Are Ramsey and Ozil in Emery’s Plans?

The World Cup is hotting up but it is scant a distraction to our wait for real football that begins in August. Am always out in the open lighting myself cigarettes of things Arsenal, World Cup not withstanding.

It’s widely believed that Emery wants to build his team around Ozil and Ramsey even though the story fueling this belief materialized as it were from thin air and there has not (to my knowledge) been a confirmation of it from Emery or any source close to him.

I was sceptical of the story when it broke soon after Emery’s appointment. It is not unreasonable to imagine that the meticulous Emery would not rush into such a decision with as yet a superficial knowledge of the team. He might known enough of the players to impress in an interview, but the real knowledge that can back such a massive public declaration can only come from working with the players.

An experienced coach knows that videos tell only part of a player’s story. There are many vital things it cannot tell; for instance, how amenable to instruction a player is. There are players whose playing habits have become fixed. There are some who are self willed to the extent of resisting instructions that they don’t fancy. There are even some who want to assert their own will over the coach’s in matters of training, tactics and selection of players. PSG, full of big egos was a nightmare for Emery for the latter reasons. With that haunting experience, he would least want to commit himself with such a premature pronouncement. Granted he must start on a certain premise but as an experienced coach he is bound to leave it open to revisions as his knowledge of his players improves.

Further more, a seasoned coach always mindful of the ever sensitive dressing room, knows better than to canvas certain ideas formally or publicly.

What does it really mean to build a team around a player? I find it a lot more agreeable if it means building a team to accommodate a player’s strength and weaknesses. But then isn’t this what is being done for every player in a team? Torreira is perceived as one who would help to cover Xhaka’s defensive weakness amongst other things.

Let us examine the case of Ramsey. His strength is his stamina, his indefatigable spirit, his box runs. On the down side is his apparent lack in understanding of defensive positioning. If Emery is able to take away his unguarded box runs (which I doubt he can) Ramsey’s game might just go flat or at best become average. That could decide Emery to leave him as he is accommodating his weakness by adopting a 3-man midfield or pushing him up as an attacking midfielder. Each of the above two options would mean one of the front four of Auba, Laca, Mkhi and Ozil (our likely 1st choice front four) dropping out. I doubt anyone sees that as a clear cut choice. If it’s no clear cut choice then there is no basis expecting Rambo to be central to Emery’s plans.

In the case of Ozil we all know his strengths and his weaknesses. Emery has clearly indicated that pressing is a major change he will bring to the team. He did not say it for the benefit of the press. It is a clear message to his players, Ozil inclusive. He obviously wants them to use the holiday to get their minds adjusted to it and it hardly rhymes that Ozil would be the heart of the team that has a major plank of its tactics as gengen pressing. Yes, Ozil will be there, but not as the centre of things.

Meanwhile Emery has signed Lichsteiner and Bernd Leno. Torreira is awaiting official confirmation. Sokratis Papastathopoulus looks in the bag. Rumours of a distant phone call to Ever Banega is everywhere. Non of these have a smell of Rambo and Ozil at the centre, let alone the fact of Rambo’s contract running out in a year. Emery is building a team of eleven players and not a team around two players.


87 thoughts on “Are Ramsey and Ozil in Emery’s Plans?

  • PE–
    Good topic for Arsenalistas midst-of-WC.
    While I was just dropping by to lend a link I found humorous? I’ll stop by later and weigh in.
    The bit of humor though– is actually somewhat relative now given the topic of your post!
    As long as it’s referenced in terms of ‘retentive’– probably a good thing. 😉


  • With the rumours of Banega, it looks like the core is being changed.
    For me, Ozil is still within the plans, but Rambo might be converted to a right winger.

    Last season we do not have much depth in the squad, and it is telling in the end of the season and during the away games. We are getting good players without the usual torturous mood, and it seemed that the strength in depth is finally being realised.

