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The Rebirth of Arsenal Football Club. 27 August 2017 and the launchpad for Alexis and Ozil to stay.

 

By Chayasai

 

27th August , 2017, Anfield , Liverpool v Arsenal.   Liverpool 4  Arsenal  0.

That day and date will be remembered for a very, very long time as one of the most important  of days in the history of Arsenal F C.

That was the day when they played at their worst; not just the physical aspect; worse they played with no pride.That was the last straw.Arsenal was just not there.  The proud Arsenal shirts on their backs meant nothing.  For the club and the fans it was the worst snub; an insult. It was humiliating.

The legends criticized to their hearts content. Some even said that the AFC could even be demoted this season; and that A.Wenger must quit immediately. There are some legends who have visceral hatred for this great club. You could ignore them.  But there were some sane voices out there that could not be ignored:  albeit in a very thin minority.

Looking back at those terrible tense hours, I was comforted by the thought echoed by Tim Duncan [NFL] “The time when there is no one to feel sorry for you, or cheer for you, is when a player is made.” 

That is almost a truism now: I would say,  that it could quite easily be, “the team itself that was made” and not just the player!!

The major events that preceded this disaster, were the ‘demotion’ in 2017-18 to the Europa League, after 21 continuous glorious years in the EPL under Wenger. The Sanchez and Ozil saga and the generally disappointing results in the transfer window and the inability of the club to not only conclude deals in the transfer to visibly strengthen the AFC but also to sell the players from a needlessly bloated squad. The last day at the transfer window was a sham that shocked more than surprised the discerning fan and the critic alike.

The contract uncertainty surrounding Sanchez and also Ozil, led to a certain amount of negativity among the fans and the clubs followers.  All this added to the gloom and doom theory of the legends — and their constant criticism of some players who were specially targeted , did not do anything to bolster the morale of the squad. The pressure on the players could well be imagined.  The season was not meant to get a start like this. Unfortunately, it did!

The beleaguered players and the hurt fans felt that the legends had a “ diarrhoea of the mouth and constipation of ideas,”  or perhaps that they were  inveterate motor-mouths hoping that some day that they will accidentally utter something remotely intelligent! There was no constructive criticism at all!!

But there was the AFC and its indomitable manager, Wenger. With immense patience and extraordinary belief  and trust in the quality of the squad, they started the rebuilding process.  Slowly but surely they somehow managed to instil confidence and self-belief in the squad.

When a tormented Ozil asked the legends and critics to show patience and understanding in this time of crisis and to support the club and the players , the legends took off in a very negative way; one of them even asked Ozil to sign the contract and not criticise them!! But Wenger stood up for his players, particularly the likes of Ozil, and pointed out to the legends and the critics their own foibles and weaknesses during their own playing days, hinting at the fact that they themselves were not the angels they made themselves out to be!!!

This and subsequent support from the management and the Manager, went a long way in stiffening up the players resolve to atone for that one shoddy display: and the results began to show.

Wenger’s vote of confidence in the players and his open support to those who wanted to leave, and in fact helping and assisting them, went a long way in the players lining up with new found aggression and determination behind the FC and their manager.

Wenger has advised his players to  “ … just try to give your best. And try to be better tomorrow than Yesterday”. His curt riposte to those who accused him of not doing any big spending  was “We do not buy Superstars.  We make them!!!!”

After a very short interregnum, many startling positive events  have taken  place where the players and the squad are concerned.

Wenger’s trust in Sanchez as a thorough professional stands vindicated. The unfortunate failure of Sanchez’s transfer was the result of circumstances beyond anybody’s control . There was no malice on either side. Both have moved on; both are doing what is best for the club. When you look at other out-of-contract in 12 months players, you will realize what a great player and greater gentleman Sanchez has been: and also how gentlemanly and understanding  and patient Wenger and AFC, have been. This has set an example for the others to follow; they know they are in safe hands.

Sanchez has been training hard giving his best in the training ground as well as all the games that he has played in. Fitness-wise, he is almost there; but like the greats say: Class is permanent, ( loss of ) form is temporary . He is a world class player.  Before long he will back to his scoring days.

