Tag Archives: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

The non-story of Arsenal players ” dangerous nitrous oxide binge”

So Arsenal made the front pages today with news that Mesut Ozil, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette, Matteo Guendouzi and others were filmed inhaling nitrous oxide in a club back in August.

I really do not care.

Anyone that has ever taken nitrous oxide (which the press sensationally label “hippy crack” and the rest of us “balloons”) will know that it is pretty much harmless.

Some state that it “could lead to death” due to lack of oxygen, but there has never been a single reported case of someone dying after inhaling a balloon. Crossing the could lead to death. Getting on the Central Line at 6pm could lead to death.

Out of all of the “highs” that are out there – from drink to drugs – balloons are the least damaging on your body. In fact, beyond the couple of minute head rush you get due to lack of oxygen, there is no evidence that they do any damage to you.

Balloons have become some players “drug” of choice due to how little impact it has on the body.

I would much rather my players do a couple of balloons on a night rather than drink alcohol until they pass out, take drugs, or smoke. Even Red Bull is more dangerous then balloons.

Recently players (most notable of Leicester) have been caught chewing snus (a tobacco product illegal to buy in the UK). This gives a small high and an energy boost, and can cause serious gum and mouth damage  and potential mouth cancer. Snus is a bigger issue amongst footballers than balloons.

The incident happened in August. The bar owner has sat on footage since then, before selling it to the papers. I wonder how selling this sort of thing to the papers infringes GDRP these days? Especially as the consumption of nitrous oxide is not a criminal act.

What the bar owner has done is shot himself in the foot.

No footballer or other celebrity will ever hire or visit his establishment again knowing that what they do inside is not private. That the owner or member of staff is willing to sell CCTV images to the papers for a few thousand.

If it is the owner who sold the CCTV, the hope is Tape London loses enough business from this privacy infringement that it soon has to shut down. It it was a member of staff, they should be prosecuted by Tape London to the full extent of the law.

I think what is for certain is that stories like these will not get the national condemnation and criticism that the papers expected. Most fans will side with my opinion. That the players did little wrong and the bar should be ashamed of themselves.

Even Absolute radio are laughing this morning about the “danger binge on nitrous oxide”.

A final thought on this.

In Paul Merson’s fabulous book How Not to Be a Professional Footballer, he talks a lot about the boozy days of the late 80s & early 90s, and how he is glad smart phones were not about then. He talks about doing cocaine in a black cab, and being carried out of bars, pubs and clubs battered. People were decent back then and would not sell a story to a paper. These days, scumbags like the owners of Tape London are willing to sell anyone out for a bit of money.

In other news, I have seen some say that Lucas Torreira needs a rest.

He has only started 10 league games. Played 1200 minutes in all competitions. He has not been over played. Also he is on 4 yellow cards; so he will get a natural break sooner rather than later.

I am sure the clubs fitness staff will have the data and be able to spot when his performances dip physically. When his muscles are on the verge of breaking down.

With the busy Christmas period coming up, every player will be rotated in and out. Torreira’s will come naturally when he picks up the 5th yellow card of the season.

There is no point resting him for a game, for him to then get booked on his returne causing him to miss another game.

Enjoy the wet Friday. We return tomorrow against Huddersfield.




Arsenal need Man City balance

Manchester City have assembled a truly incredible array of talent.

At one point during their game against Brighton in Saturday their was a goal mouth scramble.

Leroy Sane put the ball in, Sergio Aguero had a chance, Raheem Sterling followed it up before Bernardo Silva’s shot was cleared to the edge of the box, where David Silva was waiting to recycle the ball.

What this passage of play showed was how much attacking talent City have. And Kevin de Bruyne, Gabriel Jesus and Riyad Mahrez were not involved. That is £147m of talent there.

To take that into perspective, City not playing those 3 is the financial equivalent of Arsenal not starting Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette and Mesut Ozil.

