Arsenal’s January transfer window was nothing less than a disaster, with Kim Kallstrom being the only new signing arriving at the Emirates on a short term loan. This move went from underwhelming, to almost comical, as it was revealed he would be out for a month with a back injury. A late enquire for Salomon Kalou was thankfully rejected by Lille, and hopes that Julian Draxler would be joining the Gunners were dashed by Arsene Wenger who revealed early on Transfer Deadline Day that Draxler would be staying at Schalke.
With no striker arriving in January angering some Arsenal fans, it appears Arsenal are stranded with Nicklas Bendtner to provide the backup to Olivier Giroud. Giroud started the season well, but his form has faded in recent weeks, scoring only 2 goals in his last 6 Premier League appearances. It is clear for all to see that Arsenal crave a world class striker to complement the world class midfield players at their disposal, but Arsene Wenger decided to stick with the strikers in the squad to try and fire Arsenal to the title. Whether this be down to the lack of availability of world class strikers, or Arsene’s stubbornness to pay up (or perhaps faith in the players he has), whichever reason there was, it ended up with no new (fit) players at the Emirates.
Today we received the news that youngster Yaya Sanogo has returned from the injury that has seen him take part in no competitive matches for Arsenal, with his only appearance being in the Emirates Cup last summer. Sanogo is certainly not going to ride in heroically and fire Arsenal to title; however, he is another body to provide a bit of depth upfront that is desperately needed if the worst was to happen to Giroud.
After the car crash of a defeat to Liverpool at the weekend, the media have come out in force with their stories that place Arsenal in ‘turmoil’. Sanogo returned to training just in time to give Per Mertesacker a black eye, with Giroud apparently cheating on his wife in a ‘3am romp’ with another woman. That is of course, if you believe everything you read in the papers. It is very convenient that these stories have been released after a damaging defeat at Anfield, where the Gunners may as well of stayed on the team coach. The media are keen to promote Arsenal’s turmoil, with my favourite commentator (not) Michael Owen and the Match of the Day pundits licking their lips at Arsenal’s potential downfall to prove their negative predictions to be true.
One player that the media may be right in criticising recently is Mesut Ozil, who has been in worryingly poor form. With only 1 assist in his last 9 Premier League games and no goals, he has certainly gone off the boil since the very positive start to his Arsenal career. He was very poor against Liverpool at the weekend (but so was everyone in yellow) with two of his errors directly leading to goals, leading to him being substituted after an hour. There are calls for him to be dropped, but I think this might be a slight overreaction. There is no doubt that Ozil is a player that enjoys providing for others, on several occasions this season he has had the chance to shoot but chose a pass instead. Arsene Wenger said in September that Ozil’s “passing and his retention of the ball gives everyone time to move” so it could be possible that Ozil’s worth to the team is been overlooked due to the lack of fireworks he is providing at the moment. With Theo Walcott’s season ending knee injury, there is no pace around Ozil and a lack of runners in behind meaning that his trademark eye of a needle through balls cannot be used effectively. There is no doubt in my mind that Ozil will get better when he adapts properly to the pace and physicality of the English Premier League and settles properly into his new life in North London. Watch out for him next season.
I leave you with these stats from star playmakers in the Premier League: Juan Mata’s first season at Chelsea- 6 goals, 13 assists. David Silva’s first season at Man City- 4 goals, 7 assists. Mesut Ozil’s first 5 months at Arsenal- 4 goals, 8 assists. Not a bad start eh?
Let me know what you think about Arsenal’s transfer window, the media and Mesut Ozil in the comments below!