Good morning, a new season is almost upon us. I know this because I can hear the sounds of rattles being repaired, burger vans being cranked up and Arsenal players hobbling their way to the treatment room.
The early team news ahead of Sunday’s game isn’t as promising as we would like. Johan Djourou is out (hamstring), Alex Song too (calf) while Diaby and Denilson will have late fitness tests. Even if they do make it neither of them has played even one minute of football this pre-season so their preparation is far from ideal.
The manager said he’d assess Cesc Fabregas and Robin van Persie today and while we’re certainly better equipped in the forward positions I hope he’ll give real consideration to playing the captain. We’re heading for Anfield with players who aren’t fully fit or players who haven’t even started a league game for us such is their youth.
AW has to decide if the travel to Mexico has played a part but I’m sure if push came to shove Cesc would be ready to play. He was hardly off nightclubbing and eating kebabs while on his holidays. Ideally we could rest him and let him get some proper fitness work in but clearly this is not an ideal situation. We should get more from Arsene at his first press conference of the season later on.
No doubt he’ll be quizzed about potential new signings. Djourou’s injury leaves us very light in the central-defensive area. We’ll be starting Koscielny who is going to find the step up a real challenge, I think, and after that the only cover is Havard Nordtveit, a player still listed on the official site as a reserve and not part of the first team squad.
Then there’s the ongoing issue over the keeper. Fulham’s Mark Schwarzer is quoted as saying:
I need it to happen. I’ve had a couple of chats with Mark (Hughes). It’s delicately poised. Who wouldn’t be keen to go to Arsenal? At this stage in my career it’s an amazing opportunity to play at that level and one I want to take.
I have no doubt Hughes is making this more difficult than it needs to be, simply because he’s a withery-lipped old cunt whose personal relationship with Arsene is worse than when Mia Farrow came home to find Woody had taken tucking in the kids to new levels.
Obviously we’re interested, Schwarzer wants to come, and at this stage there isn’t an Arsenal fan around who wouldn’t want it to happen. There are whispers that there might be some movement out and from what I can gather it only adds weight to the suggestion that of the keepers we have Fabianski is the preferred choice. I struggle to make sense of it too and I do fear that Fulham will continue to make this deal as laborious as possible. At least it shows we’re trying, I suppose. Very trying indeed. Boom boom.
Thomas Vermaelen sets out the requirements for the season ahead:
You have to look at all games which we lost, and each one had its own story. In football, it is really difficult to perform at a high level in every game — and that is what we have to do every year. We are one year older now, more experienced.
Leaving aside personnel issues the man from East Lower touches on ‘lack of drive/urgency’ in his season preview. I’ve touched on this many times and it’s going to be a crucial factor. The introduction of the new players, described as ‘fighters’ by the boss is welcome, as is the ambition and hunger of young players like Wilshere and Frimpong who will certainly challenge some of the more established players and the ones who, without competition, rest on their scabby laurels. Add a couple of new faces and things will certainly look better. Anyway, more on that in the traditional Arseblog season preview which should be published some time this afternoon.
It is a massive season for me. After the disappointment of the summer, I know what I have to do. When something doesn’t go well for you, just forget about it and move on to the next one. That is what I will do this season.
We’ve seen the way the World Cup snub has impacted on Nasri. We’ve got a serious, focussed player on our hands, ready to show all and sundry that Domenech got it wrong. Well, it’s fairly obvious he got it wrong. More wrong then. By all accounts Theo had a good 45 minutes for England in midweek, let’s hope he can continue that for us and start producing on a more consistent basis.
And beyond that not much else happening, so it’s time for the first Arsecast of the new season. Joining me to discuss the Liverpool game is the nefarious Mugsmasher himself who gives us his thoughts on the state of Liverpool and an outsider’s look at Arsenal. For a more red and white perspective GilbertoSilver from Gunnerblog is along, as is Arshavin and the usual bits and pieces.
You can subscribe to the Arsecast on iTunes by clicking here. Or if you want to subscribe directly to the feed URL you can do so too. To download this week’s Arsecast directly – click here (30mb MP3) or you can listen directly below without leaving this very page.
You’ll notice new Arsecast theme music too which is based on the original theme tune by The Way Out. The the new song was produced by Johnny Massacre, Billy Batts, Trash Gordon – and Fanblade for Twin Vulcan Recordings.
Please visit www.twinvulcan.com for a lifestyle blog containing drugs, sex and bad goings on.
Please note Arseblog takes no responsibility for any combination of drugs, sex or bad goings on you might involve yourself with.
So, there you go. I suspect we’ll have lots to talk about tomorrow and do keep your eye out for the season preview later today. I’d best get writing that then.
Have a good Friday.