Thursday, 28 November 2013

Flamini's shirt -Arteta focused -Mertesacker delighted by contract offer -Ozil's adaptation period

Morning Gooners.

I'm not sure there has been a time when more has been written about the length of the sleeves on Arsenal's shirts.

Mathieu Flamini's decision to break with club tradition and cut his sleeves so that he could wear short sleeves while the rest of the team wear long has certainly filled some column inches.

Arsene Wenger said post match that he did not like Flamini breaking with club tradition and he would not do it again. Pretty firm words from the manager.

The midfielder meanwhile told reporters in the mix zone after the game:
"I’ve been playing at the top level for 10 years and I like to wear short sleeves."
Others have been wading into the debate.

Lee Dixon said.
"I liked to wear short sleeves too but I wore the same as the captain. Club tradition must remain at all costs. Rodders (Tony Adams) used to ask the players to vote. If it was long then I rolled them up."
While Martin Keown has dedicated his whole column to the issue.

Quite clearly Flamini won't be allowed to do it again. Wenger has spoken and that should be the end of the matter. The midfielder will just have to roll up his sleeves like all those before him if he wishes to have his forearms exposed to the air.

Meanwhile the 29-year-old has spoken about his quick transition to life in north London.

He said:
"I am not really surprised (it has gone well) because the philosophy is still the same. 
"We are still playing the same football. Arsene Wenger is still here with the same conviction, for me on the pitch it is always the same game so it went very naturally."
Many have said he has been the key to our good form so far this season. I would be inclined to agree but feel that Mikel Arteta also is vital to our game. While Flamini is vocal, the Spaniard goes around doing his job in a different way. I think both - because of their maturity - bring so much to the team.

I think the manager will switch Flamini and Arteta throughout the season and it's only probably in the bigger games that we will see them playing in the same team together.

The vice-captain has spoken of our weekend assignment in Wales.

He said:
"Cardiff will be very tough. That is why we need to get back and prepare well for Saturday to make sure we get the points again."
It is vital we keep our winning run going. We've got another week of really big games coming up - Manchester City, Napoli and Chelsea in the run up to Christmas, so it is vital that we have good form going into those fixtures.

Per Mertesacker has spoken about the "reward" of being offered a new contract.

He said:
'The first year was tough for me, a very tough challenge, but the club and the manager always trusted me in a special way. 
"I think it is a little reward that we are talking (about a new contract), because I still have one-and-a-half years left. 
'There is no rush, but it seems that some people are delighted with my performances at the moment. I am pleased with the situation."
It is interesting how Mertesacker's image has changed this season. People who don't watch Arsenal regularly are finally seeing what fans see week in, week out with the BFG's performances. He's actually a very good defender.

The partnership the German has formed with Laurent Koscielny has been key to our defensive stability and as long as that continues, we should be in with a good chance of silverware this season.

Mean while Mertesacker has been talking about his compatriot Mesut Ozil.

Mertesacker told the official website
"He has made good progress. He is in good form and you can see that. Especially against Marseille he was always a threat and he never gave up after the penalty that he missed. 
"We are very delighted with him, especially in the transition from defence to offence. He is the one who always goes deep all of the time. 
"He gets himself into good positions so the goals will come for sure. He moves well between the lines so it is always difficult to defend against him. When the centre back comes out with him, there is always space for others to move into. 
"He helps us create more chances. We are playing well as a team and we should continue that in the Champions League and the Premier League."
I think the jury is still out with many on Ozil's season so far. I think the playmaker's adaptation period to English football might take slightly longer than most Arsenal fans believed it would. I always believed that we wouldn't see the best of Ozil until after Christmas. But it might be that he needs a full pre-season with Arsenal to get truly up to speed.

I've certainly not been disappointed with what I've seen. I do feel he drifts in and out of games to much. But it's far too early to say that he's been a waste of money. Remember Robert Pires didn't fully find his feet in England until his second season and I've no doubt that Ozil can too.

There are transfer rumours today as well. The Daily Mail suggests we are keeping a close eye on Real Madrid striker Alvaro Morata, 21, who is tipped to leave the Spanish capital on loan in January.

Our scouts are also said to be watching Schalke  midfielder Max Meyer, 18.

And finally the Daily Mirror report Arsenal legend Pat Rice is in hospital with cancer.

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