was quoting someone else …. he adds, just in case.

  • hahahaha give a shit where he sticks his dick lol, just as long as he sticks the ball in the net.
    Judge lest ye be judged and all that bullshit 🙂

  • Evening TA – I am just waiting for the final whistle 0-0 and 6 minutes to go,and I shall be signing off for the evening.

  • 0-0 it was. Prince, Alex, JB, Terry, Cockie, Jozefos. Oz, and Shrillex outstanding on the UMF.

    I know you come to the party late, but don’t leave it too late, eh?

    Night all …

  • How’d you like it if he stuck his skinny in your wife or girlfriend??? Now we’re talking. How DO you think children feel when they find out Dad’s been bed hopping and now Mom’s leaving???

    Why leave the ills of society out of football??? Or anything??? I ain’t backing down, or coming off my horse on this one. There are things you CAN say are wrong. Unequivocally, irreversibly WRONG.

    I don’t know and no one knows if there is a god, or “supreme court”, so I WILL judge.

    Who cares when it happened Gerry??? I hate cheaters, whether it be in a competitive sense, or the more colloquial sense.

    Maybe some of you on here have done similar, I have no idea, nor do I care. It’s wrong and until the gene in our DNA is altered that indicates our distaste for such activities, it will always be wrong.

    As for everything else that is to my distaste about football, society etc, etc, I speak up when I feel something or entity, or someone is morally bankrupt.

    We have the most expensive ticket prices in the bloody universe. It’s not about winning, but if we were playing football on par with the 2007-08 side that SHOULD have won the title, then there could be a valid argument made.

    That leech, Stan Kroenke took 3 million or so pounds out of our club for his OWN bank account. Maybe that’s more wrong to you than adultery, seeing as it’s football related??? Well however you choose to interpret it, to whatever severity, it’s STILL wrong.

    I always joke with my Dad, when we hear music played by someone who interprets it incorrectly, or we are wrong ourselves…I just say WROOOOOOOOOONG. Well that’s how I see the issues I have somehow linked, or not linked in this unnecessary diatribe.

    I dare ya to post this one TA. Too controversial??? Not football-related enough for some of you??? Too bad.

  • if he stuck it in someone’s wife or girlfriend – then the blame isn’t entirely his .

    someone’s wife or girlfriend allowed him/enticed him/persuaded him / seduced him, no ?

    takes 2 to tango .

    so in short, if he stuck it in someone’s partner, then why make the lad the scapegoat here ? if it was my wife or girlfriend he was to do such a thing then I wouldn’t be crying or blaming him – it’s my partners doing, no ?

    calm down – such is human nature , we can’t change who we are sometimes but yes, we can try .

    what are your thoughts on this @ Glics – considering you have been doing to footballers what footballers have been doing to other’s 😀

  • nice one Gerry –

    it was a very detailed and different post from you .

    my take on this is that more than it being a JW with Ozil thing – it’s more of a triangle .

    JW and Ozil = yes they can play together and compliment each other .

    however, JW, Ramsey and OZil doesn’t work for me .

    which again make take me back to your point and strengthen your argument here as I feel that the best combo in our current team is of Ramsey and Ozil as opposed to JW and OZIL – but that’s not to say that both can’t function well together, provided we have Diaby or a proper DM behind them.

    thanks for doing the UMF this weekend, I have done my picks and I expect my full 15+ bonus this monday 😀

  • Well, I was gonna weigh in on this topic, but only to (mostly) agree with Gerry and thank him for another thoughtful, well-written post. Alas, it appears we’ve moved onto others that do not register on my give-a-shit meter…Sorry…

    For me, Ozil’s very best moments at the club have come in using the central to wide right side of the pitch in exchange with Jack (during our nice run in late Autumn a year ago) but there have been plenty of others. As such, maybe I guess I’m at odds with other observers. To me, our Messed-Up Ozil is a great one–always looking to make his teammates into better players and seeing our build up play in unique and superior ways that tantalize with potential. Starting positions (and formations…) thus seem irrelevant (to me), but awareness of teammates, i.e., them playing with their heads up and actually watching his movement, seems critical. Too much hard work on the ball (lauded by most observers) and/or a blood and thunder approach to physical confrontations (the so called “direct” or “impassioned” play) seems to appeal to most, but leaves me (and Messy?) scratching my head. Some see this as lazy or uninterested. I see a perfectionist applying the absolute highest levels of self-critique to his game and working extremely hard to figure out how to make his team better.

    It’s all a bit moot now with the injury. Worse, we now we get the untestable bit. Will I hope for bad results so I can say, “I told you we needed Ozil?” In my opinion, such sentiments do not come out of the mouths of real supporters, but, as always, WTF do I know? Unfortunately, I can all too easily see a scenario where we ride out this calendar year in reasonable form, the opposite analysis takes hold and we allow Ozil (and his supposed lack of passion…) to feck off for greener pastures. For me, that would be a huge loss. The upbeat, longer-term future I see for the club, where we truly compete at the level of the world’s top clubs, most certainly includes him…

    This next stretch looks good on paper but I’m far less optimistic w/o our main guy. Of course, we really need to take them one at a time and build with both results and performances and we have some other really fine MFs who can do a job. Still, it’s an opportunity lost for working others onto the level of the player with the most class. I was only needling 007 about former Arsenal keepers, but I do think the trips to Sunderland and Swansea will represent tough spots given the stretched squad and the extra games in midweek.

