Wenger’s legacy is fundamental. Free flowing, attacking football by a club with integrity and class.

Whither Ozil: Arsenal Away At Sheffield

Two weeks away from Arsenal, courtesy of the international break, will come to an end this Monday. Normally, the break would be moaned for breaking the rhythm of a team with good results. But though many seem to be happy with the results, I got the feeling there was just a general sense of relief that we’d got a win just before the break.

Arguably our form hasn’t been that good in the Premier League. The saving grace is our rivals’ form is worse. Which puts us in 3rd. Personally, I find that all the more frustrating. Where might we have been if our coach was willing to play to the strengths of the squad.

Ozil is staying

Which, inevitably, leads us to Ozil. It wouldn’t really matter that Ozil was dropped if: a) the results were great, b) the performances were good, and c) it really were just a normal football situation.

Much as the many detractors like to say it is c), there is no way Ozil merits being frozen out of the squad completely. Especially when we see his performances have been good when he comes on. Clearly something else is going on. Emery’s answers are intentionally incoherent, though he and the other members of the regime have come forward with the claim Ozil doesn’t train properly.

Ozil’s reading of the game is legendary on the field but it seems he and his good doctor/agent know a thing or two about the off-field battle too. Personally, I think their media game is based on sincerity. When Ozil speaks to Ornstein (another trusted name) and says he’s not leaving, I believe him. Without taking potshots at anyone at Arsenal, he stood his ground and made his point. Can’t imagine it went down too well with Raul whose attempts at getting rid of him are proving futile.

Emery seems relieved

Emery though seemed more relieved and a little taken aback in his press conference that he wasn’t made a target.

  • On Oct 4th he’d brusquely said other players deserve to play more.
  • On Oct 17th he said he’s never closed the door on Ozil who, for the last 2-3 weeks, has been working well.

Does that mean Emery will play him? I initially thought yes, but his other answers to the Ozil question might indicate otherwise. It’s difficult to know with a chameleon.

What we do know is that we have to travel to steel town Sheffield to play Sean Bean and the rest of the Blades, hoping to put them to the sword. Though one wonders if once again, the general will prioritize defensive armour and formations over our better equipped attacking Arsenal. I can only hope our brave warriors are good enough to overcome all the obstacles put in their way and come away with victory.

I was watching a recent interview with the Blades coach where he said he’s always demanding more, he knows the players well and knows who to push and who not to, and the players know what is expected of them and there’s clarity in that. Sounds like the antithesis of ‘Unai is fair. He treats everyone the same’ and chameleon ball, but oh well.

On paper this should be an easy win for Arsenal, but it must be noted that although Sheffield struggle to create and score chances, their defense has been good. They’ve conceded only 7 goals in their 8 games (tied 2nd with Leicester, behind Liverpool on 6). They’ll also have had more time to prepare for this game during the break while most of our players were away. I think they’re also getting some injured strikers back and will be hoping to take their chances. It’s Arsenal. We like to give away chances.

But look at me being like Emery and worrying about Sheffield (when actually I’m worrying about Emery).

We should be confident about taking our chances especially with having our own returning striker in Lacazette. Pepe scored a goal for his NT and that should give him some confidence. There is a strong possibility of a return for Ozil especially since Ceballos is carrying a slight injury. Auba of course remains our spearhead. ESR is back, but Nelson is out hurt.

Team prediction

Starters: Leno, Chambers, Luiz, Holding, Tierney, Xhaka, Guendouzi, Ceballos, Pepe, Ozil, Auba

Subs: Martinez, Bellerin, Sokratis, Kolasinac, Torreira, Martinelli, Lacazette

I am confused about the RB spot especially. Will it be AMN, Bellerin or Chambers. I am not sure Bellerin is fit enough to start, and I figure Emery will continue with Chambers who has done well, and who also offers some tactical flexibility to go with 3 at the back if needed.

Starting Ozil is a big call, especially on the left. But now’s as good a time as any, especially with Nelson out injured. Martinelli might have started but I think Ozil might just get the nod. AMN and Willock miss out entirely. (Unless Dani is injured)

Whatever be the squad, hopefully it will be a good game of football. My prediction, 2-1 to Arsenal.


  1. Well done Shard. A lovely read but I must take issue with you on one point.Why is starting Ozil such “a big call, especially on the left”? Has the cowardly, cautious football of Emery become normalized even among the staunchest proponents of the Arsenal-way? With all due respect to you and all my friends here and elsewhere, how can one put the likes of Ceballos in the same frame as Ozil? Under Emery we have reached the stage where youngsters like Saka, Nelson, Willock and ESR are presumed starters over Ozil. It is absolute madness and a complete degeneracy of the values of this club.

    • I meant big call only in the sense of a prediction, while Emery is in charge. And the more I think about it, the less convinced I am he will start. It’ll probably be Saka, and Ozil will be kept home again to play in the Europa League.

      Ceballos is hyped no end. He’s got good technique and some close control, but nowhere near the vision of Ozil, and nowhere near the drive of Ramsey. Given time and a good setup he can be a good CM (no.8). Even so, I’d put Guendouzi ahead of him in terms of potential.

