Arsene Wenger has silenced us all, including me. We all thought he had gone out to get his usual late night ice cream, but he came back with one of the finest Black Forest Cakes out there, fresh out of the oven. If you have read my blog, I said that I had almost reached my tipping point after the Villa game, having been let down by the manager and board. I think it’s fair to say that we haven’t strengthened in the players where we really need to, but we have bought Mesut Özil. Just think about that for a few seconds. The best #10 in the world, at the peak of his powers is now an Arsenal player. A player that has left Madrid fans fuming and Barca fans congratulating and thanking us. I really don’t think I have ever been this excited to see a signing in action for us.
Some supporters are still angry that we didn’t buy a striker, and I agree with them. Making a late push for Demba Ba on loan shows that there wasn’t a plan all along and we have been reduced to keeping Bendtner. On the other hand, when United bought van Penis, did they need a striker? No. They needed a quality CM (and still do), but Fergie knew that a top class player would take them up a level. And Özil is in that bracket of players. He is a footballer who can walk into any team in the world and improve them. Yes, we are short upfront and a lot of Mesut’s surgeon-like precise found top quality finishers in the form of Cristiano, Benzema and Higuain. We obviously do not have someone like that upfront, with Giroud being a very different striker, but right now, we will have to do with what we have got and as supporters. We have to be the 12th man and do all that we can. We thought we would be getting another Centre Back as well, but Sagna has shown that he’s a great option there and with Vermaelen back after the international break, where would this new signing fit? I personally feel Verm should play in midfield in Mikel’s absence. He’s quite a liability at the back and I think he has all the attributes to a good Defensive Midfielder/Box-to-box midfielder, similar to how David Luiz was positioned at times under Di Matteo and Benitez. They have similar advantages (good on the ball, tough tackling and decent going forward) and similar downfalls (overcommit and misjudge tackles). He’s another leader and we could do with as many of these as possible. Tactically, I personally think we will see a different approach from Arsene this season. We had earlier been forced to Rambo in Mikel’s position, which left us terribly exposed vs Villa but I’ve noticed that since then, he and Jack have been playing a lot closer to each other in the centre of midfield with Rosicky chasing down players ahead of them. This gives Santi a lot more space to do what he does best. With Rosicky constantly exchanging places with him, we don’t really have an out-and-out left winger, but we are still covered on that left flank. My guess is that Özil will replace Rosicky in this formation.
Being a left footer, it’s always easier to open up the body and play passes to the left winger (which is how Cristiano got so many goals) as pointed out by @CulannDavis and @Wrighty_8 and the speed of Theo, if played on the left, coupled with the German’s through balls would be deadly. Will be very interesting to see how we line up. Only a year and a half ago, our very own prodigy Zelalem tweeted that he dreamed of playing alongside Mesut. Today, it’s very much reality. Having been promoted to the first team as a 16-year old, he will be training with his idol every single day. Dreams do come true. Coming to our other signings; Sanogo, Flamini and Viviano. From what I have seen of Yaya, I’m honestly not too impressed. He struggled to keep a hold of the ball or even string a few passes together in his brief cameos against Fulham and Fenerbahce, but still is very young and raw. It could have even been the pressure of being on the big stage, but it’s clear that he needs time to integrate himself with English football. Some cup games followed by a loan spell in January would do some good. I still think Bendtner would be our second choice CF ahead of Sanogo. I’m not the biggest fan of Nick myself, but people underrate and forget how many important goals he has scored for us in the past. A hattrick at home vs Porto without Cesc, late winners against Hull, Wolves and first touch header vs Spurs come to mind immediately. Yes, he let it all get to his head but he can surely do a job. I think it was a good decision by him to issue that statement for the fans, and hope he can use these two weeks to regain match fitness and come off the bench if and when needed. He may be an arsehole, but he’s our arsehole and needs our support. Coming to Flamini; When we got him, there were loads of cynical fans being very negative about it. I was pretty unsure myself, but after the North London Derby, I realised that it was signing Arsene simply had to make. I’ve said this before; football is all about perception. If Flamini, a tough tackling experienced defensive midfielder, had never been at Arsenal and had about two years left on his contract at Milan and we had signed him for 10-15m, Gooners would be praising Arsene. Instead, we got him on a free. And they got mad at him. What impressed me most in the 50 odd minutes he played vs Spurs was how mature he’s become. In his 5 years at Milan, he’s played with the likes of Pirlo and Gattuso alongside him, obviously learned a lot and has “unfinished business” at Arsenal FC as he puts it.
He was barking out orders and urging the team forward as if he had the armband on; exactly the kind of midfielder we need in the middle of the park. He even gathered the team after the full time whistle and shows what it means to be a part of a team. I remember reading that he used to sometimes run about 15 km a game for us in his last stint at the club. I’m sure he doesn’t have those legs but he can definitely still do a job. People criticised the way he left us, but I sincerely think it wasn’t his fault. He was a very late bloomer, having mediocre seasons in between but an outstanding last one and until then, we never offered him a renewal. I’m glad to see him back. He knows Arsenal, Arsene and London well, and I’m sure he can help us challenge again. Our other signing, is Emiliano Viviano on loan from Palermo, who had spent last season at Fiorentina. We have definitely been linked with him in the past, and it seems like a logical move. A one year loan deal with an option to buy gives him time to prove his worth to try and convince us to pay the full amount for him. With the World Cup less than a year away, he will be looking to compete with Sirigu and De Sanctis to find a spot on the bench and be Buffon’s second choice. I must admit when I first googled him, I instantly closed the tab cause he looked so much like Almunia! Hopefully, he doesn’t keep like him.
All in all, I am glad this mad transfer window is closed and we can get back to focusing on exactly what matters; winning every single one of our games. A few quotes from Mesut have left me really looking forward to how this season and the following ones turn out, especially this one: “From our negotiations it is clear the club has huge ambition and I look forward to being part of an exciting future.” Pretty different what that Dutch traitor had said about ambition a season ago. I hope to see a different Arsene; one that spends and adds when necessary again in the future. I bet he was shaking like he had Parkinson’s and sweating profusely when telling Ivan to finalise the 42m deal, but it will be worth it. We don’t mind him only spending on “top, top quality”, we just want it to be more frequent because we have the funds. I’ve been annoyed with him in the past and still would love some answers to my questions, but there’s no one else I’d rather see at the helm when we return to our glory days. Get behind him and the boys. Up The Arsenal
Thanks to today’s guest writer on 1ND2OU Pranoy Thipaiah who you can follow on twitter @P38L0 He is another mad Sydney based Gooner who keeps crazy hours to follow his beloved Arsenal and he also writes for his own blog when the mood takes him. As it is Friday I would say #FF as he deserves more followers than he has.
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