Gunners boosted by return of four players

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Arsenal’s medical team have confirmed that Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Mesut Ozil, Granit Xhaka and Sokratis are all available for Thursday’s Europa League clash with BATE Borisov in Belarus.

Aubameyang and Ozil have recovered from illness, Xhaka’s groin isn’t tight anymore and Sokratis’ left ankle has unbanjaxed itself quicker than expected.

Given our schedule – we don’t play in the league for another 11 days – Emery could be tempted to take them all to Minsk. Who knows, the way things are going, he could leave Ozil there.

The only doubt is Aaron Ramsey who is still nursing a knee problem. In fairness, we’d go weak at the knee if we saw a £400,000 a week pay cheque incoming.

Hector Bellerin, Rob Holding and Danny Welbeck remain out for the season. But you knew that already.

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Alex

So the big question is: what will Özil suffer from tomorrow? Tactical, physical, sickness, knee, back… Maybe the club will announce he is dead.

Ya gooner

I’m voting abducted by aliens, then at least the pundits will be correct in saying he ‘goes missing’

baz00r

An Abductor? I think that’s a body thing if my year 7 PE class taught me anything.

BidOnLard

Its pretty cold there and he gets sick easily the last few years.

Alan90

He never was so vulnerable…it’s obvious fake News everytime they announce something like that. Hope He plays after so long

Donald's Trump

Nah he’ll be captain. Score 1, assist 2 and then be left out of the next 7 games with hiccups

Petit's Handbag

Tonight we meet a man who’s been hiccuping for 45 years…..”kill me”

Rogerbij

I’m voting he will be captain, just to keep it interesting. He might not be a playing captain of course!

Nordin

Yeah I hope you die first before Mesut!!!

Rayk 47

??‍♂️

Mpls

?‍♂️?‍♂️

Iykdyro

This Emre of a coach is gradually spoiling things for the fans. Whether he play ozil or not the dude will still collect his pay cheque. You can’t drop our best creator in the pitch on bench and want miracles of winning every match to happen. No matter what ozil still got the show. 350,000 pounds is not a small amount and besides the dude is in no rush because he just retired from international games. Who is fooling who ? Emre wake up

Red-Sky

I get that Ozil can be good on his day, but saying it would be a “miracle” to win without him is nonesense. He was there the last 2 season, nothing miraculous happen while we dwindled into becoming a Europa League club. Most of the performances were sub-par at that.

SharpasFc

Well said. I don’t love Mesut and neither do I hate him. He can do things with a ball that few other players in our team can do, but we aren’t playing Wengerball anymore. I really hope that Mesut recaptures his love for football and that his agent who seems very wise helps to find him another club where they will love him as we have done.

SharpasFc

Spell his name correctly and I will take your comment seriously. He’s not spoiling it for me. I’ve seen plenty of games that Mesut has played in and had absolutely no impact. Only the club needs to worry about the money they pay him…I could care less!

Pythagoras

Really I think the club should have just allowed mesut to leave when he wanted to

Eternal Titi Berg Pat Nostalgia

Ozil never wanted to.

SharpasFc

I genuinely think that Mesut wanted to stay and I suspect he would have stayed for less money than we are currently paying him. Both Mesut and Alexis are examples of what happens when you give someone too much money. Neither player really seems to have the “hunger” any more.

Jack

No excuses then, play strongest line-up possible and please please please do not play 3 centre backs!

Yaks

With Sokratis return, we can revert to 4-man defence, which makes us more flexible and fluid in midfield and attack.

Santori

No.

It depends on midfield plus the opponents we face.

There are no absolutes.

Thierry Walcott

I just wanna watch Mesut play football *sobs in high wages*

Sue

So glad Sokratis is back!! Would love to see Mesut play… surely we’ll win this game?!

