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- Oxford United v Arsenal: the past and the present and what they foretell
By Bulldog Drummond
You might expect that this would be a situation in which professional football writers might relax a little from their daily diet of attacking Arsenal and the hopelessness of its position, and instead focus on how the lineup might change for the match against Oxford United of League One.
But no, the onslaught has to continue and so FootballLondon – part of the Reach group that owns the Mirror – brings out Tome Canton to say, “This is the game that highlights exactly how thin the Arsenal squad currently is right now.” The team they propose is then set out as…
Tomiyasu, Holding, Gabriel, Tierney;
Elneny, Vieira, Smith Rowe;
Saka, Nketiah, Martinelli.
That means that Ramsdale, Saliba, White, Xhaka, Zinchenko, Odegaard, and Partey are not in their selected line up. So just on two thirds of the team from the last match won’t start. And that suggests “how thin” the squad is???
Clearly we have entered the world of neo-journalism where nothing means, err, nothing.
And to prove the point in a separate Football London article there are listed “three Arsenal youngsters Mikel Arteta should trust for first team start in Oxford FA Cup clash “
That piece is by Amario Cozier-Duberry, and if that selection were used, along with the one cited above that would only leave one player from the Newcastle game who is still playing against Oxford. And again one has to ask, how can FoLo claim “how thin the Arsenal squad currently is right now”?
(The answer is of course that they assume that the average memory span of their readers is 25 seconds which is how long it takes a seven year old to read one of their articles.)
The piece then goes on to rave about Amario Cozier-Duberry who impressed “during the preseason friendly against Juventus last month.” They also suggest “Ethan Nwaneri could be a candidate to come in and fill the midfield role. The 15-year-old is well known to Gunners fans after his record breaking debut against Brentford earlier this season and travelled away with Arsenal to their training camp in Dubai.”
And still it is not over as Reuell Walters, we are told, could come in at full-back, at least according to FoLo noting as they do “Arteta has already included Walters in first team squads this season, and if things go right the 18-year-old could be in line for a senior debut.”
So ten of the eleven players against Newcastle could be rested according to the site although “This is the game that highlights exactly how thin the Arsenal squad currently is right now.” They really are totally and utterly bonkers to a point where bonkers doesn’t begin to described their ravings.
To return to normality Sports Mole offer this line up
Tomiyasu, Holding, Saliba, Tierney;
Marquinhos, Odegaard, Vieira;
90min go along similar lines but drop Odegaard and Saliba and give us
Tomisayu, Holding, Gabriel, Tierney;
Vieira, Elneny, Lokonga;
Marquinhos, Nketiah, Martinelli.
And let us give a moment for Oxford Mail to take a bow with another variation
Tomisayu, Holding, Gabriel, Tierney;
Elneny, Xhaka, Vieira
Saka, Nketiah, Marquinhos.
The Standard goes for pretty much the same as above but with minor positional changes.
Oh yes and the Guardian expects the Arsenal team to remember (although none were there) earlier games against Oxford, as with the headline FA Cup
That set of backups for the last game was Turner, Holding, Tierney, Tomiyasu, Elneny, Vieira, Sambi Lokonga, Nathan Butler-Oyedeji and Marquinhos. But the main thing to remember is that this is a “very thin squad”. Rather like that newspapers employ “very fat reporters” largely because they spend far too much time in the Toppled Bollard public house, drinking pints.
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