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Posts Tagged ‘Pre-Season’

Arsenal vs Swansea: Pre-View, Press Conference, Table Predictor, Fans Support

In Arsenal, Premier League 2011/12, Wenger on September 9, 2011 at 10:45 pm

Pre-Season Is Over:

 

As I have been discussing in recent posts the facts tell the truth and Arsenal currently have only 1 point out of a possible 9 due to the slow movement within the transfer market over the summer.  Yes, we’ve seen recent activity and vital strengthening in the final 48 hours of the transfer window but was this at the expense of not getting at least a win against a somewhat inept Newcastle team.  Conceivably, there could have been a chance to have pushed for a point or 3 against Liverpool who really overcome an embattled Arsenal defence who had been reduced to 10 men and lacked the experience and resilience to close out the match to the 90th minute.

So we have to deal with the situation as it stand and whilst we turn our noses up at the old clichés churned out by member of the club taking each game as it come and the next game is the most important one there is certainly a sense that the situation Arsenal find themselves in is somewhat self-manifested.

What impact doe this potentially have on the final league standing come May?  Who knows but looking at the Castrol Premier League Predictor tool, based upon home and away scoring coefficients (hmmm nearly got a bit too technical there), the best we could expect in 3rd.  Better than some pundits would anticipate Arsenal on achieving and it would certainly be an improvement upon last year but we’re too early into the season to be grateful for 3rd in the final league standing and we’ll continue to review this prediction through the season.

As nice as this looks it would be really nice if the folk at Castrol could crunch a few more numbers to calculate when we can celebrate St. Totteringhams day!

Press Conference

 

Arsene’s first main press conference since the transfer deadline passed took place earlier today and included a mixed smattering of questions on missed transfer targets, squad updates for tomorrows game as well as how well equipped Arsene feels the squad is to compete in all four competitions on offer this season.

With regards to injuries, both Thomas’s (Vermaelen and Rosicky) have been added to the injury list sponsored by Diabyshere as well as Ryo (and he hasn’t played yet!).  Vermaelen is expected to be out for 2 months following his “secret” operation and Thomas Rosicky is recovering from a knock whilst on international duty and is expected to returned for the first Champions League fixture away against Borussia Dortmund on Tuesday.  Something tells me he might try to ensure he’s fit for that game……

The team is still also impacted by suspensions with three players out following recent red cards activities.  Gervinmho, Alex Song and Carl Jenkinson will all be suspended for tomorrows game but Frimpong will return to Premier League action.  Whether this will be in the starting line-up we’re yet to see.  Other potential absentees could include both Park and Santos who are both in the squad but face minor challenges to make it onto the pitch.  Park is currently stuck is Paris with visa issues to get into the UK whilst Santos is said to be a little short of match fitness.

This makes predicting a starting IX somewhat difficult but I would expect something along the lines of the following:

Szczesny

Sagna  –  Koscielny  –  Mertesacker  –  Gibbs

Benayoun  –  Frimpong  –  Arteta – Ramsey

Walcott  –  RvP

There is certainly a lot of anticipation as to how much of an impact both Benayoun and Arteta will make on their starts.  Arsene was open in that he recognises both players can complement that style that Arsenal likes to play

“I expect him (Arteta) to make an immediate impact  and even as well, Benayoun as they are technically tidy”

The question was asked of Arsene as to whether the unusually flurry of last minute signings was as a consequence of the game at Old Trafford.  To which his response was:

“Not really and some of the transfers were linked to players going out. Like Santos and Park because I knew Bendtner would go out and Traore would go out.”

He also went to add:

“The squad is stronger if you look at the squad we have now and you imagine a midfield with Wilshere and Diaby coming back plus the players like Vermaelen will come back soon I think we have a more mature squad and that is as well important as we will have players with of experience and a good attitude.” 

In this response he did not really recognise the void that Nasri and Fabregas left following their departures as this was still an area that was recognised as a need for strengthening whilst they were still present so the two new midfielders will offer something different but whether this is still progression in that department is still yet to be seen.

