I had a dream last night about our season opener against Leicester. Some of the details were a bit off, because Claudio Ranieri was still in charge for them, while Arsene Wenger was nowhere to be seen and Jens Lehmann appeared to be our manager.
I say appeared because he wasn’t in the dugout, but sitting in a really tall chair on the sideline like a tennis umpire shooting darts from a blow-pipe at the Leicester players. At one point he blew one straight into Jamie Vardy’s arsehole and the referee gave them a penalty, which made Jens really mad and there was a big melee between the players. After that the dream got a bit weird.
Speaking of Friday night’s game, we’ll have Mike Dean in charge. That’s nice. First off, it’s Friday night, which is a rubbish time for a game of football – and especially the first game of the season which I associate with sunshine not moonshine – and now we have this prissy, bumptious winklehead to deal with. Thanks Premier League.
Anyway, we knew the season was going to be long and challenging, so we’ve just got to get right into it. They might as well make his linesmen Tony Gale and Stewart Robson, just for the laugh, while fourth official Anthony Taylor can report Arsene Wenger for some fruity language again, the delicate flower.
Still, Theo Walcott is looking for the positives, and believes a Friday night start could be just what we need:
A night game might be better for us. It’s a bit different, a bit new for us and our fans will be up for it. Home support is always crucial and that will be so key this season as the fans will just be behind the team from kick off all the way through.
I think fans would be up for the first game of the season regardless of when it was being played, but maybe some post-work pints then a match will help create an atmosphere. It’s interesting that Walcott references the fans, because it’s something Arsene Wenger did after the Chelsea game at Wembley, saying it was down to the team to keep things positive:
Yes, it’s down to us to keep a positive atmosphere around the team. I think a lot was created by my own situation and maybe I made a mistake, but overall I believe that it’s down to us – the strength always comes from the team.
We had some bad starts in the first game of the Premier League over the last four years but we’ve had the intensity in our games that is needed to be ready.
We don’t have long to wait now to see how that goes, and hopefully we can get off to a good start this season, because it’d be painful to be firefighting from day one.
Walcott has also chimed in on new boy Sead Kolasinac, who was so impressive in the Community Shield. It’s fair to say that he’s impressed with what he’s seen of him so far, on and off the pitch:
Sead looks an absolute tank. He’s one tough unit to get past and I’m sure his physical attributes are going to be key to us this season.
Honestly, he is an absolute animal. He’s incredible. I see him in the gym every day; you can just tell he looks after himself well, he eats the right food and he’s professional. You can see the power he’s got when he’s got the ball, his pace and everything. It’s beautiful to watch and he’s a great addition to the squad.
The beautiful Bosnian footballing ballet, striding like a rampant bull down the sidelines, rampaging through right-wingers like a super liberal with a YouTube channel. He’s going to be fun to watch this season. I know its early days, I know we need to see more of him before we can make any judgements, but I am looking forward to watching opposition players bounce off him.
I also like this move back towards a slightly more physical side. Granit Xhaka is a strong presence, Rob Holding is happy to go head to head with someone like Diego Costa, and Kolasinac’s size and power are obvious. It’s a nod to the fact you have to have some physicality in the Premier League these days, some of the squads are enormous – and I don’t mean just numbers – so being able to cope with that is important.
Which player would I like to see Kolasinac bounce into the stands first? That’s a question that was asked and answered on this week’s Arsecast Extra, so listen below to find out. We also touch on his interesting goal celebration, answer lots of questions about transfers, Hector Bellerin, and more – before we finish with James’ viral video and the reaction to it.
Very quickly, Mohamed Elneny says he’s going nowhere this summer, which is a good thing as he’s a very useful squad player, while Valencia are after Gabriel, something which may have an impact on our centre-half situation. Calum Chambers is, at this point, available for departure, but if the Brazilian went it may give him a chance to stay. We’ll see what happens there.
That’s that for now, more from me tomorrow.