Ancelotti Explains Why He Offloaded Ozil to Arsenal
Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti has lifted the lid on why he sold Mesut Ozil instead of Angel di Maria in the summer transfer window.
The world record arrival of Gareth Bale at Santiago Bernabeu meant that one of the two aforementioned stars had to be moved on. Since Bale is a winger, it was expected that di Maria would be the one to go, but Los Blancos surprised everyone by offloading Ozil to Arsenal in a £42.5million deal. Ancelotti has now explained the logic behind his or the club’s decision to do so.
He said: “I decided the departure of Ozil. I prefer Di Maria for the balance of the team. It’s true, that maybe Di Maria has less quality than Ozil but on a profile of dynamism, character and help to the team I preferred Di Maria. With the arrival of Bale it was better to have Di Maria than Ozil.”
When reminded that the decision to sell the popular German upset several of his Real Madrid teammates, Ancelotti added: “The players have to be professional. The player is not asked about these things, if a player is leaving or not. If you have a friendship with a player you may be a bit sad that a player is leaving, but nothing more.”
Mertesacker Calls for Focus ahead of Big Tests
Per Mertesacker believes Arsenal’s performances in the upcoming series of big matches will play a huge part in determining what kind of success the club can achieve this season.
The Gunners’ next few games see them take on the likes of Chelsea, Liverpool, Borussia Dortmund and Manchester United. They again looked impressive in Saturday’s 2-0 win over Crytal Palace, but Mertesacker says it’s time to focus on the much bigger tests that are now just around the corner.
“Palace was a good test for us and a good win ahead of the hard games to come in the next weeks,” the German centre-half said. “We wanted to come back quickly as possible as a strong unit. What we showed was good enough to respond here (against Palace), but there will be more tests to come and that will be crucial for the rest of the season.
“That we have started well showed for sure we have improved a lot over the last two years. We are in a better position. It feels much better now. We don’t have to get anything back (on the other sides), so that gives us more safety and we feel much better. We want to surprise people more and more. That is what we need to do. We are in a strong and interesting position, so we are aware of it and will try to keep it – but that is the difficult thing, to keep it.”
Lewandowski Available for £7m – Report
Borussia Dortmund so badly don’t want to let their star striker Robert Lewandowski join local rivals Bayern Munich that they are ready to offer him to Premier League clubs like Arsenal, Chelsea and the Manchester duo at a hugely discounted price of just £7million. (The Express)
The Poland international will be out of contract at Die Borussen next summer, after which he will be free to secure his dream move to Munich. But his current employers don’t want the Bavarians to become even more powerful than they are right now, which is why they are prepared to flog him to some other league.
If the PL big boys want to get their hands on him, they must hurry up and make a move for him, as rumour has it that Real Madrid are also monitoring the player’s situation in Germany.
Mourinho Unhappy Over Arsenal’s Fixture Scheduling
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho feels Arsenal FC have been given unfair advantage in the two clubs’ League Cup encounter this Tuesday night.
The Blues were in action against Manchester City on Sunday while the Gunners’ weekend excursion came a day earlier, which gives them extra 24 hours to recover for the upcoming London Derby. Hence, Mourinho is unhappy with the scheduling and says he would not be able to field his full-strength side against Arsenal.
The outspoken Portuguese said: “We are going to give the game that the people that put the game on Tuesday want. If they want a big game, we cannot give the big game. If they want the players that were playing today (Sunday), we cannot give them that. If they want Arsenal to win a trophy, that’s a help. If they want a big game between two big teams in London, they should put the game on Wednesday and not on Tuesday, because I am not going to do that.”
The former Real Madrid boss assured that he won’t field a side totally made up of youth and fringe players a la Arsene Wenger, but made it clear that he will not overburden his star performers either.
“It’s not the plan because we have to respect also our fans,” he added. “We discussed that in the club. We have to protect our players. We cannot put our players in two matches in the space of three days. Arsenal played Saturday at 12:30, so two and a half days to rest and to prepare. So I hope they all enjoy.”
Hansen Dismisses Arsenal’s Title Chances
Liverpool legend Alan Hansen has claimed that despite their brilliant recovery from the poor start to the new season, Arsenal FC would slip down and finish fourth in the league come May.
The Gunners currently lead the Barclays Premier League points table with 22 points after the first nine games. They are clearly the most in-form team in the country at the moment, but Hansen believes things will soon turn ugly for the North Londoners due to number of big games coming in succession and their ineffectiveness in off-the-ball situations.
In his column for the Telegraph, the 58-year-old wrote: “Despite their hugely impressive reaction since losing to Aston Villa on the opening day of the season, which has enabled them to move clear at the top of the table, I still believe that Arsenal will end the campaign in fourth place.
“Last season’s top three – Manchester United, City and Chelsea – will be there again, but not necessarily in that order, leaving Arsenal to claim fourth. They clearly have an embarrassment of riches in the middle of the pitch and genuinely multi-talented players in Mesut Özil and Aaron Ramsey, but their critical flaw is that they are just not good enough when they do not have the ball.
“And with Arsenal now entering a run of fixtures in which they face Liverpool and United in the league, followed by games against City and Chelsea in December, the weaknesses that opponents have not exploited so far will come under much greater scrutiny.”