I’m not a betting man but the alleged spat if we can call it that, between Unai Emery and midfielder Mesut Ozil, may indicate that Arsenal and the German may not be involved in a long-term relationship for much longer.
It appears that the troubled World Cup winner may be at odds with his coach in terms of his role but time will tell if it’s the cause of a messy divorce or just a mild tiff. Ozil’s omission from the team wasn’t noticeable in this game but it may well be detectable against stiffer and more clinical opposition.
Emery has a series of less demanding games ahead and in theory, he could leave the midfielder out for a while longer if bridges between the two are not built. It’s a brave move if we assume that it was conflict and not illness that was instrumental in the midfielder’s absence.
The Spaniard seemed optimistic after the game but knows that although the team have all the ingredients, the end product isn’t quite there yet. Ozil’s absence allowed Aaron Ramsey to slot back into the side, something I and a number of others had been hoping for but there was no starting place for Lucas Torreira.
It appears that Emery can see more in Granit Xhaka than anyone else can, as he persists with a manufactured holding midfielder rather than the real deal. Going forward Arsenal had plenty to offer but it’s high line at the back that saw the Gunners open up like a tin of skipjack tuna. Had West Ham taken the chances they had, they could have easily won this game and taken all three points.
Pellegrini should remain upbeat because the points will eventually start rolling in soon. They certainly have the potential to perform and the armoury to win handsomely. Emery and Pellegrini have the same issues of transition and adapting to a new style but whereas the Spaniard had the rub of the green, Pellegrini suffered as each chance went begging.
Marko Arnautovic gave the Hammers a 25th-minute lead, but Arsenal were level within five minutes when Monreal found enough space to set up a picnic table. There were signs of promise for both sides but West Ham must be kicking themselves because they could have and should have, put the game to bed.
Arsenal had chances through Ramsey and Mustafi, the first narrowly ruled offside and the second drawing a brilliant save from former gunner Fabianski. Arsenal added to their tally via a deflection from £22 million new boy, Issa Diop’s and a rare Danny Welbeck goal. Welbeck’s future at the club is in question but he was left in acres of space to pop the ball in from a place of his choosing. It was a generous gift but one that flattered Arsenal in the dying seconds.
One suspects that Emery’s hair may be the same colour as Pellegrini’s by the end of the season if Arsenal continue to defend in this haphazard fashion but three points is three points. Emery is still searching for a balance and U2’s hit “I still haven’t found what I’m looking for “ may be an appropriate theme tune for the Spaniard at present. Pellegrini may be more inclined to listen to Yazz, because “ The only way is up “
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