It is the same with Ozil. There is no doubting his class. Some of the best moments in the recent past in Arsenal are inevitably connected with the  twinkling feet and the bewildering array of magical passes of Ozil. The Sanchez-Ozil combo is one of the most enduring and thrilling memories of goal scoring in EPL. They will come together very shortly and the magic will re-appear.  It is like threading a needle in a haystack blindfolded. Only the two of them can see the tiniest of openings while no one can even  conceive of such a thought;  and before you know it, the laser linked twinkling feet and the mesmeric magician together have scored a goal, that none even envisaged existed!!

While we are with Ozil and Sanchez, one other sizzling individual (and a solid team player to the core ) has entered the  scenario with stunning effect. Sead Koloasinac. By now, most are fully convinced about the quality of play he brings to the field.  More important, in the last few game , we have had the pleasure of watching him coordinate very positively with Sanchez and taking some huge strides in building a partnership with that great Chilean striker. Earlier, before Ozil’s dip in form and injury concerns, we had seen with considerable pride how Ozil would applaud and praise Sead K. Should this trio flourish and develop that rare type of understanding then Wenger would have a fantastic combo that could shake the opponents not just in the EPL: perhaps in Europa and  CL too, next season!!

The way Kante, Fabregas and Pedro were made virtually impotent in the Arsenal-Chelsea clash on Sunday, 17th September 2017  largely by the duo of Ramsey and Xhaka was an eye-opener. It was an awesome piece of tactical football.  In the previous season Herera had made Hazard look mediocre in the Man united – Chelsea clash:  nobody can forget that either.

Slowly but surely Ramsey with his darting runs and telling passes has started to grow out of the tag of being just a quality player to a class player . He needs to be aware that he has defensive duties too: and pronto. If he can improve his ability to get the ball back, he will be a priceless asset for AFC.

Xhaka is a formidable player. He has improved very much over the last year.  His passing is more intelligent these days as he reads the game better now and he is not reluctant to chase the lost ball or sprint back to defend. That was an area of concern; he used to ball-watch: happily, these are getting corrected fast and happen rarely these days! Also his crude sliding tackles are a thing of the past. The point is: this combination of Ramsey-Xhaka in the midfield is a heaven sent gift. Wenger must give them a wide berth to express themselves. They can be a very formidable pair  in the midfield.

Sticking to the midfield area: two very exciting names come immediately to mind. Wilshere and Cazorla and by sheer coincidence both have been injured for a long period and are at various stages of recovery and eyeing a return to the playing eleven.

Wilshere has resumed duties – albeit carefully and gingerly even – with a lot of care and understanding from the manager. Wilshere has always shown that he has class.  But injuries have dogged and delayed his claims for a permanent place in the team. This time, however, the manager thinks that Wilshere’s return  will be longer-lasting and more fruitful for the team. Wenger believes that Wilshere  has improved  his fitness levels after recovering from injuries and that allied with his fine footballing brains and excellent technical skills, he will provide the midfield with greater solidity and depth in quality of reserves.

What is there to be said of Cazorla? A match fit Cazorla is a dream come true for any coach. For AFC, Cazorla will be a fantastic addition in the new year; if his recovery stays to schedule.And should his form  return to his own high standards, then AFC will be eyeing the EPL title in 2017-18 itself!

Upfront is the silent, quietly efficient and technically proficient master-craftsman Lacazette. He is classy.  In recent matches he has shown the others glimpses of the fact that he can be a box-to-box player also. It may not happen immediately.  But it will. A few more matches and his understanding of the EPL way of football will make him a very complete footballer. He will be even more of a danger and threat to the opponents than he is now.

Welbeck combines well with Frenchman up front.  He is maturing fast and the results are coming quicker.  If he stays injury free (is that possible for anyone?) then Wenger can expect a record haul of goals from his strikers / forwards.

The January transfer window?

The  most important thing is not to sell Ozil or Sanchez.Period.

Imperative is to spend in the January window and get on board Lemar without fail. Martial and Lemina if possible. Make a very hard push for Leon Goretzka. If Wenger  succeeds there is no need to be active in the Summer transfer market of 2018-19.