  • Good stuff, PE, and thanks for writing a post again. 🙂

    I thought it was Rambo and Auba around whom Emery allegedly wanted to build the team. But agreed, Emery will build a team of 11 and not 2 plus the rest.

    Rather than looking at strengths and weaknesses, I prefer to just look at qualities/skills players have to offer. If you want to see weakness in Xhaka, Rambo and even Ozil, I guess you can find them. I just see their qualities and how they add to the team. That does not mean they never make mistakes or, at times, can be ill equipped to deal with a certain threat, but that is more a matter of getting the team right.

  • Good post PE, If Ramsey doesn’t sign a fair extension, and looks like he’s planning to run down the contract, I’d say don’t play him, or sell him, as much as I like him and his game. I dont want to help him advertise himself for a big move. We can take the raise offered him and use it on someone else. Even if that player is not quite as good.

    Other big money clubs can afford to lose players on a free. Arsenal really can’t, So we need to stay strong. For Ramsey to turn down a fair offer, and try to go for a big payday, is disloyal more than a guy like Alexis.
    I know Ramsey is an excellent talent, but he won’t be the last.

    I had been worried that was what Oxlade was doing, btw, but it turned out that he just wanted away from Wenger.

    I know that people will strongly disagree, and say that it’s not realistic, but we need to try to shake this trend of our players using us. And I say this with no animus towards Ramsey, because I’m hopeful that he will extend soon. I think that his hard work would fit for Emery.

  • I think Emery should do all he can to keep Rambo. Rambo was Arsenal’s player of the year last year and appears to be getting stronger all the time. If Rambo wants to go I guess he will, sbut I think it Would be a big mistake

  • Hi Retsub

    Rambo is too often injured and it takes a long time for him to get to his best. So I would argue that selling him now and replacing him with quality may best for all concerned.

    I would feel different if Aaron was making all the right noises and really wants to stay, but to me it looks like he is another contract procrastinator/ ransom-holder. Sign or feck off asap, Ramsey, is all I can say.

  • Well, Ramsey is only trying to do what Ozil and Alexis have already done.. Handsome ransom. Jack’s is on the table. It’s become almost a vogue in the club. To counter it might be the reason for the early extension of contracts to Xhaka and co. The Ozil, Alexis, Wilshere and now Rambo’s contract mess might have played a part in the sudden exit of Wenger. Money matters.

    My guess is that Rambo is going to run down his.

  • Yep I agree PE if Ozil can earn bucketloads by sitting out his contract why shouldn’t Ramsey and I will bet he will settle for a lot less than Ozil. Where would be now without his goals from midfield. Off the top my head minus 2 f A cups and mid table last season?

  • Interesting post regarding a topic (Ozil,Ramsey) that i find fascinating and confusing in equal measures. If we are to play a high pressing game i just can’t see BOTH Ramsey and Ozil operating from central positions. And i’m not a fan of Ozil out wide. Or particularly Ramsey neither.

    Speaking of Ramsey and his whole situation i agree with Jnyc. Sign, sell, or sit in the reserves. In that order.

  • Nice post PE, I tend to agree with Johnnie, if Ramsey doesn’t sign, then sell him.
    I don’t want him to leave, but the club need to end this contract running down scenario.
    But that doesn’t stop us taking advantage, so maybe Fellaini is still an option on a Bosman?

  • Spot on referee, I thought it was a pen in real time, there’s just too much manhandling in the box, this makes it very very interesting 1-1

  • Croatia just scored– up 1-nil on Iceland.
    Looking better for Nigeria.


  • Hi Kev, yes Banega is looking good. But I think you are harsh on the Nigerian keeper for the first goal. Messi just hit it too sweetly to save that one.

  • Ok TA, maybe, but I’ve been very impressed by this Nigerian team, very calm under pressure, no panicking when a goal down, you can see the influence of their coach.

  • yes and no, Kev. I feel that they still lack a bit of dominance in midfield and as a result hand over the initiative to the Argentinians too much. Iwobi could give them a bit more control there.

