Happy Friday folks. Although we don’t play until Sunday when we travel to Carrow Road to face Norwich, Arsene Wenger held his press conference yesterday and provided an update on team news. Apart from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who the boss said ‘maybe’ and ‘should’ be available, we’ll have the same squad from our midweek win over Dinamo Zagreb.
Considering how well Joel Campbell played against the Croatians, the boss will have a bit of a dilemma when selecting his side because you’d expect Aaron Ramsey will now be ready for a start having been eased back into action from the bench last Tuesday. Anyway, I’ll take a closer look at how we could line-up in tomorrow’s preview.
But for now, onto some words from the manager about his two most expensive signings for the club. First up it’s his record buy Mesut Ozil and Arsene discussed how his German schemer has developed his game since joining Arsenal, saying:
What is interesting about Mesut’s game is that he is not only a provider now, he likes to get on the end of the things. What he has added to his game is the runs into the box. He played before like he was not too much obsessed [by goals] and more by providing, and I think he has a much better balance in his game now, giving, assisting and scoring. At the start, in the first season, there was a lot of scepticism around him. I think the quality of his performances have turned opinions. He now has the support of everybody who loves Arsenal. You look at the players who give our assists and you will see who does it. I think the best assist player at the moment is Ozil, but we have many providers. We have Alexis, Ramsey, Cazorla – they are all people who can create chances. You could see Campbell the other night has given a great assist to Alexis. I think all our players have technical ability to do that.
Ozil’s assisting capabilities are beyond question of course, but to be honest, I don’t think it’s at all unfair to suggest the number of goals he scores himself could certainly be improved upon. On the other hand, Ozil’s altruism is what makes him such an effective player, so what might be better, is if his team-mates converted a greater proportion of the opportunities he creates.
Next up for praise from the boss was Sanchez and after calling the Chilean’s fellow south Americans Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani ‘animals’ in the past, Arsene says his own Latin American attacker, along with Leicester City’s free-scoring striker Jamie Vardy, is like a king of the Premier League jungle:
They are like the lion, he has to catch the animal in the first 200 metres. If he doesn’t get there, after he’s dead. They are these kind of killers. When they go, it is to kill and after they have to stop. His resistance is remarkable. What is also remarkable is that he goes to South America, he comes back Thursday night and on Saturday he can play without a problem even if he’s jet-lagged. He would have been a perfect tennis player.
I’m sure Sanchez would have excelled at any sport he’s have chosen to pursue as a career but needless to say, I’m pretty glad he went with football.
Finally, ahead of what was ‘Black Friday’ today (which if you didn’t know, is when retailers mark up goods by 500 percent, then offer them at ‘huge discounts’ so they can boost sales and clear old stock, while the general public engage in physical scraps to get their hands on said goods), Arsene was also ribbed about his own reputation for being cautious with cash as he was asked if he liked a bargain. Here’s what he said:
What is for us a bargain is to buy players of top quality, because only top quality strengthens our squad. I can tell you I bought Patrick Vieira for £2.5m and it was a top bargain because he was a top-quality player – it would be difficult to repeat these kind of buys now. That looks for me a very important one now, because he gave me credibility for my career here at Arsenal. Maybe if you look purely financially [there are others like] Anelka for £500k or Petit for £4.2m – today these numbers look so ridiculously low, but it’s impossible to do better. What is most important is the quality of the player and, on that front, even for example we paid high money for Ozil and Alexis – the highest we’ve ever paid – but I don’t regret it for a second. I still think it’s absolutely fantastic because we have the money and because the players are top quality.
A bit abrupt but that’s it for tonight.