It can sometimes be embarrassing to be an Arsenal fan in these days of social media. When somebody’s ‘opinion’, and yes I had to use the ‘ ‘ there, is born out of nothing more than FIFA 14 and Football Manager 2014 experience and having never played the game themselves it is hard to take it seriously.
As I have mentioned before I am an amateur goalkeeper. The reason for this? Nobody else in the team I play for is stupid enough to go in goal, but aside from that, I’m just not good enough out on the pitch to make the starting 10. But in days gone by I had played on the pitch before resigning myself to a life between the sticks and I did ‘Okay’ (Again I’m trying not to admit I was shocking as a player).
I can only dread to think the social media comments about my performances in previous years and how I’d soon be put out to pastures new if I was in a major team. This Saturday against Manchester City was one of the most embarrassing weekends I have ever experienced on social media as an Arsenal fans with some of the comments flying out from peoples feeds.
I can categorically call out one fan who chose to ignore the great performance of Jack Wilshere and instead, decided to call out Aaron Ramsey who was ‘Back to his same old’ in his exact words. I also find it appalling that fans continue to lambast Mesut Ozil week after week when the clubs record signing is continually played out of position. Stats on squawka.com clearly show that when Mesut Ozil is played in his preferred role of Attacking Midfielder behind the striker, he excels. Despite some fans believing this to be incorrect, the stats don’t lie.
There is a monumental difference between a player not being good enough for the club and a player not being good enough for the team. If Arsene was to play the players in their correct positions, we would have a starting eleven capable of beating anybody on their day. I do not agree with people slating players when they are played in their un-natural roles.
Would Arsenal fans criticise Wenger for playing Olivier Giroud as a centre back? No, Giroud would instead be the worst defender we had ever seen. If Theo was asked to play left back, would it be the tactics of Le Prof? No, it would be Theo playing absolutely shockingly and not getting his tackles right. If Ospina was bought on to play up front would it be questioned why Wenger had done that? No, it would be a wasted £3m on a player who clearly isn’t good enough to be a striker.
So with that in mind, why are we continuing to criticise Ozil when he is being placed on the wings instead of his central role? Why did we continue to criticise Aaron Ramsey when he was being played wide instead of his preferred role of central midfield. We all know what happened with Aaron when he was finally put in the right position.
It ultimately boils down to tactical failure and incompetence in the summer window to address the issues we need addressing. You cannot blame a player for playing poorly when it is not his favoured location. If you asked a mechanic to be a journalist for the day, or asked an author to explain quantum theory it would be a car crash waiting to happen. Which is exactly what is happening with our tactics board inside the Emirates at the moment.
If you are going to be playing with wide men, play a wide man in the position, don’t fit players to the team because they are the players you want in the team. Use a wide left footer like Joel Campbell or Lucas Podolski. Wide right should be Theo, Chamberlain or even Alexis, not Mesut Ozil. Last seasons formation was absolutely fine, the 4-2-3-1 worked well, but it missed a centrally minded defensive midfielder. Even under a 4-1-4-1 formation, we are still missing that centrally minded dm. It might mean that Jack and Aaron have to rotate, because part of the puzzle for Arsene is how does he fit in all these excellent midfielders into one formation? Playing them out wide however is not the answer.
Before criticising the players, think about why they are playing there and who asked them to play there. A team is only as good as it’s last performance and I haven’t seen Jose Mourinho play Cesc Fabregas out on the wide left yet?
A comparison on average performances show that last Seasons Mesut Ozil in a central role was far more effective than this seasons wide man version, again on a comparison matrix, there is a major difference between the two seasons.
And whilst Jack had an excellent game, surely we can’t expect every player on the pitch to light up and shine the way ahead? Be realistic for a change. We mock Liverpool for expecting to win every game and mock Spurs relentlessly for every good reason, but imagine how we as a club look when we are slating our record signing, when actually, played in his correct position, he continues to be the best player we have and one of the best in the world.
I sourced most of my information for this article from http://www.squawka.com/
Mesut Ozil’s only game centrally this season is here http://epl.squawka.com/leicester-city-vs-arsenal/31-08-2014/english-barclays-premier-league/matches – 4.5* performance
Thanks for reading