  • Tbh I think that the Nigerians lack a striker Total, Musa is quick but they lack a clinical finisher.

  • That had been the headlines leading up Kev.
    I picked that scoreline in our pool– but didn’t feel confident about it.


  • Eris, PE,

    Really sorry that your boys did not make it through. A young and promising team in which Iwobi has to be integrated over the next few years. The future looks bright.

  • We just missed it. A young promising side but lacking (as Kev put it) clinical finishers.

  • Top Gun …. Identical dilemma. The high press is why am expecting another dynamo of Mfder after Torreira. Ozil is stuck with us at £300k/wk. Great player but how does he fit into the high press.

  • Jw … I know Jack is gone. What I mean by what’s on the table is his ransom even though I don’t think his was a blackmail.

  • Retsub …… Ramsey’s goals were critical because we lacked goal scorers. No we have Auba, Laca and Mkhi. So a more dedicated CMFder would give a better balance.

  • PE–
    Ah, understood.
    Though I look at it from the flip-side– that the club offered to ‘do right by Jack’. Making a fair offer to a longstanding Gunner to remain with the club. If Jack wanted to remain– he could have.

    So, I feel he is judged apart from Sanchez– that was ransom.
    Ozil, because he accepted. His talent is of recognized value.
    Ramsey, who’s not declared anything– yet.
    Jack rather stands apart.


  • TA, …. it’s tough proving that a wall painted white is white. My eyes tell me it’s white. Period. I see that Ozil is not an energy player and that’s possibly why he is such so creative. Emery might be able to figure out how to make him an effective passive component in his gengen press structure.

  • Well there you are wrong my friend. Ozil is athletic and very fit and can easily join a pressing team up front. Under Wenger they did not have to do this and his instructions were altogether different. Honestly, how anybody can think that Ozil could not do pressing or ‘is not an energy player’ is beyond me. I hope one day you will be able to see him live, PE, is all I can say.

  • TA … maybe I need a pair of glasses. I might be seeing wrongly as perceptions can be so prejudiced. I see that he is athletic enough in terms of speed but lacks agility. He prefers, as I see it, movement into the spaces, away from opponents. Most of pressing requires the opposite movement. I’d be so happy if he proves me wrong. Maybe it’s his body language that prejudices the perception of him.

  • PE 🙂

    His introvert persona and focus on efficiency may give the wrong impression at times.

    Ozil regularly runs more than 10km per game and is in Arsenal top three of distance covered per game (behind Xhaka and Monreal, I believe). He is (indeed) instructed to run into available space so he can receive the ball and make things happen. And I hope he will be asked to do so again next season. But I have absolutely no doubt that if Emery wants to play with a lot of pressing, he will join in without any issues.

  • Amen. Again it’s possible that it’s his “detachment” that permits that special vision of his. In which case he should not be tampered with.

    I noticed, for example, that his assists dropped dramatically, when there was that pressure on him to improve his goal scoring. Ozil seems to be always pleading ” Take me for who I am”. That’s part of Wengers greatness. He is sensitive to those more subtle states.

  • TA, thanks for the (Nigeria) support. It was always going to be that kind of game for the Nigerian side: a game on the edge. Pity, I couldn’t even see it real-time as I had to be at a pre-scheduled appointment involving a lot of driving. From what I hear, we probably lost due to non-clinical finishing, poor game management and some immaturity.

    Wish the Argentines all the luck, as they squeeze their way out of the group.

  • PE, fine article and relevant as we all look forward to a better season in 2018/2019, under the new man. After all the talk about “building a team around….”, I also agree that Emery looks like he is rather forging a unit/team that will fight together.

    I love Ramsey but if he is going to take the club for fools by running down his contract, only to make impossible demands so he can leave on a free, a year down the line, we have to what’s required: SELL! I had predicted Jack was unlikely to stay because if you really believe in a project or club, contract talks don’t take as long as it did. Ramsey’s goals from runs into the box can be compensated for by the number/quality of our strike force, and a tweak with team structure and tactics.

