By Avenell Dave
I've been thinking a lot about Arsenal over the past few days. Even more than normal.
It was fascinating to read comments about the AST event on Monday where Herbert Chapman, the man who turned us into a superpower, was happy to spend big on players to make us competitive.
I watched a bit of Real Madrid last night (well the first 10 minutes after which the game was pretty much over) and it got me thinking about stellar signings.
Now I know that in the cases of Manchester United and Tottenham, neither club would have sold to us, let alone would we have spent the money or the players wanted to join.
But When you pay £80+m for Ronaldo or Gareth Bale, you know you're getting players who can turn a match on its head in an instant.
That's the sort of player we seem to be lacking at present.
In the past we had Thierry Henry and Robert Pires who could make an opportunity or score out of nothing.
We were all delighted when Mesut Ozil signed for Arsenal in the summer, however fortuitous and opportunist the signing was at the end of August.
His arrival gave us belief, belief that has ebbed away as injuries have taken their toll and new faces have not arrived.
Saturday's drubbing at Anfield was a new low given the strength of the side representing us and the way they disintegrated from the first minute and how disconsolate Ozil seemed with his game.
He was singled out by many for not only his disappointing performance but the way his head was down.
I remember when we played Lazio (who were strong at the time) away and Pires scored after running down the left channel almost on his own.
I recall Dennis Bergkamp breaking the deadlock against Southampton and numerous others.
Ozil's stats aren't bad. He has scored a few times and created chances. But perhaps the nonchalant way he performs and the lack of dynamism has made some doubt whether he should be take out of the firing line ahead of the Manchester United game this evening.
Is he just knackered after playing without a winter break? Or is he just struggling with the pace and fury of English football?
While the lackadaisical aura he exhibited at Anfield is certainly unacceptable, everyone goes through peaks and troughs and sometimes the only way to improve is to play.
One great pass, one perfect strike and a player can go from head-down to in the zone and firing on all cylinders. Sport is like that.
If Ozil is to play an important role for us, imagine how his confidence will be knocked by missing out against the champions at home, particularly when they are struggling for form.
And as others have pointed out, what sort of a boost would it give United if we aren't fielding our record signing?
I have no doubt that Ozil will start tonight and hopefully Tomas Rosicky will be given another run out in a game where he can cut through the sluggish United midfield.
I don;t see too many other changes, with Nacho Monreal still more of a solid defender than Kieran Gibbs.
United are there for the taking, but how many times have we said that and ended up losing?
We know Wayne Rooney and RvP are capable of scoring against us and we have to get back to the form we showed for long patches of the season.
Saturday's demise has to be the equivalent of our loss to Tottenham last season: a turning point from which we went unbeaten until the end of the season.
Every Premier League is a cup final now. We're capable of winning every single one and it has to start tonight.
Sagna Mertesacker Koscielny Monreal
Wilshere Arteta Rosicky
Ozil Giroud Cazorla