I broke with my intended schedule posting yesterday’s piece on how to (legally) watch all the Arsenal matches on your TV/Computer/Phone but don’t worry, I did follow that up with some work that I promised myself I would do from now on.
However, today we are left with very little in terms of reliable news. There’s an article from the Mirror that has everyone atwitter: Elneny is being sold to save on salary. And Arsenal put out a picture essay on their practice sessions which I knew would have images of Leno, Torriera, and Monreal in them.
To the first, this is the Mirror. I’m sure that they have a source for this story but I’m equally sure that they are slanting the story to make it sound as hyperbolic as possible. Are we really trying to cut salary? Probably. Will it make more room for a huge offer for Ramsey? Certainly.
More to the point is that Elneny is surplus to requirements. Arsenal already have Xhaka, Guendouzi, and Torreira in his position. I know he’s popular among the fans but he’s at his ceiling. Guendouzi is well below his ceiling. And purely from a business standpoint, it’s a good move to sell the (extra) guy at the top of his game, clear his salary off the books, and give his playing time to a young player whose value will only grow.
Also from a footballing perspective, Guendouzi and Torreira have more to offer the team. They should get the majority of the playing time.
I also scoped Bernd Leno on the dot com this morning and he also got a mention on Arseblog and to cap it off a lot of Arsenal supporters want him to start against Chelsea. Andrew suggested that maybe the new manager doesn’t trust Leno and I agree with him. Based on the stats that I have looked at (which almost entirely deal with saves) Leno is a huge gamble.
Is he better at passing out of the back than Cech? Perhaps. But Chelsea’s manager, Sarri, is known as “Mister 33” because he drills his teams with 33 set pieces. Remember that Chelsea scored on a corner against Arsenal in the pre-season friendly, Cech was in goal but the ball was played so far away from him that he literally couldn’t have done anything to “command” it or even save it. So, the question is which player is better commanding the box? Unai will know based on his time in practice. He will also know that Sarri is a set-piece specialist and will make his selection accordingly.
The one thing I agree with the Mirror about is the fact that a lot of players on this team need to be sold or at least loaned. Ospina, Campbell, and Elneny all seem to be surplus.
One last note: Welbeck would probably have been loaned but nothing came of his supposed flirtation with Everton. Unless a foreign team really needs a hard working forward, he’s going to be with us this season. And finally, Carl Jenkinson is still on the books and I seriously doubt he will be moving anywhere. He’s 26 years old and he’s made 5 appearances for Arsenal since 2014. In his last loan deal, Birmingham City, he was dropped by Garry Monk and only played 7 matches. I can’t see many takers.
Not every person can make it as a professional footballer. Wenger said it took three components: Talent, Application, and Opportunity. If a person is missing any of those three things, they are very unlikely to become a star. Every time I see his photo on the dot com, I see a man who has the “thousand mile stare”. It looks hollowed out or you might even mistake it for scared. But he’s looking through you. It’s the look of a man who sees the end on the horizon and has fixated on it. Some of us got this in boot camp about half-way through. That’s when I realized that there were only four more weeks and no matter what happened, all I had to do was look to the future. It would eventually be over.