    Mesut Ozil…. a name that divides views. I feel Ozil can do whatever is asked of him and does work hard to dispossess opponents, whenever there is reason to. He was actively involved in the high press game we played v United for that 3-0 in the Emirates. It all depends on what Emery wants to see.

  • I am not sure Ever Banega will improve our team. The only reason he gets mentioned is his previous affiliation with Emery. He is wily and tough but he looks to me like a man whose confidence has taken a hit, since (appearing to) fail(ing) to hit great heights in Italy. We can do better than Banega, in my view.

  • Eris, ….. that’s brave of you on Ever Banega. We always swoon over new names. Deeply am hoping for another younger top drawer CMFder say between 23-26yrs. We already have enough of the nearly thirties and above. Tomorrow would soon come.

  • Ozil has many traits that i appreciate in a footballer and is a rare type of player. Unique . And i for one respect his technical and visual brilliance and on field intelligence.

    However, the idea of Ozil constantly pressing and harassing the opposition over the course of a match and in turn a season is practically a myth to me. History shows this.
    Is he lazy? i’d say no because he’s constantly floating around finding space but for those who say that Ozil can consistently “Gengen press” i’d love to be proven wrong but i’m somewhat apprehensive.

    He’s been consistently going missing after the Xmas period for a good few years now in terms of performances (and even appearances last season) and that was under Wenger’s ‘lassie fair’ regime.

    Massive season for him coming up.

  • Maybe Ozil should be left to be Ozil which would necessitate building the team “around” him ie a special arrangement to accomodate his attributes.

  • Ramsey. I believe he’ll stay. And it will be at a high salary. He’s what, 27? He’s at his peak. This is the biggest contract he’ll sign. Of course he’s going to play hardball over it. If Arsenal want him, they need to pay up. The man has been with us a decade. He’s scored 50+ goals from midfield including 2 that won 2 FA Cups. He’s put his body on the line and come back strong. His production, even in the non-special years has still been good. His only downside is his proclivity to injury (see the bit about putting his body on the line)

    Even those injuries might reduce if we use his runs into the box with less regularity. Unlike TA, I don’t think there is anything wrong with Ramsey’s defensive understanding. (There is with Xhaka, another disagreement with TA) But like any great player, he will have to accept sacrificing some of his best skill for the betterment of the team. He’s shown in big matches previously that he can do that. I have no doubt he can adapt to playing under Emery. I see him becoming a Frank Lampard style player as he gets older and as our attack has improved now. I’d not only pay Ramsey big money, I’d hand him the armband.

    Ozil will have no problems playing in a pressing system. He doesn’t need to be great at tackling and muscle people off the ball to be effective. He just needs to occupy the right spaces. And that is something that he is great at doing. He’s intelligent and hardworking, and winning the ball higher up the pitch will lead to more chances for him to create and score as well.

    I like how the rest of the midfield is shaping up as well. If we get Torreira and Banega both, I think we’d have a midfield that can cover for the loss of a player or two to injury without losing its character. (Unlike what happened when we lost the exceptional Santi Cazorla)

    Banega and Xhaka as deep lying creators. Torreira and AMN as defensive minded but technical dribblers. And Ramsey and Elneny as high stamina runners and passers, even if with differing temperaments.

  • Shard, ….. great advocacy on behalf of Ramsey and Ozil that cannot be ignored. Fine margins are what seperates the two sides of the divide though in the PL fine margins can make all the difference.

    It’s amazing how polarized opinions on Ozil are. It’s presently also raging in the German national team. He is the best against he is the worst.

  • Ozil is the king of the key pass in the PL, producing far more than anybody else. With the likes of Laca and Auba up-front, of course we want Ozil to keep producing these key passes, so he can get tons of assists (and the team many goals). Does that mean he should not get involved in pressing if that is the new team strategy? Absolutely not. Ozil is athletic and energetic but also bright, and he would not struggle at all imo with the new tactics. In fact, I believe he would relish this system and prosper in it, producing many more key passes and assists in the process.