Fatgooner

I don’t believe that any of them were sick in the first place. Emery got it right by resting them all for the Huddersfield game. With no weekend game we can go all out against Bate and hopefully make the second leg irrelevant. I finally got around to listening to the Arsecast: there was an interesting discussion about Alex Iwobi and why some fans are negative about him. Personally, I like Alex; but like many Gooners I don’t think that he’ll ever be good enough to be a major star at this club. For me he’s another Walcott: good enough… Read more »

Rich

I disagree, Iwobi is beginning to get into very good positions on a regular basis, he only needs to add composure. He may never add a ruthless edge to his game? But there’s nothing to say that with hard work, the right coaching and increased confidence levels, that he won’t either. The next 15 months will be massive for him, as will the next 27 months for Maitland Niles, both players can certainly make the grade, and both can certainly fail to make the grade, but both of them will stand a much better chance if we create a positive… Read more »

Santori

Shallow fans who prefer to see what they want to see. Last 3 matches Iwobi has instigated and provided critical passes for two of our goals. Last match he was in great positions. And he scored. He is one of very few players able to engage one on one which 8s why he is in the squad. We don’t have many players able to drag opponents out, commit them and destroy their shape. Lacazzette is the other at the moment. Sure he makes baffling decisions Iwobi but he is barely 23. No surprise everything good is coming from left side… Read more »

Crash Fistfight

I think the frustrating thing with Iwobi is that he is clearly talented. He can look amazing up until the final pass/shot and lets himself down. I also think he can improve his shooting – you can see how well he hit that shot when he was offside against Huddersfield that he has the ability to do so; I think it’s a mental thing. As such, it probably would be beneficial if people got off his back a little, as I’m sure being wary of the reaction to a miss/bad pass can’t be good for his nerves in these types… Read more »

Eternal Titi Berg Pat Nostalgia

I see Iwobi become like what Son represents for that other North London team. Son isn’t the player who gets all the plaudits but he is so important to whatever undeserved success they’re having.

Red-Sky

Iwobi shouldn’t be starting as many games, and certainly should not be burdened with being the creative outlet or the goal scorer. Emery’s style of play demands much from wingers and fullbacks, these requirement should’ve been made clear since the day he stepped into the club. And as such it was a very stupid decision to get into the season without buying at least a decent winger or 2. Iwobi could’ve had a quieter season where he would develop nicely away from the spotlight. That is from a player perspective. But also in the bigger picture, the team would in… Read more »

jon

Sokratis is enormously important for the team, and should maybe be spared for the away game. He could play the home fixture, to get some match sharpness.

The season defining matches come March 2. and March 10., against Tottenham and ManU. We need him then:)

berlingoon

Honestly think with Sokrais and Koscielny our defence is way better than many are saying. Both are a lot quicker than they’re getting credit for and hugely expirienced and both are real warriors who always give 100%. Would have no problem to go into the next season with them as center back pairing, with Holding, Chambers and Dinos as back ups. Think we should rather concentrate on a real competitor for Hector on the right and assess if Monreal or Kolasinac can bring Emery what he wants from a full back and if not look for at least one for… Read more »

Red-Sky

Rushing to final judgments after one or 2 recent good performances is exactly why we’re here now. Every player on this squad is capable of putting forth some decent performances every now and then. But a general view of the entire season makes it clear we are very lacking in quality of the back line. Sok, Kos, Holding, Chambers …etc all are not good enough. Evident by seasons of defensive frailty where lack of individual quality is indisputably clear as much as how the lack of organization (coaching) was. Including the current campaign, where even the conservative style of play… Read more »

Public Elneny

Our defensive frailty is mostly a result of how open and sloppy we are tactically (and partly Mustafi), rather than individual quality of the CBs imo.

We do need to invest there but to say all of them aren’t good enough is unfair and also totally unpractical

Red-Sky

I do agree and have said so in many posts, the lack of control over the games is a major cause of our defensive problems. But even after that, individually the back line is not good enough. 1 vs 1, playing from the back, tracking runners, tackling the ball off the opp or generally dealing with technical players…etc All are glaring problems.

kaius

We’re a long way from primetime Kolo Toure and Sol Campbell. All our defenders are pretty good, but the table doesn’t lie. We need to get better. Part of the problem is that Koscielny arrived in 2010-11 and he’s still our best defender. We all love Lolo but he doesn’t escape responsibility for our defensive frailties. It’s clear we haven’t recruited well in this area and it’s a massive factor in us falling out of the top four. And not recruiting proper backups for your main guys has lead to us both overplaying them and trying to bring them back… Read more »

Santori

How Mustafi?

He want present when we lost to BHA or Soton?