The addition of Mertesacker in the short term only covers over the cracks in Vermaelen’s tendons but they will hopefully develop a formidable partnership when playing together.  Santos is certainly an improvement over Traore and will leapfrog Gibbs and if Park can control a first time ball then he has an advantage of Bendtner already.  So I have to agree with Wenger slightly when he says the squad has become more mature and experienced following recent acquisitions but there is still depth that needs to be added to ensure that this squad has the durability to last the whole season.

This was also something picked by John Cross in the Mirror when trying to validate the so-called Arsenal Injury Jinx.  The fact is that other teams have consistently had enough depth in the squad to carry injurys to the first XI.  What was interesting today was Arsene’s comments about Jack Wilshere injury.  The aforementioned article looks to allay concerns that players are being over-trained and over-played (the so called ProZone Red Area) but whilst Jack’s ankle injury was put down to bad luck he did seem to suggest that he had overused Jack towards the end of the season.  So Arsene is still yet to address this lack of squad depth and we’re still in a scenario where we’re fielding players in the very infancy of the first team careers – we can only hope that this will change furthermore in January.

Expectations from Swansea

 

In yesterday’s post I raised the point that it is usually for a home game against a newly promoted team of Swansea calibre to generate such pre-match interest and this is predominately due to off pitch activities around Arsenal.  However, Swansea have earnt the right to be in the premier League and Arsene is certainly treating them with respect in terms of how he will approach the game.  They’ve not had a bad start to their season considering their aspirations and after the 4-0 defeat on the opening day they’ve started out early in becoming misers for conceding goals with two 0-0 draws in their last games. 

“What they have achieved is absolutely magic, at this moment last season, no-one would have given them a chance, so what they have done is absolutely fantastic.
 


“Swansea are a team who look at the numbers who are one of the four or five best teams in terms of passing ability.”

We will see whether or not Swansea suffer from stage fright and they were certainly very active during the recent transfer window and we shall also get to see if their team will gel quickly. 

However, it’s odds on that Arsenal will win tomorrows game with a greatest likelihood of a 2-0 home win.

  

Fan’s Support

 

Earlier this week there was talk on unrest and splits within the fanbase and protest were being planned against the board outside the ground.  These have been subsequently cancelled now (but I think the billboard poster will still be there) as there has been a realisation over recent days that everyone needs to get behind the team and especially the new additions to the squad.  Football is a results based industry and yes, there have been frustrations that the team have been under-equipped for the task in hand but the only real role that the fans can play at the Emirates tomorrow is to make the atmosphere as raucous as they can and help unnerve the Swansea players so that Arsenal gets the result that it needs.

Bring on Saturday and another afternoon at the Emirates – I can’t think of anywhere else I’d want to be and am looking forward to toasting a victory during post-match drinks.

Come on you gunners!!!

GG

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Arsenal: Deadline Day Roller Coaster!! How Did It Feel?!

In Transfers, Wenger on September 1, 2011 at 7:44 pm

Do you remember the day’s when you were young when your parents tell you that you’re being taken to your first theme park where they have proper rollercoasters.  Not your poxy little ones at Southend Pier that just go round in a circle and dip up and little and bounce down a bit. 

Oh no, the one’s where if you try eating an ice cream whilst on the ride you just end up wearing most of it all over your face and the odd one will going flying into the passenger behind.

And just when you think that it’s all over, you do the whole thing again but backwards leaving you in a complete mess and the end, stomach turned upside and with jelly legs.

That’s how I feel after last night’s transfer deadline orgy via our friends Sky Sports News last night. 

After the rumours from Tuesday about the shoring up of defence with a 6’6” German and a Brazilian left back with wizards feet Wednesday was being embraced with great anticipation. 

Yet things started slowly and it wasn’t until late afternoon that we started to hear that we were in for two midfielders – Yossi Benayoun and Mikel Arteta.  Great, we all thought.  Arsene’s listened to the pleas of the masses and he’s trying to fill the void left by the absences of Nasri and Fabregas.  Two players of Premiership experiences and both creative in their style of play.

That was until midway through the evening we heard that the Arteta move was off.  Mixed reports as to whether or not the clubs couldn’t agree a fee or whether it was in fact personal terms that had led to a breakdown in negotiations.  Therefore, the conclusion was the Arsenal were playing with their usual pokerface and withdrew from negotiations.

