The morning after a hard fought away win in Europe, courtesy of a wondrous goal, we should be waking up to different back pages than the one informing us that Mesut Ozil has told his his pals he is off to Man United. However I find myself neither upset or angry, more resigned and indifferent. I was told in the summer of 2016 his agent was touting him around Europe, with no takers, even after the one season he truly shone at Arsenal. This past summer his PR was well-played and took many of us in, although the club also took part or where taken in wholeheartedly, dependent on your view. It is hard to now reflect on this any other way than this – When no one wanted him at the crazy wages he apparently feels he merits he momentarily loved us but now seemingly his old mentor from Madrid wants him, he loves us a bit less!
Some may think the above overly harsh and it does come from the heart but It is no secret that I have felt Arsenal needed a running 10 who was also a sublime passer. Ozil is a visionary passer but as Cazorla showed us in his one season as our main playmaker, there are alternative ways to skin the proverbial cat, or indeed unlock the well drilled defence. It may just be that as painful as it feels to know that your best two individual players want to leave your club it may just open new doors for others who do wish to be Gunners.
Last night Jack Wilshere gave us a taste of what it might mean to have a running playmaker in the inside forward role in Arsenal’s current system. Whilst we probably need to contain our enthusiasm to see him back in the first team week in week out it is difficult not to feel the affiliation to ‘one of our own’ particularly given the ongoing saga with Ozil and Alexis. So as I ponder the mixed emotions this morning, inspired by Jack and a few other young home grown talents last night I have considered a first 11 of players who want to be at Arsenal. For my criteria the player is home grown, has always signed any new deal put in front of them without fuss or is in his first long term deal at the club. To make it real I am selecting based on the current team system of 3421 as well. This is my gut selecting and you will all have different ideas which I look forward to hearing.
Petr Cech – We need a younger man this summer but he is the main man and committed to the club. Fabulous communicator and organiser is not as agile as he once was
Right Centre Back
Rob Holding – Immense talent if still a tad green on occasions and prone to a mistake. However he is a confident young man and you only have to look at how John Stones has progressed with the right coaching to see how Holding should develop.
Central Centre Back
Laurent Koscielny – We can doubt his Achilles but we can never doubt his pure ability, loyalty and commitment to Arsenal. Make no mistake our captain could have gone to Bayern on more than one occasion yet stayed true.
Left Centre Back
Nacho Monreal – Arguably our most consistent player over the campaign to date and he has made the position his own. I am sure he has had many offers to return to Spain and particularly in the first two seasons when he was an understudy left back he chose to stay and fight.
Ainsley Maitland-Niles – Our Young WC Winner has shown maturity and pace when asked to play on his wrong foot in the Europa and League Cups. Defensively he is learning and he spent a season in the right of Ipswich’s midfield and I think he could make this his position with tough competition centrally.
Granit Xhaka – The Swiss Captain is not having a fine season to date. He is however a talented passer and a deep lying playmaker and whilst not a defensive midfielder, in front of a three man defence we should be able to get away with his lack of mobility. Needs to improve to make it here.
Aaron Ramsey – This is a borderline call as my information says he has turned down a new contract offered in the summer. Given this was not in the press he gets the benefit of the doubt and gets the nod. The Welshman needs to accept the role in this system though as it is not always going to be the box to box he carves and his discipline be total.
Sead Kolasinac – As most of us I think our Bosnian Tank maybe rampaging up and down our left flank for years to come. He is still raw but has it all and could be a great of this club in year to come.
Jack Wilshere – In a turn of events perhaps no one saw coming when Jack was in and out of s struggling Bournemouth team on loan, the prodigal son is being touted as a potential saviour. Of course it all depends on his fitness but it does seem that this new role that was not there before he left is tailor made for the England International. This position gives him the ability to display his array of attacking talent, whilst leaving him free of tacking and defensive work, so of the cause of his injuries.
Danny Welbeck – A tough one this as Iwobi has a strong claim but the running power and shear energy, persistence and nuisance value edges me in the England Stars favour. Ever since Welbz celebrated his FA Cup Winner at Old Trafford in his first season he has been one of us and despite his edginess in front of goal I am still convinced he just needs to know he will play every week for the finishing consistency to come.
Alex Lacazette – There is no debate on this one. He is our record signing, on a long term deal and needs to know he is our main man. With his manager continually taking him off and Alexis still playing for himself it is hard for his confidence and belief to grow. Please just play him every week and in Europe.
Reiss Nelson – Superb cover at inside forward or right wing back. He has a huge future at Arsenal
Olivier Giroud – If he is satisfied to be a super sub I am happy. I would like to see him on with Lacazette in certain games and not instead of.
Calum Chambers – Interchangeable with Holding and Koscielny and new tied down to a long term deal at the Arsenal. He will be fighting to a first team position
Francis Coquelin – Arsenal through and through now and despite many doubting him and excellent player to come in for Xhaka or Ramsey in certain games.
Alex Iwobi – Able to cover and come on for Wilshere or Welbeck and in the short term whilst the English proves he can play twice a week probably alternating.
Joe Willock – Mighty impressed with this young lad. Perhaps a loan is required but he offers more going forward than Elneny for sure.
Theo Walcott – We know what he can bring when on his game.