SharpasFc

People slate Mustafi too much.

berlingoon

So you’re telling me not to make final judgements after a few good games but are making final judgements after a few bad ones. Every player is also capable of putting in a few bad performances from time to time, especially if you’re playing with different partners in different systems every week in your first season at a new club in a new country and have been injured a few times yourself (Sokratis) or have been out for more than half a year and are coming back into a completely new team, with a new philosophy and new players around… Read more »

Red-Sky

“So you’re telling me not to make final judgements after a few good games but are making final judgements after a few bad ones.”

No! read again. I said ‘seasons of defensive frailty’… etc as in opposed to your point.
The whole point was that these individuals had bad performances and showed bad decisions for multiple seasons, and we need better.

Come on man, what are we arguing about here??
Chances were given, we’ve seen enough for long enough.

berlingoon

How many bad games Koscienly and Sokratis actually had in this “season of defensive frailty”? Surely not more than they had good ones. So I don’t need to read your comment again to see that your point about early judgements is nonsense in that case. Sokratis had multiple bad seasons? You’re right, I’m really asking myself what we’re arguing about here. And Koscielny has been here a decade and has been brillant for us, he only struggled the last few seasons when these achilles problems got worse and worse. But now, as I said before, he’s no longer having them… Read more »

Public Elneny

I like them both but that’s way too risky with their susceptibility to injury, I doubt they’d play more than 30% of our games together. We also don’t know how long it will take, or even if, Holding will return to his pre injury form. Replace Mustafi with a youngish but still fairly established cb, and probably find a good loan for Mavro, and I’d be a lot more confident. Agree we need a left and right back too, sadly I think Monreal’s legs have gone. It would be great if we had any academy players breaking through in those… Read more »

YaGunnersYa

I’d quite like to see Tolaji Bola from our academy being given an opportunity to show what he has to offer at left back. He’s represented England at various youth levels and we could have a gem on our hands if he is integrated well into the team.

Richard

Surprised Ozil’s travel sickness cleared up before the BATE game!

hustle6

It’s on the cards for Ozil to have a repeat of his most shining moment as an arsenal player -scoring a goal vs Ludogrets.

Or he’ll just be “sick” again.

Really good news about Auba, Sokrates and to a lesser extent Xhaka (but an extent none-the less)

Sue

Auba was sick too, but I don’t hear anyone talking about that!!

TeeCee

He’s over his özillness.

Northern Gooner

I’m genuinely curious about the Ramsey situation.

I mean, unless it’s a friendly, there’s no way he’s going to play a competitive match for us again and risk injury.

He may be a top professional but he isn’t going to risk his future, is he?

I wonder why he didn’t go in January. Is he getting at the club for their unilateral contract withdrawal?; Did Arsenal asked him to stayand if so, why?

None of this makes any sense to me

Gooner Dave

How is he risking anything, he has already signed for them. If anything he has handled this perfectly he now has a 240k per week contract with no risk, if he gets injured he will still get paid. If he didn’t sign and waited till the end of the season he could break a leg and miss out on a years wages!

Northern Gooner

Call me a cynic but I don’t see Juve, or any other club for that matter, honouring an extremely expensive contract while the player is out with a nasty injury.

PSG reneged on Valdes’ contract after he tore his cruciate ligaments whilst playing for Barca, even though he’d already signed for them.

I suppose there are clauses in the contract for such an eventuality.

But my point is that it makes zero sense to have kept Ramsey. His head, if nothing else, will be anywhere but at Arsenal.

jon

We want players to play with their hearts, and they all say something like “I’ve dreamed about playing for the club since I was a small boy” when they sign. But in reality, nothing really comes in the way of €500.000 per week, which is net profit, more than many listed companies make.

I expect to Ramsey to put in a decent shift when he’s called upon, both here and at Juventus.

kaius

It’s pretty common now for players to leave on free transfers without any disruption to their performances. They also have national team places at stake.

Kolasinac, for example, had a very strong last six months at Schalke after it was announced he was joining us on a free.

Northern Gooner

Context is everything but taking into account that Ramsey has hardly played this season, I doubt very much he’ll make any meaningful contribution until the end of the season.

I hope you are right and I’m wrong.

I still maintain though, the current situation makes zero sense from an Arsenal’s perspective.

And just to be clear, I’m not criticising Ramsey at all, he’s doing what most of us would have done.

