9th February 2016: Campbell bigs up Bellerin, Rosicky raves about Ozil

Evening all. There’s very little going on Arsenal-wise, so this post will be as short as the time Andrei Arshavin leaves between meals.

Speaking of our portly former playmaker, after spending two years with Zenit St Petersburg following his release from Arsenal in June 2013, he signed for Kuban Krasnodar in Russia last summer.

But his contract was terminated by mutual consent earlier this month and he’s now being linked with a club in Macedonia. Good luck to a true Gunners’ cult hero I say – the awesome foursome at Anfield and that long-range thunderbolt at Old Trafford will live long in the memory.

Yep. That’s how quiet it is. I’m resorting to talking about former players’ career paths. Anyway, Andrei is also said to be contemplating retirement which, considering he’s still just 34, is a bit of shame.

He lit up Euro 2008 with Russia and despite being a bit of a lazy bast*rd, was undoubtedly a very gifted footballer when he could be bothered to turn it on. Perhaps seeing as Chinese football is on the mother of all spending sprees right now, he might be able to secure himself one last payday in the far east if the Macedonian move doesn’t happen.

Moving on, the only half-interesting Arsenal stories today are about two of our players each praising one of their team-mates. First we have Joel Campbell, who reckons Hector Bellerin has it in him to become of the best right-backs on the planet. He told Arsemal Player:

We speak the same language, so it is much easier to communicate with each other. We enjoy a very good relationship on and off the pitch. That helps us a lot when we are playing, by speaking with each other, helping each other and giving indications to give our best to the team. He is enjoying a very high level, but I think he can give even more. He has the potential to be one of the best in the world. He is showing that now, but he is still very young and he has a long way ahead. So I think the best of Hector is yet to come, we haven’t seen it yet.

Personally I think only Philip Lahm and Dani Alves come close to comparing with our Cockney Catalan but then I’m as biased towards Bellerin as Mike Dean is against Arsenal.

Next up, and finally for today, Tomas Rosicky has been speaking about what he thinks sets Mesut Ozil apart as a top perfomer – declining to play passes that aren’t on. He said:

Mesut was always a special talent and you could see that when he arrived here. He was out for some time last season so he couldn’t find his rhythm, but now, after playing since the start of the season, everyone here can see [how big a talent he is]. Him and Alexis are the game changers. Both of them have the strength to win games, so it’s vital for the team’s title chances that they perform well. The best thing that I like about Mesut is that he’s not forcing the final passes. We all know he has a great final ball but you can see that he only plays it when the game gives him that opportunity. If it’s not there then he’s not forcing it and he’s combining with other team-mates instead. That’s the thing I like most about him.

It’s a good point. For me there are few things more annoying when watching a team trying to play good (pass and move) football than a player trying to play a pass that simply isn’t on.

It’s lazy and unimaginative. The very best players – and Ozil’s clearly one of them – rarely if ever, take a punt with a pass so I’m glad Rosicky’s highlighted this small but significant nuance of the game.

See you on Wednesday.

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