      • Thanks for that clarification, my friend. I was almost on the verge of despair.

        As for Guendouzi vs Ceballos; at least the Frenchman is our own player and we should focus on his development.

  2. To quote the manager:
    “If we are competitive we can use different players in different moments, some with more skill, some with more capacity to do pressing and transition.”
    Who needs a defined, identifiable way of playing? Who needs Ozil?
    We can hope for a good result tonight but I am clear there is no strategy for long-term success.

  3. My predictions

    No Ozil, 7 defensive minded players with one AM to do a straight jacket job in midfield with the other 7 defensive minded players.

    We will want to play counter attacking football which will cause a bit of a stalemate as Sheffield will want to counter as well but primarily the fullbacks are going to be our main attacking outlet as we cut back a million and one crosses ‘just like liverpool’ (smh).

    The defence to midfield will be as diconnected from each other as the midfield to attack. (Arsene’s unbalanced squad will be blamed as emery has not got enough of his own players yet to fully blame him)

    Auba is likely to score 2 goals out of nothing which will probably win us the game, make the blog world happy and paper over some serious cracks as everyone will be looking at our league position.

    I hope we do win as i prefer we did than didnt but at the same time i probably won’t watch the game as i feel i can do better with my time if i am not getting entertained.

    8 matches this season so far and i enjoyed 2 halfs (1st against watford and 2nd half against the spuds. So thats 90mins out 630mins. a lot can be done in 630mins.

    • You have good reason to be pessimistic. Regardless of our opinion, i.e. those of us who are critical of Emery, as long as he is supported by Josh, Raul and Vinai (in that order) noting will change.

  4. There’s the team sheet.

    Anyone who thought these cunts were not willing to continue to trash the club’s rep with the Suarez sub in front of the watching football world has a high ability to indulge in wishful thinking.

    What a bunch of cunts we’ve got trashing our club right now.

    Levy would be impressed on the transfer “cut backs” & like this shower he equally doesn’t care about the trophies

    All these idiots who went round praising Levy etc didn’t ever stop to think that Levy has been happy as Larry overspending on a pre-retired Gallas and Adebayor (remember them?) is a very striped idiot!

    Catch you Thursday!

    • Striped < stooopid!

    • Hey Fins. Am now convinced that leaving out Ozil has nothing to do with football. IMO Josh, Raul and Vinai are determined to get rid of a Ozil and their little errand boy Emery is simply following orders.

      • Nasty set of execs running our club. Protect our values said Big Weng but they are being flushed down the toilet fast, very fast.

  5. It’s got the point where all we can do is just laugh at any clowns even attempting to defend this dross from Raul’s gimp.

    Is Emery amongst the worst three coaches in this league?


    • Don’t leave out Josh. He is the real power.

      • ATM Josh is looking at 5th at best IMO

        Does he care?

        Glazers redux?

        • For Josh we are just a part of the portfolio of dad’s sports investments. As an American does he love soccer over their football and basketball? Look at what he he is doing to our club. He can fuck-off as far as I am concerned.

  6. Glad Ozil wasn’t there to be the scapegoat for Emery. Emery tried to throw Pepe under the bus for his one miss in an otherwise good game. But since Pepe is Daddy Raul’s record purchase he couldn’t do it. Except that he has a pathological inability to take responsibility and still had to mention Pepe not scoring.

    At this point, if Emery isn’t sacked, with Freddie clearly ready to take over, it’s equal to sabotage. If Edu’s not just there to look good and lend legitimacy to the club mafia, but actually to help Arsenal, he’s got to put his foot down and force Raul to sack Emery. Today!

    • Shard Whither Arsenal?

      Arsenal are withering away during the Emery Degeneracy.

      Problem is Daddy Raul can’t exactly turn around to Joshy and say: “look, mate, although I spent two seasons creating a stink in the club in order to get rid of first AW and then Sven and Ivan you’ve got to get rid as my opinion is nonsense unless you’re taking cut backs whilst I mean kick backs eh?” Nope. More like: “trust me on this one it’ll come good…”

      Build him a statue!
      By up the minutes with some PR Clown called Gavin Blog.

      Ask not what you can do for your club but what some gullible club called Barcelona or Arsenal can do for you and yer mates.

  7. Whither Arsenal indeed. The stench of this rotten degeneracy is stifling even across the Atlantic. First they belittled and emasculated Wenger. Once they gained power they immediately ripped out the heart of the club which is the midfield (getting rid of Santi, Jack Ramsey and now Ozil), then they put a fraud and coward as head coach, spending £200 million on transfers trying to deceive us that the football would get better. We are in a race to mediocrity. Soon and very soon Josh Kroenke needs to get the message that this is not gonna work and his family’s investment is in peril.

    • Daddy Raul’s answers to the questions below:

      Q1: Do you know ANYTHING about Football?

      Q2: Do you even like Football?

      Q3: what kind of desperate YouTuber put their chips down on such football clown; a donkey like you
      who had already left a braying record in the circus’ and courts of Barcelona to horrify any football anywhere in the world who follows any club…

      A: https://youtu.be/kMFJBd40Awo


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