Danny Welbeck, Alex Iwobi and Emile Smith Rowe don’t quite have the same ring to them as Aguero, Silva and Sane do they?

But this isn’t a blog about the difference in the financial strength of the sides. We know that already.

What was eye-opening was that City were able to have all 5 on the pitch in one go, and look incredibly balanced.

Meanwhile Unai Emery is trying to fit Aubameyang, Lacazette, Ozil and Aaron Ramsey into the same team and it looks anything but balanced.

City do have the advantage that there players have been together for a while now.

Aguero and David Silva joined in 2011 & 2010 respectively. Raheem Sterling is in his 4th year at the club, Sane his 3rd season. Bernardo Silva the new boy having joined in the ah summer of 2017.

They are also entering their 3rd season under Pep Guardiola.

It would be completely unreasonable to expect Arsenal to look as gelled and balanced as City with Unai Emery having only been at the club for 4 months. Players are still getting used to the system, how they are expect to play.

But to be competitive again, Arsenal need to look at City, aspire to be them.

The Manchester club ran away with the title last year, and are top of the league this year. Whilst we should not currently expect to compete with them, there is plenty we can learn.

Perhaps the most important thing Guardiola does to ensure balance is have round pegs in round holes.

Aguero is a striker. Sane a left winger. Sterling a right winger. Silva and Silva number 10s. He has players playing in their natural positions. This gets the best out of them and gives the side natural balance.

Compare this to Arsenal against Watford.

We have Aubameyang, a striker, playing left wing, then we have Mesut Ozil, a number 10, playing right wing.

It is square pegs in round holes, and no surprise we look unbalanced.

If we Emery is going to continue with 4231, we need to ensure that we are playing the right players in the right positions. Ultimately this will mean that we have to spend more on the right players.

The Spaniard has to stop trying to show horn Ozil and Ramsey into the same team.

City do it with the two Silva’s (with de Bruyne coming in when fit), playing just Fernandinho behind them. But they can afford to do this when they have 70-80% possession, like they did against Brighton.

Playing Ozil and Ramsey central, behind a striker is not an option at the moment. Emery knows this, hence playing one out wide. Unfortunately this means we do not get enough out of Ozil.

In the Premie League, Ozil averages a goal or assist every 157 minutes. He is one of the best creative players in the league, no matter what the fat lad down the pub says.

Emery clearly recognised that long term, his side can not have both Ozil and Ramsey in it. It is the primary reason why the contract for Ramsey has been taken off the table.

If he was willing to sign to £120k, as a squad play – understudy for Ozil who does miss a few famed – I am sure everyone would be happy.

But a 4 year deal on a reported £200k a week would not make sense. He would easily be our second highest player, but not a regular first teamer.

If £200,000 a week was on the table, this means Arsenal have £52m over 4 years in their budget to play with. If we do sell Ramsey for £20m in January, this increases io £72m.

This works out at £18m a season of salary and amortised transfer fees.

In basic terms, we could go out and buy a £46m winger. We could pay him £125k a year, and our yearly expenditure would stay the same as it would if Ramsey signed his new deal.

£47m and £125k a week. That is. It too far off the Lacazette figures.

If, like me, you back Sven Mislintat, and see what he has already done with the likes of Sokratis, Lucas Torreira and Matteo Guendouzi (combined cost £47m), you will be getting very excited.

A new winger will just give us more balance than the current set up. £47m gets you a Sterling or Sane. A young player already performing at a high level at a lower club, but has the talent to become one of the worlds best.

This solution, however, is at least 4 months away (January) and more realistically 9 months away (June). In the short term, we have to get the balance from within.

That means dropping Ramsey, moving Ozil into the middle, and playing with Henrikh Mkhitaryan or Alex Iwobi wide right. Both of these players we still wider a lot more than what Ozil currently does. They will also give Hector Bellerin a bit more protection.

The left side is a bit more complicated, as Arsenal do not currently have a natural left winger.

