YO YO! Good morning and welcome to the 9th odd season we’ve been rolling with this blog!
It feels like this is a big season. Possibly the biggest yet of this digital daily edition. It’s going to be special, you can feel it.
So what does today mean?
Well, it tends to mean nothing. As Mourinho pointed out in classic; ‘he’s so funny because I write quotes that are usually boring’ fashion, we won the Community Shield last summer and finished third in the league.
It’s a weird start to the season. Ideally, you don’t really want to be lining up against the league Champions so early on. It has the potential to derail before you’ve even started the long 38 league slog.
Today feels like it’s vindication for #TeamPosi we’re onto something if we win. It feels like ‘I told you so’ for #TeamYetToBeConvinced if we lose.
Really, the day will be inconclusive either way. But it does show the hunger the side of us. It does give us a clue as to whether there’s continuation of the preparation work that served us so well in the second half of last season. It’ll also give us a sneak peak into the favoured starting line up.
… because for once, we start with a full compliment (roughly, no WELBZ or Sanchez) of players!
The coach is pumped for the season. He’s done what any manager who failed the season before should have done… he canned the holiday.
“I had a few days off, but I spent most of my summer at the training ground,” he said. “Not the whole holiday, but most of it. When I go on the beach I am in the press the next day. Where do you want me to go? So I go to the training ground.”
I mean, it’s a bit sad, but let’s be honest, it was pretty embarrassing last summer after a shit season when he’s playing football on the beach with all the hot babes.
I’m glad he’s focused. I’m glad he’s been working on hatching plans.
You’d imagine Ozil is going to be central to them. The manager says that the German has settled and he’s expecting mega things. I thought Wenger’s comments on London were interesting.
“London transforms people,”
“I believe at the start, people who come here feel a bit of a shock. Why? The climate is different, London is a big city. After, London slowly gets people with the charm of the city and I have seen that many times. They start to really enjoy living in London and the club is the same. Arsenal is similar because the Premier League is a shock sometimes for the players.”
I’d been told that all the Germans love the City. When you live here, you’re kind of unaware of how large the place is compared to most cities. In Madrid, he also had very little anonymity… and possibly not quite the same level of cosmopolitan. Well, you can see why he’d be happy here. We have the best kebabs outside of Istanbul.
I think this point is an important one about the German.
“You can see that people have turned in favour of him recently, they are starting to enjoy his game. You have players like that who are more fluid, more subtle, more slalom than direct. Sometimes with their style it is deceptive as he is quicker than people think he is and works much harder than people think he does.”
He’s a slalom player, the way he moves the ball and his body takes quite a lot of getting used to. The fact that he is prominent without being prominent in the traditional sense of the word means it takes time to understand how he operates. You can’t quite fathom how he does it. He quietly contributes at a spectacular rate.
I think I’m most excited about the race for whatever the assist Golden boot is called. Cesc versus Ozil has a nice ring to it. Feels like 25 could win it this year. Chelsea have a Diego Costa, which gives them an advantage. But we have a dazzling array of forwards, who, if they up their game, could ease the burden of not having world class up top.
There’s a story in AS today about Karim Benzema being hot on our radar.
We’re armed with €65m cash. Apparently Rafa Benitez (according to the same paper) is weighing up a formation that doesn’t contain his star forward. If you take those papers for what they are, club mouthpieces, you’d have to say that sort of story is positive.
How bloody crazy, we’re literally bullying Real Madrid for a player. I love it. Though I have to say, seems a bit far fetched that we’d go €65m for a player who is 27 years old (28 in December). I’d get if he were a few seasons younger. But generally, if a footballer hits ‘peak awesome’ at 29, you’d probably say that a mega fee now would be out of character.
Back to the game today. I’m interested to see how Wenger uses Jack and Aaron today. A front three of Sanchez, Giroud and Chambo would be exciting. However, Sanchez is away. Will will the manager put Aaron Ramsey out wide right like he’s done in big games before? Will he opt for two players pinning the midfield? I mean, it could be Coquelin and Arteta, then a release of pace going forward. Will he play Jack on the left and Chambo on the right? Is there room for Rosicky?
Lots of options. But hopefully the manager has thought about it. To my mind, there would be one thing I’d be thinking about. That John Terry is OLD these days. He’s ripe for the picking. If you can pull out their full back and expose him on his own, that’d be a good route in. I also think the full backs can be vulnerable. There can’t be too much bombing forward from them, because we can kill on the counter.
Interesting point… when John Terry goes, it’s going to be spectacular. Like when Rio lost it.
It’ll be interesting to see how Mourinho deals with us today. They certainly can’t press. And if they wanted to counter our strength, they’d be looking at playing deep and stifling out runs. But we have players like Ozil and Santi who can unpick locks. We have a pretty devastating offering. The only thing we don’t really have is strength through the middle like they do.
Could it be a hatched job day? Brutality from Matic and Costa? It wouldn’t surprise. One thing you can be sure of, the day will be all about spoiler tactics.
It’ll be interesting. Not exciting.
I’m not heading up there today. If you are, enjoy the sun and have an exceptional day out!
P.S. I’m aware that if you’re outside of the UK, you’re being hammered with horrible ads. I’m getting that switched off. Apologies if you’re seeing them.