Sunday, December 10, 2023

Keep on keeping on

Right, the internationals are out of the way. Congratulations to Jack Wilshere and Kieran Gibbs who made their full debuts against a team whose goalkeeper wears Primark tracky bottoms. Both of them look set to really push on at Arsenal this season and their confidence will be boosted by last night’s appearances.

Elsewhere Cesc played 45 minutes in Spain’s 1-1 draw with Mexico, Carlos Vela played more or less an hour for the hosts. Hopefully they’re making their way back to London sharpish. Beyond that I don’t have any idea what else happened nor do I care once all our players come back fit and ready for the weekend.

It’s the start of a new Premier League season and all eyes will be on the trip to Anfield on Sunday. As yet we’ve got no team news, the manager says he’s going to assess RVP and Cesc tomorrow, and there are injury doubts over Diaby, Song and Denilson, leaving our midfield quite young indeed. We should get some early news today.

Still not very much in the way of transfer news although the Mirror is suggesting a goalkeeping threesome of a fashion. Aston Villa are apparently interested in Manuel Almunia who will replace Brad Friedel who is going to Fulham which will allow us to buy Mark Schwarzer. Seems a bit unlikely to me. Villa don’t even have a manager at the moment and although Friedel and Hughes have a previous working relationship it seems odd to me that the American would, at his advanced years, not stay at Villa for the European football they’re involved in. I suppose the fact that the article’s byline is by ‘football spy’ tells us everything we need to know.

I imagine it’ll be one of the first things Arsene is asked about when his pre-game press conference takes place tomorrow. Last night I had a dream that Fabianski went out on loan and Almunia and Wojscez©® were doing battle for the number 1 shirt. It’s all a bit of a mess at the moment with regards the goalkeeper. Apologies for the lack of credit but I read someone make the very good point that it’s hardly ideal that a club like Arsenal has no definite first choice keeper at this point of pre-season.

Let’s be honest about this – the keepers we have currently in contention for the role, Almunia and Fabianski, are hardly what you’d call rock solid in terms of their confidence. They’re like a pair of jittery curs, startled by loud noises and car horns. Not knowing if they’re going to play is only going to make them more skittish, which is really the last thing we need.

By all accounts Schwarzer is desperate to join us and that’s hardly a surprise. He’s spent his career knocking about mid-table clubs and now, right at the tail end of it a club like Arsenal comes calling. I certainly think he’s a little bit better than what we have but not what I would call the ideal solution. Unfortunately, however, I think we’re gone a little bit beyond that. The ideal, in my opinion, would have been to buy a top-class goalkeeper, there are some out there you know, much earlier than this so he could settle into the team, the players could get used to him, and we wouldn’t be going into one of the most difficult away games of the season cacking our pants at who might play in goal.

It’s all a bit frustrating. At the same time I accept that work behind the scenes at Arsenal is done, for the most part, with the utmost secrecy. Who knows what kind of approaches have been made and failed for whatever reason? Clubs looking for too much, clubs unwilling to sell, players asking for ridiculous amounts of money. We’re never going to go down the Sp*rs route and announce every time we’ve failed to sign a player, I just worry that our inability to get this most vital of positions sorted could cost us.

Ray Parlour on our title chances – he reckons we can do it “if they can add one or two additions”. I suppose it’s better than subtracting additions, which in terms of numbers is what we’ve done.

Richard Williams bigs up Theo Walcott in the Guardian. Kinda. I still don’t see Theo as a starter but I suspect he’ll get the nod at Anfield. Hopefully he’s still smarting from his World Cup omission and we see a different Theo.

Not much else going on – I did set up an Arseblog Facebook page if you want to do Facebook things to it. I find it very odd that despite having a website of my very own people expect you to also be on Facebook. Anyway, if Facebook is your thing you can ‘click into my email number’ and such.

And there you have it, more tomorrow and, all things going well there’ll be the first Arsecast of the new season.

Until then.

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