Ahhh well, fuck it.
It was fun while it lasted. Simple fact about football is it’s really tough to succeed at the highest level if you have no creative outlet. England decided to leave the flair at home, and when it came down to it, we couldn’t create enough clear-cut chances to put Croatia to the sword.
We’re also not there quality wise. Say what you want about how likeable the squad are, the cold hard reality is we still don’t boast the technical craft or confidence to play the way we want to play. Watching England crack under pressure, defend deeper and deeper, and fear the ball like it was foreigner walking into a UKIP pub was painful as much as it were familiar.
We made a semi-final. We had some fun. We felt true hope for a minute.
At the moment, that’s enough for me. Maybe the country can build on the progress when the next generation of youth World Cup winners start to break into Premier League teams.
One thing I was happy about, we lost on fair terms. There was no travesty of justice, no awful injury, no drama. We were just outplayed on the night by a team that boasts one of the best centre midfielders of a generation.
… and the silverlining is the Spurs and City players will be tired, injured and touch mentally jaded for the new season.
Onto the real stuff… Emery is going to oversee his first game for the club with our classic Boreham Wood match. It’ll mostly be a run out for the kids and a few of the senior players who didn’t make the international grade this summer.
There’s a pretty good transcript of his press conference. It’s so much fun reading through it, mostly because the words feel fresh, it’s not defensive, and it feels very progressive. On transfers, Emery had this to say.
“We signed the players who we needed and only if one player is a big opportunity for us will we sign them.
“Normally, we are thinking about the young players, the possibility of them staying with us or going to play on loan at another team.
“We are also thinking about the players who were with us last year and whether we need them to stay with us.
“At the moment, I think the squad is complete. We will only sign another player if there is an opportunity to bring in that one player, or two players.
“We will only sign a player in the next month if he’s a big opportunity.”
I mean, it has the familiar tones we’re used to from Wenger at this time of year, except this time around we’ve done all our business. The folk who thought buying players was akin to the complexities of enriching uranium really are choking hard on their stale loaf of Tesco’s bread. The club rebuilt it’s spine inside 6 months, bar a wide player of note, I’d be totally satisfied heading into the new season as is (providing we sign Rambo).
The manager seems pleased with the level of quality at the club, keen to impress the details he’s focusing on.
“First, they are working very hard. They are working with the ambition that I want.
“I think the quality is high here, and I think together we will work with this quality and the details in the tactics.
“They will go with my ideas and work with my ideas every day, and this will help them to do these things on the pitch.”
This bit about analysing oponennets reads like caviar.
“I looked at the Premier League in my career and also all the players here in the Premier League.
“Normally, we know it. To be here, to start to know directly and to work with our players here and also we are going to play against all the other teams, to analyse the players, to analyse their systems and their ideas.
“In general, we know and I think the Premier League is maybe the best competition, for the teams, in the world.”
… mostly because you know for once, this isn’t a lie. We’ve been a bit of a parked Ferrari when it comes to analysis over the past 10 years. The club hired in a lot of the right folk and have invested in tech, but if you have someone at the helm who doesn’t care for the data, or worse, doesn’t know how to turn it into insights that can be used for marginal gains and elite planning… you’re kind of fu*ked.
Emery will be trying to extract the maximum from the tools at his disposal, and if he’s really good, he’ll be empowering the analysts to bring new ideas to the table. I can’t imagine what the buzz is like with the backroom team, finally, a coach that takes your thoughts seriously.
The players all look pretty happy in training, the social media buzz seems very positive, so it seems the players are taking to the double sessions well and they’re excited about being competitive and learning. This is what the coach said of taking on Wenger’s tactics.
“I want to win. The performances, every day, for work on attacking, defending, is to be competitive in each match.
“My first idea is getting better day-to-day with our players and working hard with our players, to transmit my ideas.
“The system for me isn’t the most important.
“For me, the most important thing is to be and to create one competitive team. And then, we have the quality.”
I don’t know how that question was asked, but it’s a bit of a childish question to ask the manager. You’re either trying to create a press war, or you’re asking a really f*cking dumb question. We’ve finally landed a coach who can talk football and we’re asking about transfers and Wenger, versus going deep on his system and philosophy for the club.
Right, I’m currently over the Rocky Mountain heading to Portland… I’ll be on it with the early morning posts this week, and I’ll be gearing up for the most exciting season of the past decade.
Buckle up, real football is about start!