There was discontent across the Arsenal twitter world.  Suddenly Benayoun wasn’t enough and certainly not just on a 1 year loan deal.  There was contempt in the air and the summer transfer window was nearly confined to the world of “could have beens” and the usual anti-climax of signing yet another out of favour Chelsea playing prior to the deadline (re. Diarra and Gallas).

But like the momentary eye in the rollercoaster storm, we’d only reached the end of the first leg and with an hour left in the window the train starting rolling backwards again and the Arteta move was back on!  Hoorah, we all cried!  Come on Arsene, sort if out before the Premier League fax machine runs out of paper, we can save our season if we can just get this one player from Everton who had had mixed fortunes recently on the injury front.

And so Big Ben chimed, Jim White’s excitement reached explosive proportions and…….and…..did it go through?……..it did?………yes!  Everything is alright in the world, forget the 8-2 drubbing at the weekend, forget that we are 8 points behind the leaders with only 3 games played already.  We have some players and they’re not still studying their A-levels.

To be true though, the shopping list requirements have been clear for the past 2 years – 1 goalkeeper, 2 centre backs, 2 midfielders and another striker with at least 20 goals in his bag.

Szczesny can fill the GK role if he can add maturity to his already maturing years. 

We could potentially have a 1st choice back four of Santos – Mertesacker – Vermaelan – Sagna.  These line-up can stand up on it own to some of the best. 

If we needed 2 midfielders before the summer then we needed another 4 prior the season start.  However, with the emergence of Frimpong, less petulance from Song and Gervinho, Wilshere remaining fit and Diaby and Arshavin potentially finding fitness and from the addition of Arteta and Benayoun are good solid additions.

Up front, Young is untested really.  He’s led the line at Monaco in the past season but they were recently relegated.  He’s the captain of his national squad but how competitive that team really is would need to be questioned.

So what does this crop of players provide the current squad.?

They certainly bring experience and maturity with the ages covering  the range of 26 – 29 years old.  Mertesacker is a great signing in terms of his international experience (75 caps for Germany at the tender age of 26 – eat that Gary Cahill).

Apparently we now have an inventor and genius in Yossi Benayoun whose other talents involve the creative design for the Israeli Coca Cola bottle.  Well, that was what Wikipedia was stating last night but funny that id doesn’t anymore.

And Mikel Arteta?  He grew up in the Barcelona youth academy before plying his trade elsewhere?  Was his signing truly the lure of Champions League football or could it be that he wants to be next summers perennial Catalan target?  Oh, the cynicism!

We now enter the mundane period of International football and to hope and pray that all the players return fit and well.  Some come down from last nights excitement and with a balance still of £50M+, roll on the january transfer window.  See Arsene, you can have a bit of excitement in your life!  There are reasons to be confident again but maybe not too optimistic. 

GG

Manchester United Vs Arsenal: 4 Reasons Why Today Was Inevitable

In Preimeri League 2011/12, Wenger on August 28, 2011 at 10:51 pm

What the hell was that!

Here’s my disclosure for today’s post:  I didn’t go to the game today, I do not subscribe to a TVsports channel owned by Rupert Murdoch, I only listened to the game on the radio and followed certain twitter feeds, I shall not be matching MOTD2 tonight.  I am still proud to be an Arsenal fan no matter how much it hurts…………..but today it bloody hurts!!!

Rather than go into the in’s and outs of a game that I thankfully did not have to view I put forward some reasons as to why the result today was inevitable and, in a painful way, might be the kick up the arse this club has gotten away with in recent time.

1.  Arsene Wenger

Turn on the radio and listen to any post-match phone-in and you’ll hear both sides of the Arsene Wenger.  No matter which side of the fence you sit there are some big areas of concern where Arsene seems to be shooting himself in the foot in his current approach to managing Arsenal.

Unwilling to recognize the teams weaknesses:  Time and time again we hear about this team’s massive potential and mental strengthness, however, this has never actually turned into results.  How many times in recent seasons have Arsenal struggled against the title challenging teams as well as against teams that should have been beaten easily.  Yes, there may have been the odd victory against ManUre and Chelsea but for every one of those there has been a Wigan or a West Brom or a Newcastle or a Bolton.  Teams that should have easily been beaten and would have been beaten by Premiership winning teams that have produced that mental strengthness every week to win games against the run of play.

