Good morning and a very happy Friday to you.
After all the drama of the last few days, what with not signing a keeper and being accepting/outraged/super-mega-hella-outraged and so on, we haven’t noticed the stealthy, lurking menace of the Interlull. And now it is upon us.
Like some kind of mist in a Stephen King story we’re trapped inside the supermarket and outside the evil awaits. Stick your head out the door and it’s likely to be snapped straight off by a giant thing that dwells in the shadows. All we can do is realise that we’re in a supermarket which probably has loads of biscuits and booze and settle in until the whole thing is over.
And you know this Interlull is going to be a tough one. The official site is running a video of Alex Song talking about how Cameroon won’t underestimate Mauritius. I didn’t even know Mauritius had a football team to rate, let alone underrate. Wasn’t Mauritius where the dodo lived? That should be the football team’s nickname.
Thomas Vermaelen is on there too but not talking about remote island locations or international football. Last season he made his name not only with his defending but with his goalscoring (which you’ll find on the customary YouTube video accompanied by a terrible soundtrack), but this season he says he’ll be happier with clean sheets:
I know the fans are expecting goals from me and I hope I can score some this year but for me it is not the most important thing. For me the most important thing is to defend and to defend as a team as well, and then we will get further as a team.
If we defend first then we can win games. After that we will see.
We conceded 41 goals in the league last season. One more and it would have been enough to make Douglas Adams turn in his grave. That really does have to be the focus this season. As an attacking force we’re as good as anyone, to have any real chance of winning something we’ve got to tighten up at the back. We’ve got to be able to grind out 1-0s when they’re needed. There’s still the feeling that this is an Arsenal team that can concede at any moment.
As we keep saying though it’s not the sole preserve of the defence to defend. You can certainly ask questions of Koscielny, Sagna and Clichy for Blackburn’s goal last weekend but had Robin van Persie and Abou Diaby put in a bit more effort further up the pitch then it probably wouldn’t have happened. Samba was allowed to stroll out from the back, and let’s not kid ourselves he’s any kind of Beckenbauer, then play the pass to Diouf. Stop him further up the pitch and the defence isn’t as exposed. I’m sure the manager will have had a few words about that at half-time or post-game so let’s hope we see an improvement in that regard.
Meanwhile, in France, Bacary Sagna talks about a new code of conduct for the French players in the wake of their World Cup debacle. If only there was a French word for debacle. I think one of the things that has been overlooked, as people blame the players and Anelka is banned for all eternity, is that they had to work with Raymond Domenech. That’d be enough to drive any man insane. So while I fully support the calls for the public flogging of Patrice Evra, followed by him being tarred, feathered then incarcerated in a spinning space mirror by General Zod, perhaps a little understanding is required. Except for Evra. I hate that guy.
And there’s not a lot else happening this fine morning. Not apart from my hangover anyway, for which I blame Mrs Blogs entirely. So, let’s have this week’s Arsecast.
Normally, before the season, there’s a bit of a round-table jobby where we take a look at the squad, our title chances, discuss which player is the most dreamy now that Robert Pires has left (for he was always the dreamiest Arsenal player), and all the other important stuff which concerns Arsenal bloggers.
With me at this Skype powered round table are The man from East Lower, GilbertoSilver from Gunnerblog, Goonerholic and, for a brief time, Goodplaya (before we were let down by a combination of Apple, a German mobile phone network, a train and space interference).
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 (32mb MP3) or you can listen directly below without leaving this very page.
And that’s about that. Bacon is required. As is more coffee. It looks like another fine day out there, the last of the summer whine.