Pre-Watford Stuff and Wenger’s Thoughts on the Title Race
Friday – the day of the week we workers look forward to for more reasons than one. The best part of this Friday is that there’s some Arsenal football tomorrow after the club’s ambassadors had quite a productive window. There were goals for Alexis Sanchez, Olivier Giroud, Santi Cazorla, Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Aaron Ramsey, Chuba Akpom, Serge Gnabry and even Joel Campbell. As for Mesut Ozil, he assists when he wants.
The best part of the international window was that there were no fresh injury concerns to contend with. However, the manager has shed some light on the current situation of the club’s injured lot. Laurent Koscielny would face a fitness test to confirm his availability for the Watford game but I’d prefer him to be rested for the all-important clash against Bayern Munich on Tuesday. Besides, Gabriel has been playing well and he needs more games under his belt. As for the English duo of Danny Welbeck and Jack Wilshere, Wenger confirmed that the most optimistic time of seeing Welbz will be January 2016. Knee injuries are nothing to be joked with… you can look no further than the likes of Liverpool’s Joe Gomez and Danny Ings that are now out for the rest of the campaign.
Wenger spoke about Alexis Sanchez red-hot form and he hopes it continues. The Chilean has scored nine goals in his last five games for club and country and like a juggernaut, it would take some stuffing to bring him down. Alexis is such an infectious character that rubs off his influence on his teammates and we would be hoping for another class act at Vicarage Road. The boss also talked up Ozil’s performance against Manchester United and he expects the German schemer to get more goals under his belt as the campaign progresses. Ozil is the kinda guy that would rather find a pass for a teammate instead of putting the ball at the back of the net but at Real Madrid, he scored 10 goals on two occasions in the 10/11 and 12/13 seasons.
Wenger is also hopeful for the lads to reconnect quickly against Watford because it has become a norm for players to have rather disjointed performances after an international break. There is the issue of jet lag due to travelling and just that general tired feel but I expect the lads to be buzzing after such an important psychological victory against one of the teams they usually get poor results against a fortnight ago. Players like Per Mertesacker, Francis Coqulein and Nacho Monreal would be refreshed because they spent the break at home watching their teammates score goals here and there.
Wenger was asked a couple of questions about his thoughts on the Premier League title race this season. Arsenal is currently two points behind Manchester City and even though its ‘early days’ in the campaign, staying close to the top gives you a realistic chance of winning the title. The defending champions, Chelsea, have lost three of their last five games (only Aston Villa, Newcastle and Sunderland have worse forms) and they are currently eight points behind the league leaders, Manchester City. That’s three games they need to win and hope the Citizens lose if they wanna catch up. Things are pretty tight up there with the likes of Manchester United (level on points with Arsenal at 16 points) staking a claim for the title, Crystal palace and Leicester locked at 15 points each, and West Ham, Tottenham, Southampton and Liverpool not far off.
Wenger was asked about Chelsea and as you’d expect from the classy man, he maintained focus on his own team. If it was the other Portuguese bloke he would have been running his mouth like a leaking faucet. What really interested me was when Wenger was asked if this is the best chance for the Gunners to win their first league title in 11 years (damn., that’s quite some time),
“At the moment we are in the fight and that’s what you want. I believe we have the potential to do it and that’s what we want to show now in the coming games. I’ve been here for 19 years and we had some turning points in the history.
When I arrived we had the financial potential to fight for the titles. After, when we moved into the new stadium, there was a period where we did not have the opportunity to fight for the title but we had to work very hard to stay at the top.
In the last two, maybe two-and-a-half years, we are back in the fight because we have the financial potential again to get the best players. When you look well at the last two years, we’ve brought in Ozil, Alexis, Petr Cech. That shows that we are back and are capable to fight to get the best players.”
It’s agreeable that money plays a huge role in winning titles and Manchester City has proved this fact, even though they have splurged quite exorbitantly. However, if you use good money to sign quality players, their quality will obviously shine through in the club. You can look no further than the two players Wenger mentioned in his response – Ozil and Sanchez. These two have galvanized the team and Alexis has risen to a talismanic status on the end of his brilliant debut campaign. It’s heartwarming to know that he has picked up where he left off.
It’s going to be a long campaign but the Gunners are on the right path at the moment.
Thanks to Arsene Wenger.
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