I’m steaming straight into today’s post like Ramires does challenges on opponents – with reckless abandon and the minimum of fuss.
First up it’s our peerless, midfield visionary Mesut Ozil, who says he sees a lot of things – which is obviously no surprise given he could spot a throughball to a team-mate from the dressing room – to admire about compatriot and Arsenal team-mate Per Mertesacker. Speaking to Arsenal Player, he said:
I always see Per as a role model. He always gives everything for the team, you can see that he’s determined and wants to be successful. You can sense that on the pitch. He’s very focused, very professional. He does his job 100 per cent – he’s not the sort of person who does things by half measures. He’s rather the sort of person who, if he has something in his head, wants to see it through. He looks after himself and his diet, and before matches he does his exercises to make sure that he stays fit and doesn’t pick up any injuries. You can see on the pitch that he’s fresh and is always there for everyone. We’re just really pleased to have him and you can sense on the pitch that he gives everything for the team.
And I’m really pleased to have him in our side too. Along with Francis Coquelin and Olivier Giroud, I think he anchors this Arsenal team, allowing Ozil et al to play their liquid football around them.
So what if he can’t run very fast, because he reads the game like the best of them, his passing’s always clean and crisp, aerially, in open-play at least, he’s dominant, and he also isn’t afraid to dish out the odd rollicking or two to team-mates, which is always healthy for any team. And Ozil can certainly vouch for that last one, with memories of the end of the league game away to Man City the season before last, still relatively fresh.
Someone else who’s determined, professional and wants to be successful is our new signing Petr Cech, who when speaking at a Q&A on Members’ Day earlier this week, revealed his appetite for silverware is as insatiable as ever, despite his trophy-laden spell at Chelsea. He said:
A lot of times, people say that if you win a major trophy you get satisfied and stop working. I think it’s the other way around. Once you win a big trophy, it’s such an amazing feeling of achievement and accomplishment that you want to live it again. This group now knows how to win trophies and they enjoy it very much. You can see the celebration every time we win trophies, and everybody speaks about it. I’m sure that everybody wants to at least repeat that this year.
Well the do say that success breeds success and that was certainly true of our season last time around, as we secured a second, successive FA Cup with consummate ease against Aston Villa in May, having stuttered over the line 12 months earlier against Hull City.
Although we also had a certain Alexis Sanchez to produce a goal from nowhere and better players of course always help, the experience of that first taste of success undeniably played a big part in our overall confidence as a club in successfully defending the competition.
The next step is obviously the Premier League title or a first Champions League win in the club’s history, so we’ll only really know if the domestic cups were indeed a stepping stone if and when we reach those promised lands. Make it happen lads!
Elsewhere, an Italian journalist who has written for several well-known publications caused turmoil on Twitter this afternoon after tweeting that not only would Karim Benzema be joining Arsenal in the near future, but that he would on a four year deal for £120,000 a week.
I suppose if I wanted to make up a story, I’d include fictitious, finer details because it might stop people from instantly dismissing the claim as bullshit – ‘why would he know the salary if he was lying’ etc – but then this guy has previous with his reports of new Arsenal signings being wide of the mark, as was quickly pointed out by irate fans on Twitter today.
That said, something just feels wrong about the denials from both sides saying it won’t happen. I mean, and this is obviously pure conjecture, but if we look at the story so far, we’ve had a series of conflicting reports rumbling on for far too long now for there not to be something more to it than an off chance of a deal providing Real Madrid can find a suitable replacement.
On the one hand, we’ve had one of our own directors reveal a striker was on our shopping list and that the player wanted to come, reports of telephone conversations between Arsene Wenger and the player himself, Benzema left out of recent Real Madrid friendlies through alleged injury, Gareth Bale talking up his preference for a central role at Madrid and more stuff to suggest a deal could be on.
Then to counter-balance, we’ve had Real deny it, Arsene deny it, his agent say his client would stay one benzillion percent and Sky’s Spanish expert Guillem Balague rule it out completely, yet some of the language has been ambiguous here, like Rafa Benitez saying ‘he thinks’ the player wants to stay in Spain.
Maybe I’m reading far too much into all this and just need to close my Newsnow tab for a while, but I’m not completely buying that the deal is impossible as some have suggested. Which I suppose puts me in the same boat as a lot of other people.
It’s late and I fear I’m making as much sense as David James talking about football. I better turn in.