When the team sheet was released, I initially couldn’t see any problem with it. I mean, with the likes of Aubameyang, Lacazette and a somewhat in form Iwobi, surely we’d score goals right? Also, not to mention a back 3 of Mustafi, Sokratis and Laurent Koscielny giving their partnership one more try. I also feel a bit more confident when I see Kolasinac playing, because I know what quality he can bring to the team. Bellerin was on the bench, which was a great thing to see, but strangely there was no Özil. Arsenal and himself had been bragging that he’s got a full week of training in, but the German was no where near the bench once again, which frustrated a lot of fans, including me. We can’t be paying 350k a week to someone who is hardly getting any game time. I don’t know if Emery is ‘tactically’ deciding against Özil, or if Özil is getting injured/sick again, but either way, something has to be done about it! I can’t even remember the last game I saw Özil play in. It really bothers me.
But enough about him. I was confused as to why Torreira was on the bench as well. I get that Emery might have wanted to rest him, but he had his week’s rest after he didn’t feature in that FA Cup win against Blackpool. Maybe Emery wanted to save his energy for the Chelsea game? Once again, I don’t know… but what I do know is that we needed him. Guendouzi was all over the show again, and a lot of his passes weren’t coming off. Granted, he did have a few shots at the goal when no one gave him options up ahead, and one of those shots came really close to being a stunning goal, so I’ll commend him for taking the initiative in those situations.
Our defence looked quite solid throughout the game, and I was happy with the effort they put in. One poor clearance from Xhaka was our downfall in this case, which just goes to show you that all it takes is one mistake and the game could be lost. But it wasn’t so much the defence that bugged me than our attack on the day. There was absolutely no creativity on the day, and Auba and Laca played really, really, poorly. Iwobi was threatening and probably was our best attacking player on the day, but it simply wasn’t good enough. All of the above had chances to score, but absolutely squandered them. I would say Kolasinac also had one of the best chances of the game to get a goal, but opted for a pass instead, which disappointed me heavily, because I know he can hit them low and hard.
Our creativity on the pitch improved a bit when we brought Ramsey on. He was the link between our three attacking players and our midfield, and you could see the team performed a bit better when he came on. But this is a player who should’ve come on in the beginning of the second half, or even better, started the game, especially during the mysterious absence of Özil. I still simply cannot believe that we’re letting him go for free at the end of the season. It really grates my cheese.
But what really pisses me off more than that, is the fact that we can’t sign any new players on permanent deals in this transfer window. Unai Emery admitted that we were only capable of loaning players and I went on a rant about this before I read this well written article which gave me a new insight as to why we can’t spend any money. Basically, the gist is that there are these bloody rules put in place which says we can’t exceed a certain wage limit in the club. Our wage bill is almost filled up, and to make matters worse, it’s the bang average players who are weighing us down in this regard. Players like Carl Jenkinson, who is no where near breaking into the first team at the moment, earns just 5k less than Torreira, and Elneny, who is also a very average player, earns 5k more than Torreira. Mesut Özil earns 350k a week but isn’t even starting games these days. And if he’s not selected, then he’s probably sick, and surely isn’t spending his wages properly when it comes to health. Petr Cech, who also hasn’t been great, is taking a whooping 100k out of the wages, as well as Mhkitaryan, who hasn’t played his best this season, taking 180k home after every week. The only player who seems to be worthy of his wages is Aubameyang, who demands 200k a week. His recent goal scoring form justifies this figure and I wont argue with that. All in all, I really hope we offload some of the deadwood this season to free up the wage bill so that we can accommodate other players with better skill.
All in all, that was a sh*t performance from the boys on Saturday. We looked extremely flat and had no desire to win this game whatsoever. I think Emery may have got his tactics wrong for this one, but hopefully he learns from his mistakes. A lot of fans already questioning whether the boss is the right man for the job, and already want him out. That’s just pure ridiculousness. Give the man 2 seasons at least before you start with that nonsense. We face Chelsea next, who have widened the gap between us by 6 points after they beat Newcastle. We’ve got to beat them at the Emirates to close that gap back to 3 points and stay in the fight for top 4.
Come on you Gunners!