  • That’s true PE. My guess is it has a lot to do with his body language. (Also, and I’ll say no more about this, his ethnicity shapes the debate to an extent too.) It is so contrary to all the things we are taught to appreciate in football. He doesn’t have the flashy stepovers, and usually doesn’t try to burst past 4 players (Because this is inefficient and not his game) He doesn’t score much. But he scores some great goals. His passing is undeniably great, he works super hard off the ball and his demeanour hides a fiercely competitive spirit.

    So what is great about him is undeniable. But what he doesn’t have is the kind of outward terrier like attitude that Alexis had for example. Which hid the fact that Alexis was running less and contributing less to (or indeed taking away from) Arsenal’s overall game once the goals dried up. People forgive a lot..A LOT..if they perceive that the player is giving it his all. Ozil doesn’t exhibit that part of the game well enough for us to forgive his flaws. And there are flaws just like with any player. Its up to him and his team to maximise his gifts and minimise on what he lacks.

    That’s what a manager’s job is. Ozil is who he is. And he, like Giroud actually, is the best at what he does. It’s legitimate to ask whether he fits into the system. I think he does. I remember the Napoli game where we did press and Ozil scored his first goal. In fact, whenever Arsenal, under Wenger, pressed, we did it very well. I wonder why we didn’t do it enough. Maybe fitness concerns?

  • Shard,

    Rambo only played about 60% of PL games over the last two seasons, scoring eight goals in 45 games. Nothing to write home about and not a player we anymore should push out the boat for. The Barcas and Bayerns do not seem to be sniffing around at the moment (and how he would jump if they would come for him). Even if you don’t agree with me that he leaves Xhaka exposed in midfield at times/is defensively undisciplined, Ramsey is not a player we can build on given his proneness to injury and slowness in getting to full effectiveness after yet another period of absence. He just does not play enough games for us to be the player we need him to be. I hope he will sign soon so the saga is over, but I would be even happier if we could sell him for a good price and get a quality replacement.

  • TA

    I just had a crazy idea. Do you think Ozil should play as a CF (A false 9)? He can harass the CBs without the ball, and the rest of the time he doesn’t need to chase back. If anything, the CBs spend their time chasing him around, allowing space for Auba and Laca/Miki to run into the box from the wings (where they will do most of the covering) and Ramsey from behind him.

    It might seem I’m arguing against myself and Ozil’s ability to press, but I recognise tacklng is not one of his strengths. He’s best at No.10. Why not withdraw the 9 enough to make him a 10. Ramsey runs forward enough to be a CF anyway, and two wide men have enough speed to use both defensively and offensively, where starting from wider can sometimes pose a bigger threat (Like Henry used to)

    I think it could work. If not as a starting/general system, I hope we practice it enough to switch positions between Ozil and Aubameyang during the match.

  • The Barcas and Bayerns do not seem to be sniffing around at the moment (and how he would jump if they would come for him)

    Why do we believe this? Because of ONE interview he gave in 2013 where he was asked if he would like to go to Barcelona. It’s hardly like he’s constantly been courting them. You never hear noises about him inviting bids from other clubs. Even now, even with his contract running down, it’s hardly a ‘saga’ because no club has been linked. You think it’s because he’s not in demand. I think it’s because he’s not putting himself around. This argument about lack of demand was used to explain why Ozil stayed. When my belief was he always intended to stay. I think the same is true of Ramsey. (His agent left the agency he was working at to start his own company. I think that was a reason for delay in the contract as well. It’s up and running now.)

  • Shard,

    That is an interesting thought. I love the fluidity and unpredictability of Laca, Auba and Ozil up-front, with Ramsey in the b2b/hole role and two allround midfielders behind them all. Ozil as a false nine could work, why not. Laca and Auba like space to operate in and they will get that more from the sides in general. Ozil can also go in the hole space and either Laca or Auba into the CF space at any given time, which would make us unpredictable again.

