By Sir Hardly Anyone
I suspect, from a reading of the blogs and the runes, that if that axis of evil, the combination of Sky Sports commentators and anti-Wengerian bloggers, who appear to lead most commentary these days, were to be asked who should leave Arsenal this summer along with Mr Wenger, leaving aside the Sky Sprouters who would say “all of them”, there would always be a couple of names that would come up.
Xhaka always seems to get criticism, although not everyone agrees, Mustafi gets blamed a lot, Koscielny is obviously needing to be nurtured through his injuries and so could be seen to be in need of replacement. Cech is considered too old.
Elneny on the other hand has had a reprieve – he was heavily criticised (although not here) including when he got a new contract, but now things have changed.
I go through the list today because I’ve just seen quite a different approach on Soccer Souls which instead of just saying who should leave actually builds a new team. It is of course fanciful because it is based on the old notion that if Arsenal want a player he will come to Arsenal despite the fact of fans’ behaviour, the ceaseless, remorseless criticism on Sky, and the lack of money to compete with the likes of Real Madrid, Barcelona, Manchester City and Chelsea in the transfer market.
But allowing that to pass, here’s the team they came up with…
Jan Oblak (from Atletico Madrid)
Bellerin, Koscielny, Mustafi, Monreal
Mkhitaryan, Nabil Fekir (from Lyon), Ozil
What this selection does is leave in what is considered by some to be the crumbling heart of defence and the derided Xhaka, while taking out Cech, Lacazette, Ramsey and Wilshere. (I’ll leave Santi Cazorla out of this because obviously all of us wish him the very, very best in his rehab, but none of us know how good a player he will be on his return).
Of Elneny the site says he “brings a lot of stability and calmness to Arsenal’s midfield. His presence makes the team tick in the attack. The Egyptian is a silent performer, providing pin-point passes and defence-splitting through balls when it matters the most.” I’d go with that, and it is refreshing to see someone picking up on the young man’s skills.