You can’t read too much into preseason friendly results. However, you can’t brush off the purpose of them. To build fitness, to test new systems, to hone your style. It’s a preparation test bed. So when you watch Arsenal disappoint in the same way they did the whole season before, it’s hard not to worry that there’s a significance to what you’re seeing.
Cheslea playing their first preseason friendly looked stronger, fitter and far more interested than Arsenal. They pretty much dominated proceedings from start to finish. They dealt with us in the same clinical fashion that saw them dominate the league with such ease last season.
Arsenal looked weak. We looked tired. Worst of all, we looked distinctly uninterested in the game. The players were mailing it in. Now, you could cite the stomach bug of midweek being a problem. You could cite the issues we’re having getting our best players back into the squad. Or you could just look at the reality of the situation > we haven’t really moved the needle this summer.
We were very shaky at the back, letting Chelsea blitz us through the middle with ease. We were slow at transitioning in attack, hardly causing Chelsea a problem all game. Alarmingly, Lacazette looked distinctively average, struggling to free up any space in the first half at all. We had to resort to bringing on Giroud to shake things up. My big fear with our new Frenchman is he’s not as fast as Ligue 1 would have you believe, couple that with his lack of physical presence… and, well, you’ve got the case for a converting a £56m striker to a winger.
My big fear at the back of last season was the success of our ‘new’ formation was in fact, a bit of a red herring. We mostly played a collection of teams who had nothing to play for and we beat them. We had a superb cup final, but it’s always hard to read too much into a one off on such a grand stage. Do we really think stealing a formation is going to make us world beaters?
Today, our setup looked unorganised and lacking in purpose. The players really didn’t understand what they were doing in the same way Chelsea players did. That’s to be expected, because Conte is a different type of coach (a good one), but if we take a tanking in the Community Shield, it’ll set a poor tone for the start of the season.
Wenger hasn’t invested properly this summer. Chelsea is bulking up in areas they were already strong in. We’re sprinkling in a back up left back – who really is struggling – with an expensive striker who at best, will take a number of months to get up to speed.
There really has been very little change. It’s just same old Wenger, over and over again.
We’ll see though. It is preseason. There is still time to make additions to the squad. There’s still time to address system problems. We can still purchase players.
I just don’t see it happening.
Over to you…