    Watching the WC games this summer, I have also come to realise again that we will also need a Giroudesque CF to overcome the PtB teams. Ozil is of course not that player, although he can play well with his back towards the goal; but we need height and aerial presence too. Maybe Eddie can play in that role?

  • Shard, re Ramsey I hope you are right and I am wrong. it is not about the interview that you refer to but about my intuition that he wants to play at another big club at this stage. I could be wrong of course.

  • Yeah it would be kind of like a box 4222 at times, a 4231 at others. and even a 460 like Spain played. Hey, even Barca played Cesc at 9 a few times. If nothing else, I’d like to see it tried. It would be fun for all the different combinations.

    TA, if that were the case with Ramsey I think we’d be seeing lots of stories about one club or another being interested in his services. That’s even a tactic used by some agents to gain them a better deal at their existing club. Yet we see none of that with Ramsey. I reckon he’ll have a talk with Emery and they’ll talk tactics, and once that is done and all parties are satisfied, the new contract will be signed.

    On his injury record, he seems to get these niggling little 2-3 week injuries more than long periods out. Annoying yes, and it surely gives some pause to paying a huge contract. But this is a world where Fellaini earns 110k/wk or so. He’s older, doesn’t play much, and doesn’t even count as homegrown. And he’s nowhere as good as Ramsey. Paying 200k+ to Ramsey for a 4-5 year deal seems just like a good deal to me. And like I said, I think if his runs into the box are more infrequent then I think his injuries will reduce. They seem to be more hamstring or thigh strains. More rotation will help too. (And I just get a feeling that under Emery, we’re going to see more of it than under Wenger)

  • Oh TA. Eddie is short. But both he and Laca have shown they can leap like gazelles. Auba is 6’2″. I’d like us to have a Giroud like player. But unlikely that we’ll sign one. Welbeck is big and strong but a different sort of player. And doesn’t score much anyway. He’s also in the last year of his contract. I suspect he’ll be sold. If we really wanted, Llorente is available from Spurs apparently. Or Solomon Rondon from WBA who seems good in the air whenever I see him. But that will cost money in transfers and wages, and squad space. I think we’re going to go without a Giroud type for now and hope to unlock defenses through Ozil and Miki’s creativity, and Auba, Laca and Ramsey’s intelligence in the box.

  • A lot of keystrokes being spent on Aaron Ramsey’s contract situation– here. With no reported comments by– or even about Ramsey for weeks now.

    (Late May, multiple sources:)
    “Asked if he was excited at the prospect of working with Emery, Ramsey said: ‘Of course. ‘I haven’t spoken to him at all yet, but I think it’s an exciting time for the club. I can’t wait to get back there now.’ ”

    Get a positive vibe from that. And from Ramsey’s attitude in general. Rather private guy, but a most positive type. Seems an ill fit to ascribe other player’s contract situations and the club’s handling of them in a one-size-fits-all view. SIR, and now E too, have made a clean break from every aspect of AW’s contract negotiating ways. We’ve seen the new team be ruthless in decision-making when called for; savvy in others.

    Been reported that Emery made it clear Aaron (and Auba) would be central to his rebuild plans when he convinced the club to offer him the job. Aaron Ramsey is a player who registered 20 goals and assists combined in all comps last season. The cost to replace him would be high. Replacing all he brings to the club might not be possible in a sell/buy. And Arsenal would not want to sell him to a PL rival.

    A 5-year offer is on the table, reportedly with a significant increase over his present £110k-per-week. Ramsey nor the club seem to be playing hardball. Not the time– yet, for either side. Until UE puts plan-to-chalkboard after the WC? Aaron Ramsey won’t have any idea of his role– nor whether it suits him.


