Ozil unveiled at Arsenal while Pearce’s words are questioned.

The international inter-lull has finally moved along after overstaying its welcome and the real football we all appreciate returns this weekend. The highs of the North London derby victory over Tottenham and the ground breaking, record signing of German Mesut Ozil have tailed off in the midst of the World Cup qualifying campaign. In fairness the name of Mesut Ozil has not been far from the lips of Arsenal fans on a daily basis since September the 2nd and if anything the excitement factor has steadily grown as his impending debut for the Gunners draws ever closer.

The players returned to training yesterday following the international break and the opportunity was taken by the club to promote Ozil’s first training session with his teammates. His welcome to the club may not be of Real Madrid proportions with the filled stadiums and go-go dancers but it is quite clear his acquisition is appreciated by all associated with the club. Ozil was able to provide his first proper Arsenal interview from within the club and he did not disappoint, he took the opportunity to state his desire to play for Arsenal. He stated his admiration for the way the club has improved the careers of players to become some of the best players in the world, the names of Henry and Fabregas were mentioned as he exhibited his ambition to be even better than the world class level he is already at.

ozil 11

It is exciting to think of how good he is and the potential he has to be even better. His age is one of the major plus points when acknowledging what a coup his signing is. He has so many years ahead of him and to think he was pinched from Real Madrid at such a stage in his career is still something that cannot be overlooked.

Arsene was full of praise for his latest acquisition and also reiterated the potential Ozil has to become even better. He said:

“He’s at a good age. He is 25 in October and he’s already a great player. There’s room now between 25 and 30 for him to become a dominant player and to make a step up from that”

which is so true and a clear indication that the Arsenal team will be built around the German, the exciting thing about this is if teams decide to focus on nullifying the attacking threat of the German it will only free up space for the other attacking talent in the team. Cazorla, Wilshere, Ramsey, Podolski to name a few are all dangerous in and around the box, to focus on just Ozil will just be the opposing team’s funeral.

There may have been a slight chuckle from the press when Ozil was asked if Arsenal could challenge for the league title, but Ozil was totally valid with his response. He didn’t guarantee it could happen but he did not rule out the possibility either. He is accepting of the football philosophy at the club and will do all he can to help the club achieve success. He said:

“We want to play attractive football to improve but of course also successful football. I can’t promise to win trophies but I can promise as a team we can give our all to in trophies.”

I’m pretty sure the club will do all it can and the boost the German has brought to the club is like having a twelfth man on the pitch. The fans will sing louder, the players will raise their game and the opposing teams will feel that little bit of fear going into games.

In other news Phil Jones has spoken out against Stuart Pearce who was overly critical of Jones and our very own Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain when discussing the England U-21 team. Pearce’s comments were ones of bitterness and he was quite disrespectful in naming Oxlade-Chamberlain as a player that refused to represent England at the European U-21 championships.

pearce

That Phil Jones spoke out and clarified that Roy Hodgson actually had the final say on who from the seniors could play in the tournament only helped showcase Pearce’s pathetic excuse making for the poor showing in the summer. It would be nice if Oxlade-Chamberlain would also come out and back up Phil Jones words just to put Pearce firmly in his place. Additionally the F.A made a statement regarding Pearce’s rant expressing their disappointment in his need to criticize individuals. I for one would like this non-story to filter away and not be a topic that reoccurs and fulfills the former England manager’s intention of destabilizing and affecting the players he mentioned.

Stuart Pearce’s time has come and gone, the club’s focus is now firmly on Sunderland away and obtaining three points. Away to Sunderland is not an easy game and has been quite an eventful fixture over the past few seasons for Arsenal which would make it a tricky betting accumulator.

All in all with the injury picked up by Tomas Rosicky in midweek, the opportunity to see Mesut Ozil grace the pitch in Arsenal colours is heightened. Nonetheless exciting times ahead, roll on Saturday; we have waited too long for the real football to return.

Enjoy your day people.

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The wing it is for Theo next season.

With the football season done, as much as the fans despise international friendlies the game between England and Brazil was a welcome exception to the rule. The Arsenal interest much like the game against Republic of Ireland came in the form of Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. Given the mounting rumours of a done deal the Arsenal interest could be extended to that of Brazil number one Julio Cesar. Oxlade-Chamberlain started on the bench however the game was an opportunity for fans to see Theo Walcott in a more offensive potentially central attacking role for England against a top quality side. Roy Hodgson opted for a three up top formation meaning Theo played in a role he was familiar playing at Arsenal. Roy Hodgson did allow him freedom to drift inside to support Rooney and he also swapped flanks throughout the game with James Milner.

Overall I believe the performance of Theo Walcott showcased the argument that he is not ready to take on a central striking role for Arsenal next season. Not meaning that he can never play there for Arsenal, he can be certainly terrorise certain teams with his pace and it will be a case of Arsene doing his homework on the choosing the right teams to utilise Theo’s pace against in a central role.

In yesterday’s game it is a fair conclusion to state that Walcott played well below his devastating best. With the game finely poised against top quality opposition with no need to commit men forward Theo was faced with receiving the ball with men behind the ball and he struggled to make use of the ball when he had it. It’s in games like this you need your forward to show strength and composure on the ball, be able to hold up the ball and bring others into play instead Theo’s play was hurried, his control was off and on too many occasions he ran into blind alleys. He did manage one clear chance which was superbly saved by the keeper; the angle was closed down and would have required good fortune for the ball to squirm its way in.

theo brazil

Nerves may have certainly played a big part in Theo’s game however it’s the big games you want your big players to step up to the mark, that’s what sets them apart from the rest. Theo has had a good season for Arsenal, the stats speak for themselves and this article is in no way an attack on the abilities of Theo Walcott. However it is a reflection on how Arsenal needs to do business this summer to bring in a specialist centre forward to share the load and create competition with Olivier Giroud next season.