Remember: if AFC and Wenger  can show by the beginning of January 2018 with the teams best efforts and performances  that they are very serious contenders for the EPL Title as well as for the Europa League; and then make the purchases happen (somehow or the other ) then it will be a terribly foolish player who will want to leave AFC . Especially with the induction of those high class players in January itself.

Why would anybody want to leave ? It is not very difficult to imagine that Sanchez and Ozil will stay.  And sign new contracts. That would , in effect, save Arsenal nearly the same amount of money they would have lost if Sanchez and Ozil had left as free agents !!!

That 2018-19 summer market could utilized basically to trim the squad to manageable levels. This will help considerably in bringing down the recurring expenses.  (Greedy, maybe: think of Griezmann? Aguero?)

If it was not for 27th August, 2017, Anfield, Liverpool v Arsenal we would not have had this serious introspection and the resultant unity in the team and the spark that lit the fire in the hearts of the players and  the loyalty of  the fans to back the team fully and vociferously.

That is the reason that August 27th 2017 is almost  certainly the re-birthday of AFC!

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11 comments to The Rebirth of Arsenal Football Club. 27 August 2017 and the launchpad for Alexis and Ozil to stay.

  • Chris

    I must say I do not agree with the ‘trimming’ you mention.
    No way can Arsenal be active in all competitions with less then 25 players as well as youngsters.

    And onsidering the youngsters coimng through the pipeline, I don’t see the need to buy, buy, buy.

    Sure a Lemar would be a great addition, but adding new players goes against the Young Guns.
    And don’t forget, next season is the last under EU freedom of movement rules, so we have no damn idea what a foreign player coming to the UK will have in terms of contract.
    At this point, the flow of talent coming from youth teams is going to become strategic.

  • GoingGoingGooner

    I like the positivity.

  • Nitram

    An enjoyable read. I agree with a great deal of what you say, but not all, which is hardly surprising given the amount you covered.

    I don’t necessarily agree with this:

    “The last day at the transfer window was a sham that shocked more than surprised the discerning fan and the critic alike.”

    Well maybe, but a sham of who’s making?

    I blame City. If they genuinely wanted Sanchez they should of made there big offer earlier. They knew, as surely did everyone no matter what was being said, that everyone has there price. But in leaving there ‘big’ offer so late, they gave Arsenal zero chance of finding a replacement, and we was never going to let him go without a ‘marque signing’ coming in.

    But at least we tried, but it was always going to be tough to bring in a player such as Lemar at such late notice.

    As I say, if City had said to Arsenal perhaps 2 days earlier, how much they were prepared to go to for Sanchez, then we may just of got the deal done with Lemar, or even a.n.other.

    So was it really our fault?

    Given what you said later:

    “The unfortunate failure of Sanchez’s transfer was the result of circumstances beyond anybody’s control”

    you possibly don’t think it was either.

    As for this:

    “The most important thing is not to sell Ozil or Sanchez. Period.

    Imperative is to spend in the January window and get on board Lemar without fail. Martial and Lemina if possible. Make a very hard push for Leon Goretzka. If Wenger succeeds there is no need to be active in the Summer transfer market of 2018-19.”

    This is ‘fantasy football’ land I’m afraid.

    I will be over the moon if we just keep Ozil and Sanchez, but I doubt that is going to happen, though it’s not out of the question.

    The absolute best we can hope for, and indeed the best actual outcome as far as I am concerned, would be keeping them both with perhaps the arrival of Lemar or a.n.other.

    Very unlikely though.

    2nd best is keeping just Ozil aligned to the arrival of Lemar or a.n.other.

    Quite possible.

    The 3rd and most likely scenario though to me is that Ozil Stays, and we don’t sign anyone else.

    Maybe not the ideal outcome, but I can live with that.

    AS for:

    “That is the reason that August 27th 2017 is almost certainly the re-birthday of AFC!”

    Well maybe, maybe not, but I feel it was, for better or worse, a significant day.