  • Well chaps, let’s wait and see what happens with Ramsey. In the meantime we can all have our theories! 🙂

    Shard, I actually liked the way Lacazette played as CF last season, and I saw some good cooperation between Auba and Laca at the end of the season to make me think they will score dozens of goals next season, both from Ozil’s and each other’s service. I will still miss Giroud at Arsenal, but that ship seems to have gone now.

  • Wow.
    If Germany can score and Mexico doesn’t– that flips things quite unexpectedly.


  • Wonders of football shall never end! Germany are down 2-0 to Korean republic. Well and truly eliminated now. Crazy game. 3rd round of games were not prediction friendly, at all.

  • Eris–
    In our pool? 50 predictions in Round 3? 7 correct.
    We could have thrown darts at a map and done better! 😉


  • Long after the GER-SKR match finished– my broadcast flashed a shot of Ozil, Rudiger, Reus, Muller still sitting on the bench dejected, looks of disgust. Knowing (possibly Rudiger excepted) this was it. Never again.

    The chyron beneath the image exclaiming that Germany was the 4th of last five previous holders to go out in the Group Stage.


  • Well done, JW. You predicted that the Germans were not going to do well and so it turned out to be.

    A frustrating game to watch, that’s for sure. The Germans lacked movement and technical ability when it came to receiving the ball and finishing chances etc. Mesut looked frustrated as there was little movement in front of him and the combos he started often did not come off. The good news is that his holiday will start now and he can join the team a bit sooner than expected.

  • “I just had a crazy idea. Do you think Ozil should play as a CF (A false 9)? He can harass the CBs without the ball, and the rest of the time he doesn’t need to chase back. If anything, the CBs spend their time chasing him around, allowing space for Auba and Laca/Miki to run into the box from the wings (where they will do most of the covering) and Ramsey from behind him.”

    Your crazy idea seems cool to me.

    Does that make ME crazy?

  • Mixed feelings TA.
    The other half of my heritage is German. Do like many of those guys as players– and Low too.

    Where, had Gomez or Hummels or Kroos converted between the 70-80 minute mark– all had good chances– Germany could have packed it in and likely advanced. But Gomez whiffed point blank, Hummels pummeled pumpkins– and Kroos simply had no charms left.

    Feels odd Germany is out– while cheery about England’s chances.
    Strange days indeed.


  • Helluva’ OG in the SUI-CRC match to level at 2-2 in the 94th minute.
    Don’t think I’ve seen that before.


  • Jw1, Hummels and Kroos had 3 chances each. And a hell of a cross from Ozil to Hummels was the chance that should have been converted.

    Korea had been using the ptb mentality and soaked up the pressure. As an Asian it’s good to see them win, but the sight of spud Son made it much worse.

  • Four of our players (Ozil, Iwobi, Elneny, Campbell) out of the nine we have participating in the World Cup are on their way home. We will learn about Ospina later today. With their entitled one month holiday these four (five?) would have about 2 weeks preseason with the rest of the squad before our 1st match of the season. I wonder if they would be considered for that match.

  • @PE – Our first match of the season is against Manchester City so I reckon we’ll need the best team possible to start the new era on the right foot. Whether Özil, Iwobi and Elneny will be devastated with their World Cup campaign or not is a real question. Germany and Nigeria had their faith in their own hands while Egypt were a major disappointment in Group A.

    Judging by the performances so far, I’d say Uruguay have a strong case to win the tournament with Suarez & Cavani upfront and with an Atletico Madrid-powered defence helped with our boy Torreira. Yes, their group was hardly a difficult one but they still managed to win it without conceding a goal and thrashed hosts in the process.

    Croatia are also strong, especially in the midfield.

    France have won the group but they look rather flat. I even think Argentina will kick them out of the competition.

    Brazil might be No. 1 favourites to win the tournament given that Germany are out. Their next opponents are Mexico, a team that has lost in Ro16 in the last five WCs (Germany, USA, Argentina, Argentina, Holland), and in three of those cases they were very unlucky.

    Belgium have conceded two goals against Tunisia that should be a warning to Martinez. They were rather wasteful v Tunisia despite scoring five goals as Batshuayi should have scored five by himself and he was on the pitch for less than quarter of the game!

