Numbers, What Does Cazorla Add Up To & Ox Talk
The squad numbers for 2012/13 season were announced yesterday, a menu choice for those purchasing replica shirts. The Retail Department came up with an interesting ploy to rid themselves of their surplus stock of the letters, t, b and c, by persuading the Premier League to permit ‘TBC’ as a squad number, Lukas Podolski the first to take advantage of the new rule.
Whilst many are presuming that his choice is the No.10 shirt about to be vacated by Robin van Persie – or not as the case may be – but I have a suspicion that he is hankering after the No. 9 shirt allocated to an unknown youngster by the name of Park; looking forward to his breakthrough season at the club. Or is he just lusting for 52 when Bendtner goes to Celta Vigo?
Transfer talk is dominating the airwaves at the moment. Peter Wimsey momentarily removed his left foot from his mouth to insert his right, with a naive statement about van Persie’s situation. It is a peculiarity that his media organ of choice is the Daily Star, although the ties between that paper and his father’s pet media outlet, the Daily Express, are extremely close. The suggestion is that he has a good working lunch relationship with well-known toff, Brian Woolnough.
With Arsène talking freely about signing players, it was no surprise to learn that Santi Cazorla and his agent met with Malaga yesterday to discuss the ongoing problems on the Costa del Sol. Mikel Arteta made sure that the welcome mat was rolled out even further, although he was careful not to become embroiled in a tapping up row with his countrymen,
I cannot talk about the actual situation but I can say that I know him as a player really well. And he’s a top, top player. He has got unbelievable quality and talent and that is all I can say.
It’s enough of a recommendation for me. Arsène saw the open goal and hammered home from close range,
I share the opinion of Mikel Arteta. Cazorla is a great player.
Let’s hope negotiations are more successful than with the last Spanish international midfielder we tried to sign; God help the board if it falls through over £200k again.
Whilst Cazorla can play across the midfield, the initial thought is that he would put pressure on Theo Walcott but I am not sure this is the case. Tomas Rosicky is once more recuperating from injury and my own view is that we have sufficient cover in the wide attacking midfield area. A triumverate of Song, Arteta and Cazorla would be a strong attacking line-up but would allow Song to concentrate more on marshalling the midfield in its defensive duties. This is before promising youngsters such as Coquelin are brought into the equation. I am not sure about Frimpong though. He had good initial games last season but I wonder how much impetus has been lost with his injury. Certainly another loan spell would seem the likeliest option for him whilst it is difficult to see where Henri Lansbury fits in at all, especially with the other younger players making decent outings in the pre-season games so far. As much as we want Steve Bould to organise the defence, the message needs to get through that the successful teams defend from the front when not in possession.
The real pressure on Walcott comes from Oxlade-Chamberlain. The youngster seems physically stronger than Walcott at a similar age and that physique has helped his progress. The thought must be crossing Walcott’s mind that having the same pressure in the England team is something of a message? Whatever the case is, Arsenal have strength in depth on the wings with Gervinho, Walcott, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Podolski to name but a few. Using Santos as a wide midfielder might be a tactic employed more often away from home, to offer Kieran Gibbs more protection although that team ethic was a quality noted in Podolski by the manager during the summer. It is a failing from last season which on the face of it has been addressed.
Oxlade-Chamberlain offered his somewhat beleaguered manager some support. At a time when players he has nutured are seemingly turning their back on him, Oxlade-Chamberlain sang his praises, offering an insight into how the manager thinks about football. I wonder if his apparent obsession with fitness is an extension of his early impact on the English game or more acutely influenced by injuries suffered in recent seasons? It is an interesting read, with an insight into what appears to be an impressive application of the lessons he has learned in his career.