Unwilling to recognise the failings himself:  There was a story of the news the other day about a man who had been sentenced the other day for faking his army career having never served in the army at all.  He had built up such a strong story to convince others that over the course of time he had convinced himself that the lie was in fact truth.  I’m not suggesting that there’s anything untoward in Arsene Wenger’s head but the analogy does hit home and a small dose of humility in that a new course of action may be required with the current squad.  If not delusional, then it would be more concerning that his approaching is complete arrogance and the current situation is entirely deliberate.

Poor morale within the squad:  We’ve heard some concerning stories this week including one in which the club captain sat down with the manager to discuss areas in which the team need immediate improvement.  No progress was be made and RvP was left completely perplexed in the ambitions that his manager has for the current season.  A season it should be noted in which Robin’s contract should be renewed in order to avoid another Nasri situation.  Furthermore, how much should we look into the non-signings of Phil Jones and Juan Mata. After lengthy discussions with both players we now found them playing for two of Arsenal’s main competitors but if money was not the issue then why would they have turned down the chance to play for Arsenal?  See also the “reason” why Nasri and Cesc left, the latter moreso when he in fact took a paycut to join a Barcelona team that still have Xavi and Inesta in their pomp.  It’s not  money but winning ambition.

2.  The Board

Why has the buying power of Arsenal dropped so dramatically?  This has been touched earlier but how much does the current insecurity of the board impact deals?  In the past year we have seen a boardroom tussle between Stan Kroenke and Alisher Usmanov with silent Stan apparently winning the battle.  Yet, what difference have we seen from an outsiders perspective?  By what measures is he deeming successful performance, and by this I mean in terms of investment purposes, because is the slide continues then unrest amongst the fanbase will ultimately result in left money in the coffers on a weekly basis.  Surely success on the pitch equates to success on the balance sheet?  At what point does Stan and the board intervene in either supporting the manager or not?

What role does Ivan Gazidis serve as Chief Executive?  Whilst he was not a direct replacement for David Dein the comparisons in Arsenals emptiness of the trophy cabinet are reasonably tangible and when, in November 2008, Ivan Gazids was bought in to take on a similar role it looked like the rocking ship was being stabilized. In fact, for the MSL power-broker whose crown jewel was brokering the transfer of David Beckham to LA Galaxy.  However, let us look at the signings made at Arsenal since the summer of 2008:

Season 2008/09:  Andrei Arshavin, Mikel Sylvestre, Amaury Bischoff

Season 2009/10:  Thomas Vermaelen, Samuel Galdino, Sol Campbell (2nd time)

Season 2010/11: Sebastien Squillaci, Lauren Koscielny, Ryo Miyachi, Kyle Ebecillo, Maurouane Chamakh

Season 2011/12:  Carl Jenkinson, Gervinho, Joel Campbell, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

Of those, only 2 (3 if you include Sol Campbell) would automatically slot into your first team now – Gervinho and Thomas Vermaelen.  Not much return for 4 years work is it.

3.  The Players

The gaps between the players and the fans is becoming really evident now.  It was only 2 years ago when the Arsenal team would join up in the centre circle straight after the final whilstle for a final team talk.  OK, it all feel appart after that fateful game against Birmingham which Eduardo’s horrific injury and Gallas’ final minute tantrum.  However, there was comararde within the team and with the fans.  Nowadays, as soon as the whilstle is blown the players are straight down the tunnel without much recognition for the fans who pay the tickets that fund the wages.  For a club of great history and demand for respect towards the paying crowd this needs reinstilling amongst the current crop of players.  Fine, there are a minority that are still aware of need for a good rapport but the majoirty of players would be found guilty of not giving something back to the fans on matchdays.

Player Indiscipline:  Three premier leagues games into the new season and we have had 3 red cards and 1 retrospective suspension.  I haven’t seen the two yellow cards that Jenkinson received today so cannot comment (and never will) but for the other three suspensions that the team are having to suffer, they could have been avoid.  Song was petulant, Gervinho needed self-constraint and Frimpong’s first yellow could easily have been avoided.  The current Arsenal team need to be more savvy in the way they conduct themselves on the pitch to avoided such penalties because all they do is end up causing harm to the team by making themselves unavailable to play.

