Good morning friends of the Grove! I trust you are well, how could you not be? Today is the day it all kicks off again! Today our lives become normalised.
FOOTBALL IS BACK!
So let’s get down to business, we’ll have an informed chat about what’s going on at the club and what you can expect today.
First up. Alex Song is off to Barcelona. That signing will be rubber stamped over this weekend and he’ll be playing for Barcelona from next week, or whenever their next game is. Can you believe it? Honestly… can you f*cking believe it! Alex Song, a player who divides Arsenal fans right down the middle, has just landed a move to Barcelona. Incredible. He’s lucked out more than Adebayor. He wasn’t good enough to get a chance with us in the first place, but Wenger persisted. After much effort, he became an ok player… then he made a stand and he’s been granted a move!
That’s gratitude for you.
He’s left because it was the best move for the club (how long have I been bleating on about this being best for everyone?). He’s left because the money they’ve offered us is the best we’ll ever get for him. I’d be absolutely shocked if he turns out to be anything other than a flop for them. He doesn’t have the discipline, pace or ability to be a star man for them. I might be totally wrong though. It’s a judgement call, but I thought similar things about Alex Hleb. Some people are a cogs in the Arsenal machine (Flamini, Hleb, Adebayor), others are the engine (Thierry, Cesc, Robin). Song was a cog for me. Sure he made plenty of assists last season, but he also made plenty of dopey tackles in dangerous areas and lost the ball through dithering and making too many unnecessary Hollywood passes. He was also responsible for lots of the issues we had. There was never any accountability from him anywhere on the park. There was also little accountability after a game. Some players care about having a bad game… some don’t. I know which bucket Song was in.
What are we doing around new players? Well, we’re looking. Arsene has already stated he’s in for Nuri Sahin and he’s not lying. We might also be in for a full back as we’re short of quality there. If they can find someone who is versatile enough to play right across the back, they might make a move. The reason Arsenal see Sahin as the answer isn’t because he’s an out an out defensive midfielder. That’s not what we’re looking for. What we’re after is a midfielder who will be accountable. The idea this year, as with last, is that we have 3 midfielders who can interchange dependent on what’s going on. Sahin can do that. Alex Song couldn’t really. Well, not unless he was beaten into doing so.
On the club and the players. I can tell you that place is absolutely buzzing. It’s the best preseason they’ve had for years. The feeling is that Arsenal are slowly but surely shifting out the names who don’t give a rats arse-nal about the club. Alex Song is gone, Nik Bendtner will be leaving, the only players they are still having trouble with is Chamakh and Park. Apparently they’re working super hard to move them on but it’s proving challenging. Can you blame the club if they can’t find a buyer for Chamakh? I couldn’t… he’s awful and pricey.
The real buzz around the team is that the new boys who’ve come in are winners. Top players with pedigree. Absolute different mindset to what we’ve had in the past. Giroud is supposed to be quite the specimen and Podolski is a very strong character who is gelling with the team. Cazorla though, is the man who has everyone salivating. He’s clicked straight away and he’s inspired confidence in everyone. It’ also worth mentioning Diaby has had a fantastic preseason as well, which is warming. He’s normally crippled by now. Everyone would like to see him string 20 games together. The potential is in there somewhere to become a great player. This season really is make or break for him. Could he go on to do what Robin did last year and possibly secure his dream move to Everton next year? Who knows… who knows!
It’s also worth noting that although Robin has gone, unlike Cesc and Nasri, he was well behaved until the end. He wasn’t disruptive and he didn’t sulk. I suppose we can be thankful there. What does bother people at the club, and outside, is that we went out and we built a proper team this summer. We organised the defence, we signed some attackers and we brought in people who could assist. With Robin here, we’d undoubtebly be challenging in a major way this year. Without him, I still believe we could be up there. We just have to hope the defence gels.
The team today is going to be very alien. We’re obviously missing Sagna, so that means Jenkinson will start. Then it’ll be Mertesacker, Vermaelen and Gibbs. Midfield is going to be interesting. No Alex Song I’m assuming because he’ll be booking Easy Jet tickets, so you’d have to assume the midfield will be Arteta, Diaby and Cazorla. We might opt for Rambo in there, but he’ll probably stll be exhausted from his Olympic exploits. Then up top, it’ll be between Giroud and Podolski. I’d have to say that the German would likely be favourite. Gervinho should play out on the left and on the right, providing he is fit, you’d say maybe Theo. If he’s not, maybe Andrey Arshavin?
I’m expecting a big game out there today. The only way to deal with the week that was is to smash whoever is put in front of you. Sunderland are a pain in the ass away from home, but at the Emirates, in the blistering sunshine, I have no doubt we’ll put on a show. The big question is going to be around how the boys gel and how they cope without two very important players from last year. I think they’ll be fine. The core of the team are hard workers. They’re experienced and now they’ve been injected with some serious talent. Whatever people tell you, ultimately, we’re in a far better position this year than we were last season. I honestly believe that this could still be a really good season, we just need to make sure we don’t feel sorry for ourselves.
We’ve brought in near enough £50million, we’ve only spent about £35million. If you factor in the £20million we started with, we can still go out and make a statement if we have to. I hope Wenger does bolster and give the side the best possible chance and I think there’s a real possibility he will do.
Anyway, the focus is on today! Let’s have a massive one out there in the bars before, let’s rip the roof of the stadium when we’re in it and let’s keep them crossed for the lads putting in a massive, massive performance! Have a great day everyone!
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P.S. Fantasy Football… get yourselves involved. NOW.
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