Hello, it’s a bank holiday here today, so just a quickie for you as this Interlull drags ever onwards. There are a bunch of friendlies tomorrow evening in which some of our players will be involved, after that we get back down to business with a visit from Watford in the Premier League on Saturday.
It’s the longest of long shots for Arsenal to win it this season, but Mesut Ozil says the team have to stay focused – although admits that’s been an issue for them at times this season.
Speaking after Germany’s 3-2 defeat to England, he said:
I do not think it impossible. Although there are only a few games left, Leicester have a run against some of the big teams to come. We ourselves must not allow any more slip-ups. The hope of the title is still there – we have the players for the title.
It’s not impossible, but hugely improbable. We need Leicester do this:
While we’d also need Sp*rs to do a bit of this:
And then win all our games which is a bit:
But hey, all we can do at this point is give it a go and see what happens until what we all think is going to happen happens and it’s probably not Arsenal winning the league.
Ozil also touched on what should happen this summer, suggesting that ‘reinforcements’ are needed, especially with the arrival of Pep Guardiola to Manchester (and it seems likely that he’ll go head to head with the most horrid man in football when Mourinho takes over at United). He said:
We know that it will not be easy and that we need reinforcements if we want next season to be on top here again.It is again interesting to see who invests in who and how much the clubs do during the summer break.
In addition, great coaches are coming into the league. I am thinking primarily of Pep Guardiola. Wherever he has been, he had success. He is a coach, keen on playing and his teams are feared.
It’s not unfair to suggest that any team that doesn’t achieve its primary goal – ie. winning the Premier League – could do with additions to help it do that. Also, when your best player talks in such a way, you’re well advised to listen because we know players these days have little compunction in moving on if they feel their ambitions can’t be realised at their current club.
On top of that though, there’s going to be some turnover in the Arsenal squad this summer as some players reach the end of the line. Mikel Arteta and Tomas Rosicky will both be allowed to leave the club as their deals come to an end, while Mathieu Flamini is another who could be moved on as we seek to upgrade in that area of the pitch.
There’s unrest from Kieran Gibbs who wants to play regularly and there are already links to replacement left backs (here and here); David Ospina is unlikely to want to spend another season playing second fiddle to Petr Cech although his position could easily be filled by Wojciech Szczesny or Emi Martinez; and then there are some who are not obvious departures but whose underperformance or lack of availability this season might well give the manager some pause for thought.
Jack Wilshere, for example. I don’t think there’s any way we’d consider selling him, and at this point it’d probably be hard to find someone willing to take the risk on him, but surely his position in the squad has to be reassessed. After what’s happened this season, it would be foolish to assume he can be anything other than a nice surprise if he’s fit. And if he is, great, but let’s look at the qualities he has as a player – qualities we’ve missed this season – and bring them into the squad in the shape of someone else.
All in all it sounds like a 2014 summer – in which we signed 4 or 5 players –needs to happen because of turnover and the need to improve. We also have to consider the fairly obvious dichotomy between what we’d like to happen and what generally happens, but I suspect by the time this season finishes, the pressure will be well and truly on the manager and those above to react in a very strong way.
Right, that’s about that. James and I will be here with a bank holiday Arsecast Extra for you this morning. If you have any questions or topics for discussion, please send them to @gunnerblog and @arseblog with the hashtag #arsecastextra. We’ll have that for you before lunch.
Until then, have a good one.