At the moment it is a straight choice, Aubameyang or Danny Welbeck. The Gabonese striker is clearly the superior player and is ahead in the pecking order.

He is a square peg in a round hole, but we do not currently have any round pegs. This does not leave Emery with many options but to play Aubameyang out wide. It is not suitable and adds to our imbalance as he looks to come inside.

At the moment we are wasting both the talent of Aubameyang and Ozil playing them as wingers.

With Iwobi and Mkhitaryan capable of doing a job wide right, the Ramsey money and the focus of Mislintat should be on securing a threat on the left.

Much of the list of options remains the same as the summer. The likes of Leon Bailey, Ousmane Dembélé, Christian Pulisic and Anthony Martial.

It is Martial that interests me the most.

At 22-years old, it is easy to forget how young he is. A year younger than Raheem Sterling, a month older than Leroy Sane. He is as good as both of the Manchester city players; and I think that we could secure him for that £40million mark. And as early as January if we push.

I think it is unrealistic to expect us to compete with City any time soon.

Look at Liverpool. This is Klopp’s 4th year with the Merseyside club. Whilst they have started the season off well, I expect City to pull away and win the league by double figures.

City have a settled side and a great manager. And when you see them linked with Kylian Mbappe, it highlights their financial clout. They spent £67m on Mahrez in the summer as a squad player.

Whilst I do not expect to compete with them, for this season at least, we should cast an eye over at what they are doing and how they get their team set up so balanced.


Bromance of Arsenal strikers

When he joined in January, there was plenty of talk that Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang  was a disruptive influence.

There was talk that his arrival would cause friction with between the Gabonese striker and the man bought in the summer, Alexandre Lacazette. That two players competing for one position, and one with the ego of Aubameyang, would result in the French striker being unhappy and leaving.

Calling Aubameyang a disruptive influence with an ego was basically lazy journalism.

They saw a young black man with spiky hair and tattoos who liked sports cars and jackets and assumed he had a massive ego, without really knowing the player. It was labelling, the same we see with Raheem Sterling.

Every multi millionaire footballer has a top of the range car, usually more than one, but it seems only certain players are criticised for it. Usually young black players.

They also claimed he was a disruptive influence. But there had no evidence of it. Just hearsay. Even though those that knew him, or were close to the Dortmund set up debunked the rumours. They said he had a couple of issues over the years arriving late for training after visiting Milan or Paris, but that was all.

He was a team mate. A jolly character who bought people together.

The press ignored the facts and wrote their stories for hits, clicks and advertising revenue.

Instead of competing against each other, seeing each other as rivals creating friction, Aubameyang and Lacazette have actually struck up a bromance, and it should not be a surprise to anyone.

Aubameyang and Lacazette were born just two years apart, they are both in their late 20s adjusting to life in a new country.

Lacazette was born in Lyon, France, spending his entire life in the French city prior to moving to Arsenal. Aubameyang meanwhile is much more travelled in his career.

Aubameyang’s career has taken him from Italy, to France, then Germany and now England. What is often forgotten about is that whilst he plays for Gabon he was actually born in Laval, France.

He lived in France for 17 years before moving to Italy to join AC Milan’s youth set up. They then loaned him back to French clubs before selling him to Saint-Étienne in 2011.

He is the son of former Gabonese captain Pierre Aubameyang, but is as much French as he is Gabonese.

Like Aubameyang, Lacazette is also from a French immigrant family. His family originate from Guadeloupe.

Lacazette is the youngest of 4 brothers, Aubameyang the youngest of 3.

So here you have two men of similar age, both bought up in France to immigrant families, both the youngest children, both living in London for the first time. Is it really a surprise that they are drawn to each other, seeing themselves as friends rather than rivals?

They clearly socialise together, and their off the pitch connection came through during the game against Cardiff on Sunday where they linked up well.

Playing the pair up front together, at the sacrifice of either Mesut Ozil or Henrikh Mkhitaryan is an exciting option.