FRIDAY’S BIG HEADLINES
Social media with Mesut Ozil
If there was ever anything that could perfectly encapsulate the general absurdity of modern life, football and a few things in between, this was it. Last night, Mesut Ozil became the highest paid social media manager in the world as he live tweeted Arsenal’s win over Rapid Wien in the Europa League, a match and competition he is unable to play in after failing even to make Arsenal’s squad.
It was undoubtedly funny to see one of the greatest creative talents of the past 15 years reduced to issuing Twitter polls to see which of his colleagues were the man of the match, but also disorientating, and somewhat grotesque. What better sums up the largesse and waste of football in 2020 than a man paid £350,000 per week to sit on Tweetdeck all evening instead of contributing on the pitch?
Having issued a serious statement on Twitter on Wednesday making clear his displeasure at being exiled from Arsenal’s first-team squads for both Europe and the Premier League, finding that “loyalty is hard to come by nowadays”, Ozil teed off yesterday with a masterclass in passive-aggressive tweeting.
A simple and generous birthday message for a man who shared his love of creative, artistic football, or a devastating subtweet of his current manager? You decide.
What was certainly clear was that the tweeting was not done there. If he can’t play football, then Ozil is apparently lining up his next career as a social influencer, or perhaps a big-money move to Italy to become the new @ASRomaEN admin.
Because across the course of the evening we got immaculate use of Twitter handles and hashtags:
Some irreverent humour:
Endearing messages of support for players who made mistakes:
Excellent use of GIFS:
And to round off the evening, a man of the match poll:
A consummate display all round. Great shift Mesut. Now here’s £50,000 for the day’s work.
The word you have to reach for here is surreal. After also pledging on Twitter to pay Gunnersaurus’s wages and keep the man inside the Arsenal mascot from redundancy, Ozil appears to be conducting a war of weaponised charm against those in the Arsenal hierarchy who have decided that one of the most generously gifted playmakers to ever play for the club has nothing to offer the first team over the course of the season. That Joe Willock or Mohamed Elneny are bigger assets than a one-time club record signing.
Of course Ozil is not without fault in this scenario. He clearly hasn’t responded properly to the sporting demands Mikel Arteta has placed on every member of his squad, and let’s not forget that Unai Emery also found this a frustrating exercise. Neither manager has been convinced by a player Wenger indulged.
But if either of the two main theories are correct: that Arsenal are either keeping him out of the team due to pressure from China over his support of the Uighur, or that the powers that be are unhappy with his stance over the pay cut for players which he refused, months before Arsenal made 55 staff redundant in any case, then this is more than just absurd. It is grossly unfair.
Either way, you can’t escape the conclusion that this is above all a massive failure in management across the club. Giving him a giant contract in the first place. Not finding a way to utilise a player with extraordinary gifts. Allowing it to reach a situation where he’s spending his night tweeting like an Arsenal blogger about a match he should really be running.
Oh, and Thomas Partey had a stonking debut and goals from David Luiz and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang overturned a 1-0 deficit as Arsenal won 2-1.
Spurs’ new signing stars… no, not that one
Heung-Min Son of Tottenham Hotspur celebrates after scoring his sides third goal Carlos Vinicius
Image credit: Getty Images
All eyes were on Gareth Bale as he made his first start since returning to Spurs in the Europa League against LASK – but by the end of the night all tongues were wagging instead about another summer signing, Carlos Vinicius.
The Brazilian striker enjoyed a fantastic night as he contributed assists for Lucas Moura and Son Heung-min in a 3-0 win, the second of which was a perfectly judged header to inspire a nice bit of commentary on BT: “Vinicius, that’s delicious.”
The Warm-Up must concede at this point it had never heard of Vinicius until October 2, but he does look pretty handy and Jose Mourinho, who was so angry after they conceded three goals in the second half to draw 3-3 with West Ham last weekend, had some nice things to say about him too.
"He played well but can do better," said the Portuguese boss. "Considering the circumstances and that it was his first match, I'm really happy. The only thing that was missing was one goal, but he's much more than that.
"He's not selfish and is a good target man. He can play with Kane when his good period arrives and won't just be the guy to cover him. I am very happy."
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IN THE CHANNELS
Did Kemar Roofe score the greatest goal ever seen for Rangers last night?
Genuinely, it’s up there.
It’s the first Clasico of the season on Saturday – and, quite possibly, the penultimate one of Lionel Messi’s career. So let’s take a stroll back to 2007, where a 19-year-old Messi pilfered a fantastic hat-trick in the biggest match in world football.
This was it. Watching this live, this is when you knew for sure this kid was going supersonic and nothing would ever be the same again.
It’s the Forest v Derby… er… derby in The Championship tonight but we are also blessed with some regular Barclays as Aston Villa take on Leeds in the 8pm kick-off. Follow live comments of that with us from just after 7pm.
Andi Thomas has been trying to get Mesut Ozil to take his Warm-Up on Monday. See who turns up after the weekend.