Why Sokratis and Saliba Should Be In Europa Squad by Dan Smith
So despite gooners complaining about a lack of creativity Ozil can’t even get into the Europa League squad. That’s an odd decision, but at least I can see how and why Arteta made that decision.
Wherever it’s morally correct? We had that debate but at least I got a bit of clarity.
What I don’t understand is how, when we have so many, maybe too many, centrebacks at the club, how have we left ourselves short for this Thursday?
I’m not being arrogant; the draw has been so kind to us it would take some of the worse results in our history to not qualify.
While it’s hardly a set of fixtures to catch gooners imagination, the selling point could be fringe players having 6 games to prove themselves.
Our manager should be able to name an entirely different 11 to the one who lost at the Etihad, or to be more precise if you are starting against Leicester, you shouldn’t be starting in Austria. Yet that might have to happen due to the squad we have submitted to UEFA.
Okay, our coach wasn’t to know Rob Holding would get injured (although his fitness record’s not great), but he knew Chambers and Mustafi are not available. As I write this, there’s an outside chance Mari might be fit but remember he hasn’t played since June. It means a David Luiz, Gabriel or both might have to play in Vienna.
Which seems backwards when Sokratis and Saliba are being paid thousands to just sit at home. Imagine if Luiz or Gabriel picked up a knock in midweek. Then we would be forced to start Saliba or Sokratis in the League, so isn’t it better to give them game time against lesser opposition?
So not just am I saying I would have included them in the squad, I would be starting them on Thursday and resting others for Leicester.
I’m not calling Arteta a yes man, but I think he’s smart enough to pick his battles and recognise what hills are not worth dying on.
I always maintained why we failed to attract a big name since Mr Wenger left is that managers of a certain status won’t tolerate lack of ambition. A Mourinho, for example, would pick a squad which gives him the best chance of winning.
Arteta has made certain choices that are not purely footballing decisions. When deciding if Sokratis should be selected, trying to force him out of the club was more important then what made sense for Arsenal. Like Ozil, they were trying to make an individual feel so unwanted he would take a move. That’s Arsenal prioritising money over what’s best for the team.
We know on the back end of last season the Spaniard doesn’t rate Sokratis, yet the Greek was professional enough to be trusted to be on the bench just in case. You can’t tell me that an international footballer could not do a job for us against Dundalk or Molde?
We paid over 30 million for Saliba, but we don’t think he can handle the level of the best teams in Ireland or Norway? It’s not like the kid hasn’t played top level football.
It’s only the positive energy Arteta got from winning the Cup that more hasn’t been made of the Saliba saga. Remember this signing was made when Arteta was Pep’s assistant. So either Arteta took one look at the teenager and thinks the recruitment team have made a mistake, or we accept personal things have gone on and he simply needs time. It’s just worrying he wouldn’t even get a chance against Dundalk.
I’m well aware that at the time of the squad being submitted, the hope was maybe Saliba would be loaned out and Sokratis would be elsewhere but that’s poor organisation.
Remember, 5 keepers were submitted. So when Arteta says rules meant he had to leave people out, he simply could have just selected three keepers, giving him options for two outfield players. Of the 5 he selected, two are now on loan so it makes little sense.
Don’t get me wrong, it will have zero bearings on us advancing to the knockout stages. I just feel a manager’s job is to get the best out of his resources.
We don’t need a world class defender for these 6 games, just a body to do a job while others get a rest. Sokratis would have done that job, while Saliba would have gotten some minutes to help his development.
I know some gooners like the ruthlessness of freezing out talent considered not good enough. Yet remember Sokratis is still being paid on Thursday night.
He’s earning a 100,000 pound a week to sit in his warm house by the fire, while the likes of Gabriel and Luiz have to start due to injuries.
If I was Luiz, I would be asking why am I playing three days before Leicester when you have two defenders sat at home twiddling their thumbs?
Surely if you’re paying him anyway, use him even if it’s to rest your first-choice defenders for Sunday?
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