It hurt a bit when we found out that Coquelin had left. Clearly, he was not able to hold on to a first team place anymore; and a player of his quality should not be warming the bench at the home of football. I wish him well at his new club. Arsene is struggling to get the balance right in midfield and, despite Le Coq signing a new contract last year, the gaffer must believe that Francis is not the answer (anymore). A real shame but we have to move on.
It felt more like a relief when Theo‘s move to Everton went through. At his age he should have been leading the team forward by now but all our investment in him did not lead to the sort of player you can bank on. He is as fast as Mertesacker is slow, and he takes his chances instinctively and fearlessly, but his footballing skills set is limited and, just like the other young Saints player we bought and came with sooo much promise, he is constantly in and out of games rather than an almost constant force. A nice, clever lad who no doubt will make it big in media/PR or marketing roles after his footballing career, but I don’t think many tears will flow at the home of football now that he has left for Fat Sam’s Toffees.
Alexis‘ departure continues to be imminent according to Wenger, and I guess most of us will feel a little sadness now he appears to be following the Judas’ path. I reckon we will play better as a team without him, as Lacazette has to become our main man for the goals and the team will have to focus harder on creating chances for him. With Alexis gone this will be easier. We will of course miss his ability to crack open a defence with his shots from around the box or his quick thinking in the box. I reckon he has a couple of top seasons in him, if he can stay fit that is. I wish him well but hope he will win nothing with the Mancs.
It looks like Wenger/Arsenal are playing chess with MU re Alexis. Mkhitaryan should come in return as Wenger wants to see Alexis replaced. We are also strongly linked with Aubameyang and, as per previous post, IF both would come our way before the end of the month, we can look forward to exciting, and hopefully winning, football in 2018.
The one player we cannot afford to let ago this January is the one who has the best song: Olivier Giroud. With Alexis gone, Ollie can work himself back into the team. He is the ultimate team player who creates space and opportunities for others and takes his chances at about a goal every other game. Aubameyang (hopefully) and Lacazette can work with him, and for Mesut Ozil he is also both a great chance converter and attacking pivot to work with.
Furthermore, Ollie is our supersub and a good team needs a supersub. He also offers a lot of support in defence when set-pieces need to be dealt with, and his work rate and love for the shirt are never in doubt.
So let’s keep hold of Giroud at least till the summer.