Brian Glanville

World Soccer - - Contents - Brian GLANVILLE

do Arse­nal need Ozil?

Do Arse­nal need Me­sut Ozil? At a stag­ger­ing £350,000 a week, he seems surplus to re­quire­ments at the mo­ment. His man­ager, Unai Emery, has al­ready said he does not want to use him in away matches. Lately he has not been de­ployed when fit in home matches.

He is an ex­pen­sive lux­ury, in­deed, who is known to have been in­censed when sub­sti­tuted.

And now he has been ex­posed, most em­bar­rass­ingly, as sprawl­ing about hav­ing, like sev­eral other first­team play­ers, in­haled so-called “hippy crack” from a bal­loon with in­stant phys­i­cal re­sults. Such in­dul­gence is not in fact il­le­gal, but it hardly caters to the needs of a pro­fes­sional foot­baller and can re­port­edly have long-term con­se­quences.

Yet watch­ing the Gun­ners make te­dious work of ultimately beat­ing a highly de­fen­sive Hud­der­s­field Town at the Emi­rates, one won­ders whether Ozil’s un­ques­tion­able skills, his abil­ity in the old Ital­ian say­ing to “in­vent” the game, may not be es­sen­tial to Arse­nal.

Lu­cas Tor­reira’s spec­tac­u­lar late scis­sors kick gave them a be­lated and un­easy vic­tory over Hud­der­s­field, though he was left ex­pen­sively un­marked by a pre­vi­ously res­o­lute de­fence. But the lit­tle Uruguayan, how­ever en­er­getic and in­ci­sive, is not es­sen­tially a play­maker.

You do won­der what pos­sessed Arse­nal to give Ozil a con­tract which could hardly be matched were it de­cided to sell him. Com­pare and con­trast with the £25mil­lion it cost to get Tor­reira from Sam­p­do­ria.

See­ing Arse­nal play Hud­der­s­field, even though Town aban­doned their tra­di­tional blue-and-white stripes for a quite un­nec­es­sary yel­low, one thought of Her­bert Chap­man.

Ar­guably one of the great­est of all club man­agers, he tri­umphed in turn with both Hud­der­s­field and Arse­nal. Be­fore those two ma­jes­tic spells, he man­aged a Leeds City club doomed to ex­tinc­tion, thrown out of the League for fi­nan­cial ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties.

He him­self was sus­pended from foot­ball and obliged to work in a fac­tory but was then amnestied and took over at Hud­der­s­field. A man­ager with an as­ton­ish­ing flair for in­spir­ing and trans­form­ing his play­ers, he won two con­sec­u­tive cham­pi­onships with Town be­fore leav­ing them for Arse­nal, in 1925, where­upon he then took a third ti­tle.

But Chap­man, though a York­shire­man, had al­ways wanted to work in Lon­don where be­fore the Great War he had briefly been a player on the books of Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur.

Un­happy...Me­sut Ozil is sub­sti­tuted

Tri­umphant... Her­bert Chap­man

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