  • Chris

    Nitram,

    agree with your scenarii, and I believe the most likely one is we keep Ozil.
    And considering the youth pipeline we are seing week-in week-out, I believe he will have enough talent on the field to do what he does best.
    And these kids have been training with him for a while.

    I’m not all doom and gloom. We’ve got enough talent and even without Alexis I’m sure we can fight for titles.
    Apart from that, I cannot imagine Arsenal NOT getting a replacement. They’ve probably got their short list. And there are again going to be players on a Bosman.
    And who knows how Draxler will fare at PSG. From what I read in the french press, all is not allright over there

  • Nitram

    Chris

    “Apart from that, I cannot imagine Arsenal NOT getting a replacement.”

    I agree, I just think it wont be until the Summer.

    I of course want more, but my realistic hope for the rest of the season is to keep Ozil.

    Keep bringing on the young talent.

    Achieve a top 4 finish, hopefully as runners up but I’ll take 4th.

    And hopefully win a cup, most likely the FA Cup, because we play our first team, well pretty much.

    Wengers policy of blooding youth will I’m afraid eventually be our undoing in both the Carabao and Europa cups.

  • Gord

    OT: Corruption News

    Apparently the first sentencing of the USA corruption probe into FIFA happens today.

    https://www.si.com/soccer/2017/10/25/guatemalan-judge-set-be-first-person-sentenced-part-fifa-corruption-scandal

    Let’s hope that this isn’t just a slap on the wrist.

  • Flares

    I’d be interested to hear the opinions across Untold of Raul Sanllehi joining the club as our sporting director. Responsible for bringing Neymar, Alexis and Luis Suarez through the doors at Barcelona, he’ll be Gazidis’ right hand man, apparently. As Ron Kray might say…interesting, isn’t it?

  • Chris

    Flares,

    it just confirms a few things. 1) That Arsenal are restructuring and doing so taking the time to get the right people 2) That Arsenal have an ‘attraction’ power that is strong enough to lure someone who was working for Barcelona 3) That said actors do take the Arsenal project seriously 4) That players will notice and all this is good publicity for the club

    Don’t know if you read the piece about Per and Jack doing their coaching badges together. That is another positive thing I’ve read lately

  • Samuel Akinsola Adebosin

    Good for Wilshere if he has started doing his coaching badges at Arsenal. He might one day ends up being a coach there.

    On the contracry, if our huge lose to Liverpool in the PL on the said date which was a designed starting XI Gunners by Le Prof to make the Ox to stay at Arsenal but not leave is taken as reawakeing by the Gunners to start playing well in the PL and be winning matches, what classification will their lose to Watford in the PL later be categorized? Another reawakening? The point is Le Prof has not gotten his best starting XI in the PL at away matches right until of recent at Everton where he seemed to have for the first time this season gotten it right. Let’s take note that Arsenal don’t lose at home in the PL but have been winning there. Therefore, the problem facing the team is at away matches in the particularly in the PL. So, I don’t want to ascribe to this reawakening theory of a thing but Le Prof getting his first team starting XI and his 7 substitutes on bench selection right for PL ganes is what I believed in.

    By the way, is Leymar of AS Monaco a Pele or Maradona Arsenal should not miss signing next January window or in the Summer? Don’t Arsenal have their own kind of Lemarin their backyard in the young Reiss Nelson and Eddie Nketiah whom they can natured to become their own Lemar or even better him if they so desired.

    I believe what is of importance for Arsenal to do now before the January window comes around, to forestall losing their top quality Gunners of Ozil and Sanchez whose contracts at Arsenal are fast approaching expedition, I must as a faithful Gooners say let Arsenal hierarchies try by all possible financial means to keep the duo top quality Gunners of Ozil and Sanchez who God in His compassion seeing how we’ve been missing out on the EPL Title for 13 years Has given to us to help us alleviate our hardship in PL Title win.

  • Samuel Akinsola Adebosin

    There are one or tow errors I’ve seen on my comment posting as I was reading through it, I would have loved to correct them and repost. But that will break the house rule which I’ve been doing a times.

  • Gideone

    SAA is trying to murder my brain!!! Oh God!!

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