    But now I’m getting ahead of myself. Hull tomorrow…Real football resumes, etc., etc… Go on…

  • Not sure what happened with the other side of this.. guessing TA deleted that post for some reason?

    But this is a great article, Gerry. One that I am in complete agreement with. Anyone who thinks otherwise is mad– but still completely entitled to their opinion 😉 . It remains to be seen whether Mesut and Jack can truly (successively) coexist. I have my doubts but it also wouldn’t surprise me. The only semi-concern i have is that this partnership may be given too much time to blossom at the expense of other viable options. Options in the form of 1st team fringers, exciting academy players, or (dare i say it) the transfer market. If it’s not working out and an incredible player becomes available down the road that we decide to pass on due to the faith in our current No. 10s, not dissimilar to our recent cesc fiasco, I wonder how we would take to that.

  • I think it is a little too late to say this but still.
    Last season when Vermaelen was’nt getting any first team oppourtunities we all knew he would be asking for a transfer in the summer and it happened.

    Vermaelen was always known as a quick attacking CB. He was good with his passing and delivered some good long balls as well in his initial years at Arsenal.
    He also made a name for himself as a goalscoring defender in his very first full season.
    This is all pointed to just 1 thing. Why not use him as the DM which we so badly needed and still do ?
    I was very pissed when Wenger did’nt even give him a chance. I dont know if the idea never striked him but if you are known as a football genious then it should have.

    Plus we wood never have faced the defence crisis we are facing now. We would always have had a top quality CB ready to fill in. It would have also given us an oppourtunity to mold Hayden in exactly that role as he would have had a great teacher in the first team.

    But whats gone is gone no use thinking about it now but still very disappointed that I could not see if the idea was practical or not

  • Gerry,
    About the ISL
    Its a little too early to say anything as half of the matches have been really great others not so much
    Pune and Mumbai are the worst of the lot after rhe 1st set of matches
    Pune got a crucial point at Delhi as it ended 0-0 thoughthey did not deserve it.
    Mumbai were thrashed 3-0 on the opening night

    But luckily it is Mumbai vs Pune today and will definitely get a good idea where Pune will rank in another week or so

    The match is just before the Hull game so I will update you on the score then

  • Good morning all – I have just updated two more entries on the UMF, from the list I put out last night ….You are leaving it late guys???

    Right it is going to be tight to fit everything in today, but as there is no live TY coverage, I shall watch the match as live tomorrow. So I will not be revisiting this site once I read the preview post.

    Clearing up from the later posts:
    Milo – Of course you can have your opinion. But before you hang the culprits, it is better to see what the facts are, before jumping right in. Okay

    JB – Yes, the triangle thing has merit, except whoever takes Ramsey’s place, as seen recently, does not automatically make Ozil perform better. Yet when Jack did not play, it did. Which is why you come back to the same conclusion, and I pointed out why I think Ramsey suits better.
    I see from the headlines AW is not in favour of DM Jack, much as TA said last night, so that is my solution scuppered?.
    That will rumble on when Ozil is fit again.
    It seem Walcott came through his 45 minutes okay. Yet to hear about Diaby and Gnabry, but assume they could figure off the bench in the near future?


  • Steve – The Under 21’s will probably be on the Player later today. Sorry I missed your question last night.

    Sorry HT for not staying around last night, early mornings catch me out and I got used to watching a bit of TV before shut-eye.
    That said, I agree very much with your central paragraph on the type of game Ozil plays. And which Milo neatly observed, prior to you-know-what?
    Because AW is a stubborn so and so, I am sure it will continue to be a problem. But if he is getting tough with Alexis, then Ozil better keep his head down Giro fashion, and get on with it.

    Today though we start a new era. Dipping into the depths of the squad like no other. This week it is CC21, next time, most likely Flambea will be burnt. According to Untold, the ref today is not good for us, just to add to that possibility?

    Cheers, catch you later perhaps?

  • Thank you Frozen. I do not mind opposing views if they can be supported. Not just blindly throw in a preconceived viewpoint. At least Steve highlighted his view very well 😀

    I share your worry that the ‘problem’ might drag on to the detriment of the team and results. A bit reminiscent of the Ramsey era?
    Still, the academy may yet sort a few things out over the coming games, without having to wait for the TW

  • Neeraj – I am sorry, but I have to say I don’t agree on the Vermaelin thing.

    He might have been able to ‘do a job’ at DM, short term, but he did not have all the qualities that a proper DM needs, imo. As a CB the play is all in front of you. I did not see TV5 having that ability to chase back if a player got by him. A DM needs to be nimble, two footed, and be able to pick a pass, and those are where I think he would have come up short. Sagna may have been a better candidate, if he were 5 years younger?

    Hayden of course, has played that position a lot, and does have most of the requirements to be a top class DM. His one weakness will be that ability to turn quickly. Like TV5, he has pace going forwards, so he will have to compensate a lot by reading the situation correctly.
    Today he looks booked for the CB spot which will be no bad thing.

    Sorry your team Pune did not get off to a flyer. Remember, it is early days, but if they get a win today it will boost their confidence?
    Look forward to the result/report.

  • Right, I am just off to check the UMF site. If the late comers are very lucky I may be able to copy over the selections details when the New post is up. But not promising anything as it is a big day on the horse front.
    Two outstanding UMF queries:
    Xavier – check your 4th selection – as it stands I will take the HOME side as being correct?
    Terry – I am assuming all teams mention are meant to win, as you did not say?

    I am only the messenger boy on this. All being well, VCC will publish the updated table mid week, after I send him all the details over Tuesday morning.
    Bye for now

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