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Anorak | Arsenal’s Ozil and Stoke City’s Shaqiri give pundits a reason to be

Arsenal’s Ozil and Stoke City’s Shaqiri give pundits a reason to be

by | 8th, May 2018

Can it be that pundits lambaste top players like Arsenal’s Mesut Oil and Stoke City’s Xherdan Shaqiri because they know it will garner more headlines and promote their opinion far and wide? Take Martin Keown, the former Arsenal player now guffing to-deadline opinions for the Daily Mail, BBC and BT Sport, who said of Ozil after Arsenal were knocked out of the Europa League:

“He was on the edge of things today. He seems to get lost in the defensive traffic, you can hide a little bit in that position. When Wenger made the change and Wilshere came off, at times I was watching and thinking ‘well are you going to get back for your team, are you actually going to put a shift in?’.”

Ozil was far from brilliant. But Keown is wearing blinkers. Ozil won four out of four tackles. He made an impressive 31 successful passes in the final third, as Atletico packed their defence and pressed. Keown, of course, is impervious to fact, and realises that his job is to say something definitive, entertaining and controversial, so he ploughs on:

“He wasn’t fit to wear the shirt tonight. And I’ve seen this a lot this season and it needs to be said because he needs to be dug out because we expect more from him.”

According to Keown, Arsenal players who are fit to wear the shirt are: Ospina |(who is well below par for a top side’s ‘keeper), Bellerin (does anyone teach him how to defend?), Xhaka (failed to put in so much as cursory tackle in the build up to the game’s only goal),  Monreal (squandered good opportunities to put in a good cross), Chambers (weak header in build up to Atletico’s goal) and Ramsay (largely ineffectual; failed to convert a good chance).

And so to Xherdan Shaqiri, of Stoke City, now relegated from the Premier League. Here’s Martin Samuel in the Mail:

George Graham had a maxim on which he built his Arsenal team. ‘Never buy a player who is taking a step down to join you,’ he would say. ‘He’ll think he’s doing you a favour…

Yet watching Shaqiri bung vital corners into the first man, or lose his balance in the box as Stoke chased the game against Crystal Palace, it was hard to reconcile how much higher he thinks he should be playing. He looked every inch a Stoke player, every inch a relegation candidate

This is what the Stoke Sentinel says of Shaquiri, who he paper tips to be the fans’ player of the season:

Stoke’s seven-goal top scorer has enjoyed his best personal season in the Premier League in difficult circumstances. The Swiss star has carried the side’s attacking threat for much of the campaign and when he finds the net it’s usually a contender for goal of the month.

442 magazine says Shaquiri is too good to go down. He is identified as Stoke City’s best player: “The winger is the only worrisome thing about a once-frightening Potters side, and he knows it.”

Why do pundits pick on the best players with the highest profiles and largest number of followers on social media ? Why..?



Posted: 8th, May 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports Comment | TrackBack | Permalink