Morning all, a very quick one to get us through Christmas Eve. The manager met the press yesterday ahead of the West Brom on Monday and there were a couple of positive snippets of team news.
Both Aaron Ramsey and Danny Welbeck are back in full training, which is a good thing in my opinion. It’s unclear yet how close they are to playing but the former is likely to get the nod before the latter. Welbeck has been out since last April with a knee injury sustained against Man City, and it’s going to take a bit of time for him to get up to speed.
With Ramsey having only started six times this season himself, Arsene Wenger sounded a bit cautious, saying:
Let’s not be too premature, he’s had some setbacks so let’s hope this time he will be all right.
While on Welbeck, he said:
It’s like starting a new career because he has been out for such a long time. I am cautious because with the little setbacks when you have been out for a long time, you have to be patient.
It’s a new addition to the lexicon. Not only is Welbeck like a new signing, it’s also like he’s starting a new career. Good job for us he decided on football again and didn’t think of trying his luck as a plasterer or something. Anyway, hopefully he’ll get properly fit and stay fit, he’s had some genuine bad luck since he joined us, and there’s no doubt that a fully fit, sharp Danny Welbeck would add something to our attack.
The boss was also asked about criticism of Mesut Ozil after he had a couple of poor performances against Everton and Man City. He said he didn’t really see or hear much of it, but backed the German to find his form again:
He is a guy that works a lot harder than people think. His body language goes a bit against him sometimes. It’s true that we’re a team that wins the ball high up very well with Sanchez and Ozil – that means he does his part of the job very well.
Mesut Ozil is an important player, he’s a big player and the big players always respond to the criticism on the pitch.
Handled perfectly, I think. I’m pretty sure he was well aware of what had been said post-game, but more or less refusing to acknowledge it means he doesn’t add any fuel to a fire that has burned down now at this stage. At the same time though, he’s put it up to Ozil to respond in the best way possible – by playing better. It’s protective on one hand, and on the other he’s looking for more from a player well capable of it.
As I said earlier in the week though, as merited as the criticism of those two performances was, it went too far in certain places. If we’re going to get back to winning ways, then Ozil will be a big part of that, so let’s see how he performs over the next couple of weeks.
I also think that the highlight of Ozil has taken some of the focus off the bigger issue, which is why we were so poor collectively. It’s a team sport, and while it’s possible for one man to make the difference, the responsibility for those two defeats is not just his. The manager needs to get more from everyone.
Not a lot else going on this morning, so I’m going to leave it there. I’d just like to take the opportunity on behalf of all of us here at Arseblog and Arseblog News to wish you all a very happy Christmas. I know not everyone who reads is celebrating it, but whether you do or not, I hope you have peace and love, health and happiness – things that would make the world a better place whatever you do at this time of the year.
And if you need a soundtrack for your last minute shopping, you can check out this week’s Arsecast in which I talk to Tim Stillman about Arsenal and stuff. Have a good one folks 👊