Mpls

While it wouldn’t be a complete shock in a general sense to see just about any player let up a bit with this kind of change coming, I give A-A-Ron a lot more credit than that. Any time he’s been healthy and given a job to do he has put nothing less than full effort in.

I don’t think we’ll see any tailing-off of Ramsey unless it’s from the decisions of others on the selection side.

A Different George

There are presumably clauses in a contract for any eventuality; it’s a matter of bargaining. I cannot imagine that Ramsey’s team succeeded in getting him a huge salary and yet did not protect against his being injured before he joined Juve. What possible advantage to Ramsey to sign a pre-contract, unless it includes this protection?

allezkev

So pleased to see Sokratis is fit again, but I’d be more inclined to give Mavropanos a start, he needs games and we’re gonna need him in the weeks ahead.

atom

Mav can’t play in the Europa league as we left him off the squad

Almunia4Pires

Don’t start me on that one.

Frog

Cool. Some of best players are available. Now our mediocre mid table egotist of a manager can not play them for “tactical” reasons.

Crash Fistfight

Bit harsh.

Floppy Gloves

I wasn’t aware being 1 point off 4th place was considered mid table

Frog

“If you ain’t first, you’re last” Ricky Bobby.

A Different George

I don’t know if he is himself mediocre, or an egotist (no more than any football manager), but I do worry that he has a mid-table (or rather, top of mid-table) mentality. My real worry is that is the reason that the Kronkes wanted him.

Lack of Perspective

Fucking eternal misery. Jesus fucking christ. Am i the only one that things considering where we where at the end of last season this is a definite improvement. General defense is still sketch but 1 goal conceded from corners all season. Away form from non-existent to patchy. 22 games unbeaten is not a fluke. Player improvements. 1 point of top four in the closing stages with it completely in our hands to turn it round. I was expecting a shit show like manure experienced after ferguson. Cheer the fuck up, support the team and stop this non-stop whinging. No wonder… Read more »

Paul Roberts

Hear hear!

Frog

You’re kidding yourself if you think there’s been one iota of improvement. We were bad last year and we are possible worse this year. And our “tactics” are worse than ever. At least we used to try to be creative and offensive now we’re just offensive to watch.

Red-Sky

A pathetic post.

Futsboller

Hopefully Emery sends us out in an attacking formation with Ozil holding the keys. As Wenger pointed out last night, you’ve got to control the midfield to control the game, and we’ve not done that well recently. We have the personnel to do it, however, so hopefully we see some 3-4 combination from Xhaka, Ramsey, Ozil, Torreira, and Guendouzi. Everyone deserves to feel the flow again.

Mpls

I am of the strong opinion that we need a 3 man midfield. Whether that be 3-5-2, 4-3-3, 4-4-2 with a compact diamond, or 4-2-3-1, I don’t care. Even with Eveready Guendouzi and Torreira the 3-4-3 leaves us weak in the middle.

Paul Roberts

4 players back from injury…!! What is this madness??? 🙂

Mpls

Sssshhh! The injury gods must have lost track – let’s not wake them!

Billy Bob

Those three being out for the season is, I believe, a key reason for our post unbeaten run wobble!!! Glad to hear the others are back, put a smile on my face ?

SLC Gooner

The official Arsenal post on Facebook does not list Ozil in the traveling squad. Sigh. Not that he’s the solution to everything, but this not even having him available is getting ridiculous.

Santori

Granit is a BIG boost for us. We have lacked sufficient authority in midfield. Given we were playing against the bottom team, Midfield was too porous and light. If you get that sort of constant duress against our defense, it will have issues. Granit isn’t the entire answer but to me he strikes a better balance with Torreira. Torreira has been patchy since BHA coming back in from.injury lay off. Against BHA, Soton, Liverpool he was robbed off or misplaced the ball 5 critical times working out from defense. 3 of which led directly to goals against us. He came… Read more »

jon

Torreira and Guendouzi were excellent against Manchester City. When Chelsea visited them a few days later, they were blown off midfield, but our youngsters withstood the pressure. (The City match was lost due to a couple of grave defensive errors).

In Arsenal’s match against Chelsea at home, Xhaka was good as a sole sweeper in front of the defence, and this might be where he plays best.