08 October 2014

Özil out for three months? I blame Mourinho.

I'm sure you've heard by now that Mesut Özil has been ruled out of action by the German Football Federation, meaning we at Arsenal won't see him in action again until January at the earliest. Ten to twelve weeks, they say. He'll miss quite a few Prem matches, the rest of the Champions League group stage, and perhaps the FA Cup third round as well. His injury may not be quite enough to knock us out of the latter two competitions, but there's just enough in it to suggest that maybe, just maybe, there's something more sinister at stake, something...diabolical. Of course, one need not look too far for the source of such conspiracies. When it comes to sabotaging Arsenal's hopes, there is one name that comes to mind. The Portuguese Prince of Darkness. The Specious One. The Machiavellian Mourinho.

Yes, it is true. Where once we could moan on and on about Mourinho's cynical tactics, his gluttonous pursuit of the bestest, shiniest players regardless of his squad's needs, his willingness to grind to dust the careers of those who displeased him, we now have fresh grist for the mill. No longer content to ride rough-shod over Arsenal by dint of his own squad's superiority (the best that Russian oiligarchies can buy!), he has seemingly now found a way to corrode our own squad from within. No longer content to summon daemons such as Drogba or Eto'o, he has now apparently found a way to cast spells upon our very own.

A year ago, we lamented a missed chance at loaning in Demba Ba; we consoled ourselves with the idea that Mourinho feared us too much after the signing of Özil to strengthen us any further by providing the Master of the Assist with a target worthy of his wares. Instead, Ba joined Beşiktaş and very nearly became the bane of our existence with his cheeky kick-off shot on goal in the Champions League play-off. Clearly not content with these machinations, Mourinho decided to meddle with Mesut, cursing him with a pre-match embrace that, on the surface, seemed to exude nothing but paternal love. In retrospect, however, it seems that the embrace was Mourinho's method, the madness behind Özil's rather wan performance against Chelsea.

Of course, Mourinho's rapacity knows no satiety. And that brings us to the current, sorry state of affairs we find ourselves in. No Özil? What are we to do? We have little choice but to go return from this already-accursed interlull with a frontline of Alexis, Welbeck, and Walcott, with Wilshere behind them.

Hold the phone.

Mourinho's plan ostensibly consists of knocking Özil out of action for a few months? This is supposed to slow us down? So be it. Yes, we have trips to Anfield and the Etihad, and visits from Dortmund and Man U to contend with. Each time a Gunner has succumbed to injury, be it Mourinho-inflicted or otherwise, some other Gunner has stepped up. Lay to rest your concerns about Özil, at least for now. Even before the injury and the interlull, he needed a break. That the break will last longer than we'd prefer is another issue for another day. Walcott's back. Ramsey will return soon enough.

In other words, Mourinho may have sidelined one threat (if I do indeed understand his black magic), but in so doing he may have unleashed any number of other threats. It may be too late to do anything about the trip to Stamford Bridge, but most of us had thrown in the towel even before Özil's injury. We may have suffered a litany of injuries even before Özil went down, but reinforcements are on the horizon. We'll return from the interlull with a series of winnable matches, with might be enough to generate a bit of momentum in the Prem and Champions League before the return of Ramsey, Özil, Debuchy, and Giroud.

It's always darkest before the dawn, as the saying goes, and it doesn't get much darker than this. The flip-side to that is that the dawn will shine all the brighter.

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Long story short, don't dismay. I suspect that there's enough spirit in the squad to soldier on, and reinforcements are on the way. We may be backed into a corner, but I prefer that over having a silver spoon in our mouths.

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