    England – I see them going out very soon. Maybe Colombia can give them a football lesson but only if they play in a way they played against Poland. Surprisingly good Japan and Senegal both look like teams that will end their journey in Ro16.

  • Like nearly all of that Admir–
    And will weigh-in a bit on Mexico’s mindset.
    Thoroughly believing their performance versus Germany was an indicator of their own ability? They were thrashed by Sweden in a match that could have seen them out of the WC– had Die Mannschaft scored one when it mattered.

    Don’t think Mexico have another giant-killing in them.
    Brazil, for all the hype and hoopla– have the ability to be very good.
    Better than Sweden.


  • Uruguay are the dark horses, twice winners of the World Cup, brilliant defence, deadly attack and the midfield ain’t bad.
    France are like watching paint dry.
    Argentina are a drama, but with Messi are capleble of anything.
    Brazil are all reputation and no substance.
    But I can see the winner coming from one of those.

  • Mind you I do like Croatia, would be good for the competition to have a new winner.

  • @JW – you are pretty much right about Mexico even if I’d like to see Carlos Vela doing well-a against Brazil and that horrible diving creature with a hair-cut made of birds’ poo. Alas, Brazil are too strong, with Neymar, Coutinho, hard-working midfielders (unlike their 2002 team, this time their midfielders are already playing in Europe) and very strong defence led by Thiago Silva. Mexico, on the other hand, lost the firm ground once Korea scored that consolation goal (except every goal counts at World Cup due to this stupid rule that a goal-difference is a tie-breaker) in the injury time. Any defeat against Sweden would see them finish behind Ibrahimović-less and fairly limited Swedish side so they had to rely on Korea to pull out a major surprise. They could have avoided stress if they had been less profligate against Germany and tighter against Korea.

  • has been informed that Portuguese powerhouse Porto are in talks with Premier League side Arsenal over the transfer of ex-Nigeria U20 skipper Kelechi Nwakali.

    Negotiations are at an advanced stage and Porto are hoping to conclude a season-long loan deal before they begin their pre-season preparations.

    Nwakali’s camp claim that the midfielder has already agreed personal terms with the 28-time Primeira Liga champions and the player is now awaiting approval from the Gunners hierarchy before flying to Portugal in the next few days.

    Arsenal say they cannot process a work permit for Nwakali because he was omitted from Nigeria’s 23-man World Cup roster, so another loan move is definitely on the cards.

    Since the former Golden Eaglets captain turned professional, he has played his best football at MVV Maastricht, scoring 7 goals in 52 appearances in two different loan spells with the Dutch club.

    The 20-year-old Kelechi Nwakali is contracted to Arsenal until June 30, 2021.

  • Jeorge Bird
    First-team players due to start training next week: Leno, Cech, Bellerin, Holding, Mustafi, Chambers, Mavropanos, Kolasinac, Mkhitaryan, Ramsey, Maitland-Niles, Lacazette, Aubameyang, Martinez (already back), Jenkinson, Reine-Adelaide, Perez and Akpom (18/28 players)
    8:54 PM – Jun 27, 2018

  • Hm.. now the media is talking about Nacho (Mr Arsenal) move out of Arsenal.
    Something wrong with the media here?

  • AK,

    I thought The Jeff was still injured and out until Sept/Oct. Mind you, I am only repeating what I heard/read some weeks ago — coupled with the rumour that he was being considered for another loan/fare-thee-well episode.

    Hope not. I think he has great potential.

  • Hi Red, not sure about the fitness of JRA, as far as I know Koscielny (Dec) is our only injury, can’t say I’ve read anything myself about Jeff, but as you say a loan is on the horizon for him I reckon.

  • Thanks, AK,

    It is pretty much impossible to sift the wheat from the chaff — but I would rather take your understanding of the situation rather than the speculative nonsense rampant on NewNow etc.

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