by Tony Attwood
There comes a moment in each transfer window when the fantasists and their make believe chums from the fairy woods give up on trying to invent ever more unlikely tales of transfers and instead start writing about the people who are not coming to the club.
These are of course the players they tipped just a few weeks before to be jetting in and signing contracts – and indeed even some who were already alleged to have signed contracts that were leaked to the media concerned.
And already the Star seems to have given up earlier than most with the headline
“Arsenal transfer news: Caglar Soyuncu’s agent speaks out about ‘deal’ and ‘official talks’.” Basically the paper says no talks, no deal.
Of course some of the “outlets” do get quite carried away, for instead of reporting transfer rumours they move across to transfer demands as with “Ever Banega transfer demanded by Arsenal fans after Argentinian shines in Nigeria win.” That is in the Mirror, and I’d say that shows much the same level of desperation.
However Foot Lond, those masters of the 50 word news article, have actually done better, and I think credit should be given where it is due, as they have come up with the team for the first league match of the season.
Bellerin Sokratis Mustafi Monreal
Torreria Xhaka Ramsey
Ozil Aubameyang Mkhitaryan
There’s a lot of sense in this, and my only thought is that I am not sure Ozil is going to be ready to play in the first match, particularly if Germany do get themselves together and continue on through the world cup to the semi-final. That would mean an appearance in the 3rd/4th place match or in the Final, and even if Ozil is not picked he has to stay in full training.
Then there is the holiday and then… well, I don’t see how the dates match up.
Besides that starting line up pretty much assumes that Lacazette is not first choice. Yet if he is still in the squad he is going to be fully fit and ready to go, having not gone to the world cup.
I don’t see Laca as someone on the way out. I know the argument is that Aubameyang must play centre forward but I don’t think that precludes him being nominally on the wing and cutting in to score – in effect with two centre forwards. It sure as hell confused the opposition when we were able to do it last season.
So where would that leave my lineup?
If we assume that Sokratis is coming to Arsenal and is fully fit, and likewise Xhaka, Ozil and Torreria, I would still find a way to play Ozil in the number 10 slot behind the front three with the players either side of him playing a wholly defensive role against Manchester City, giving a line up like this
Bellerin Sokratis Mustafi Monreal
Aubameyang Lacazette Mkhitaryan
Ramsey therefore having a defensive role alongside the now rehabilitated Xhaka.
I was going to bring you the Daily Express’ version of the line up which they published a couple of weeks ago but as they included Koscielny in the squad I don’t think they are taking this seriously. I mean I know I make mistakes but even I noticed Kos was injured. For six months.
But it does remind me that errors have been commonplace in the media since they started covering football. Just today the Arsenal History Society has published the latest episode in the series “Henry Norris at the Arsenal”, this one covering December 1923.
The article recounts how the Times got the score for one match wrong in its report, and how the local paper, the Islington Gazette, talked about the strangeness of the Arsenal line up for a match, when there had in fact only been one change from the previous game.
It also goes back to the time when during the first world war the Times, which was utterly opposed to the continuation of the football season in 1914/15, while being utterly in favour of the continuation of horse racing (the sport of the toffs), sent a reporter to Highbury to cover a match with the brief of explaining why football should be banned.
The poor sap, who had clearly not been to a match before in his life, reported on how tiny the crowd was, not recognising that he was at a reserve game.
But then I guess it is a tough life being a journalist.
Anyway, Arsenal have suddenly announced a meeting for this evening, and Arsenal Independent Supporters Association (of which Blacksheep and I are committee members) have been allocated a number of tickets, so it’s off to London to see what the club has to say. I hope its worth the 160 mile round trip. Hopefully I shall be able to report something exciting tomorrow.
- The 96 players Arsenal have been tipped to sign this summer: the complete list
- Latest Arsenal rumoids: ten stories that you really might not believe – but you might!
- Arsenal Transfers and the 40 a day habit
And from the Arsenal History Society
Today’s Arsenal anniversaries: When a pre-season game was abandoned due to fighting
- Clubs are showing signs of fighting back at journalists
- Are Arsenal really making progress, or are we starting to slip back?
- Luton 3 Arsenal 4: maybe it is time to say positive things
- Luton v Arsenal – the referee, the team, Saka and Cliff Bastin
- Luton Town – how do they play the game. The tackles, fouls and cards.