Arsene wenger cannot go into the new season stating the squad has sufficient cover with players that can play in the central role such as Theo and Gervinho. The signs were there yesterday in the Brazil game of what is lacking in Theo Walcott’s game before he can make the full on transition to Thierry Henry mark II.

In my opinion the wing is still the best option, playing with talented playmakers’ that can pick him out when flying up the flanks. Until Walcott sharpens up the parts of his game that do not require pace he may have to wait a while before the fans and the manager take his claims for a central role more seriously.

Meanwhile Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain scored a fantastic goal when he came on in the second half at a time when England were trailing and looking devoid of any spark to get back into the game. His brilliant snap-shot squeezed past the outstretched arm of Cesar and into the back of the net to take the game to 1-1. He clearly enjoyed his moment on the pitch and showcased his potential to score a goal out of nothing with his equalizer; an attribute that will be very welcome next season at the Emirates. He has signed off from his second season stutter with a screamer, the perfect tonic to take with him onto next season and hit the ground running.

Enjoy your day people.

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Is Ox the trump card vs Italy? Santos defending questioned – AFC

That’s three quarter finals out-of-the-way now, one more left. This one being the game which carries the most interest for me being England. Why I’m getting excited I don’t know, the football hasn’t been the most entertaining but I suppose once there’s representation from our own in the form of Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain I get that sense of willing them and the team to do well like a pushy parent watching their child in an under-8 match.

Italy is going to be a daunting match; anyone who does not follow either team will struggle to find any positives in a match between two sides whose strengths have been keeping it tight at the back. The match will be as close to a chess game as you can get, there’s no wonder that there has been talk of penalties as this game has stalemate written all over it.

Each country does have an ace up their sleeve to turn the game on its head and provide us with moments of magic to be remembered. In the blue corner is the unpredictable Mario Ballotelli, this guy is such an enigmatic free spirit that he could win the game single-handed… if he feels like it. There is such a fine line with this guy that he has as much chance banging in the winning goal as he has doing something brainless and getting himself sent off, let’s hope its Mr. brainless today. In the white corner it’s our very own Oxlade-Chamberlain. Young Alex has shown so much maturity in this tournament so far, thrust into the starting line up for the opening game against the French he did not let his teammates down.  He has done everything asked of him when he has come on for England as Roy Hodgson has laid down strict instructions to each player to maintain his tactical plans and ensure results are ground out.

Could this be the time that (excuse the copyrighted Wengerism) the hand brake is taken off?  Arsenal fans know what the Ox can do with the ball at his feet and we have witnessed at the Euros so far his unfamiliar restraints as more focus has been on keeping shape, playing it simple and not giving the ball away cheaply.

As these two defensive teams set up against each other it will need the intervention of a special player to make that difference to win the game. Why cant that player to make the difference be Mr Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain?

As much as I think Theo Walcott has earned an opportunity to start and be more involved in the England team I can’t see him getting much change out of the disciplined Italian defence. They won’t leave gaps to exploit and have the nous to play on his weakness: the physical battle. With that said I hope I am completely wrong, I want to be wrong on this front as I hope he can leave as big an impression as he did in the Sweden game.

It really is an opportunity for both our Arsenal starlets to make a real name for themselves. All eyes with be on Italy and England tonight, only one team can win and so someone has to play a part in getting their country through.

It was nice to see Laurent Koscielny play 90 minutes for France last night against Spain. Although Spain came away with a 2-0 win our centre back had a good game and wasn’t overawed by the occasion. Overall there were some undertones coming from the French that all was not well and just like what we saw with the Netherlands it affected the team performance. Nasri started on the bench and despite how much I dislike the mercenary I have to admit he has been one of the better performers so far for the French. The alleged disagreements that have gone on behind the scenes in the French camp had a knock on effect on Laurent Blanc’s team selection resulting in Nasri not starting the game. Even when he did come on in the second half his body language was one of disinterest as his true colours shone through; pretty glad that type of personality is no longer at our great club, good riddance. Let’s hope Giroud and M’Villa weren’t part of the infighting though I believe it revolved more around the senior members of the team. With France now out I’m hoping that the potential deals for the two players can now be concluded.

The Brazil national coach Mano Manezes made a statement this weekend that is unlikely to send ripples of disapproval through everything linked with Arsenal. When questioned about why Andre Santos has lost his place in the Brazil team the manager confirmed his reasoning for this was because Andre Santos is a little bit rubbish at defending. Not in those exact words I admit but the manager did say:

“The problem with Andre Santos is tactical. He turned my hair grey when we were still at Corinthians” “Why? Because he is tactically irresponsible, but he did score 20-goals and it was worth it in the end. It was value for money and with the Seleção (Brazil squad selection), you cannot pay this price”

Sums up his time with Arsenal last season, great going forward he adds that little bit of class to our play with his immaculate touch and control. He certainly scored some important goals for us at times but he also left us Arsenal fans biting our nails through nervousness with some of his defending.

Steve Bould will surely have defending on his radar this season and will ensure as a unit we will be stronger defensively. It will be interesting how Santos takes the news since this directly affects his international opportunities. Unlike Stewart Robson whose only audience should be the Samaritans hotline; Manezes words carry more power and would need to be adhered. He knows Santos from their time together in club football and has probably told the player this a million times. Quotes can look more serious than they are at times and the managers comments could  have been said more light-heartedly for all we know. Though as the saying goes: “many a true word spoken in jest”.

Enjoy your day people

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