Inexeperienced Players:  I said this previously in the Liverpool aftermath, you cannot expect players with little premier league experience to be able to complete with other teams that have built up collective experience of number of seasons.  Add to that the mix of youth and it’s turned into a receipe for disaster.  I have no doubt that given the right football schooling, some of these new recruits will go onto shine for seasons to come but right now it’s like lambs to the slaughter and is coming across as naive management.   Whilst the youngsters should take a lot from the current experience, and (hopefully!!) be safe in the knowledge that it couldn’t get much worse, a club like Arsenal should not be in this position.

4.  Other Teams

Other teams have strengthened and have strengthened early.  ManUre made the majority of their signings at the beginning of the summer and entered their pre-season in the knowledge that their squad was pretty much complete.  Liverpool started in January and have continued throughout the summer.  Chelsea have been slow but this can be put down to Andre Villas-Boas coming in himself part way through the summer.  However, year-on-year Arsenal either leave it very late to make a signing or do nothing at all.  In fact, like the British railway system, Arsenal are now suffering from years of under investment whereas our competitiors having just gotten stronger.  Have a look at the table of net spenders in the past decade.  Arsenal are only trumped by Blackburn in the profit making stakes but the bigger area of concern is the net investment vs winning intent/desire of the club to be able to compete for the best players.  Can you imagine what Arsene might have acheived if he’s kept hold of his most valubale assests and then spent some more money on imporving that squad!!!

Time and again we hear commentators saying that Arsene should be recongised for what he has acheived with the players that he has had.  Fine, but there will not be a asterix next to Arsenal’s permier league standing in the footballing almanacs of 2068 stating *but fair play to Arsenal, they finished fourth but they had to deal with Chamakh up front and Eboue in midfield.

It’s results that count I’m afraid……..

So tonight’s post has been a little bit doom and gloom but reality hurts I’m afraid.  Today has been a time for a little bit of humility and soul searching to find the truth of the matter.  And if the truth hurts then so be it – anything that can make Arsenal stronger should be encouraged.

What reasons are there to be optimistic?  There is a core of players in the squad that are willing to stand up and be counted.  With the current club captain (Lord, let him stay fit) we have the right person to pick up the team and take them on to the next battle.  If Jack Wilshere and Emmanuel Frimpong could be nominated for World Footballers of the Year on the merit of their twitter accounts then they would be battling amongst themselves to be on the podium:

There is a core of players that do share a desire and have true heart for this club that need to rub off on the others in order to this team to evolve and become stronger.  If not, then I’m afraid they need to be shipped out.

Finally, and saving the best to the last, the best performance of the day would go to the away fans.  It’s not the first time that Arsenal fans have done their best to urge on the team midst the face of adversity and woeful defending  but the audible performance would have been heard around the world as 3,000 away fans out sang 73,000 ManUre supporters whilst they were 7-2 up.  To hear “I’m Arsenal ’till I die” was heart warming on a cold day for all Gooners and the club should recongise this.  And this is the point, this club is more than the players on the pitch, the state of the art stadium and the fancy merchandising and branding.  It’s about the soul of what it means to be an Arsenal fan to enjoy the good times and regroup and be strong during the bad and kudos to those who made every Gooner proud to know what it takes to be a fan.  The players who wanted to go off straight at the final whistle should take note.

Jack and Frimpong send their best!

*Jack seems to have deleted his posted so I’ve only got his retweet

So as this post comes to end we shall shortly see the transfer window close too.  Will these 3 days define Arsene Wenger’s career?  There’s only one person that can answer that, isn’t there Arsene…………

Keep the faith Gooners,

GG

Arsenal vs Liverpool Preview

In Arsenal, Campions League, Liverpool, Uncategorized, Wenger on August 19, 2011 at 11:38 pm

The second game of Arsene’s pre-season takes place tomorrow against the scousers at lunchtime. This is where reality hits home and the team get the opportunity to prove that they are ready to handle the gauntlet that Arsene has thrown down. If not, then the temperature inside the Emirates is going to go up a few notches.

So what can we expect? One thing that I was not anticipating is that Nasri might actually make an appearance tomorrow seeing that he is still under contract with Arsenal. As far Arsene is concerned that’s the way it should be :

“Everywhere I have worked in my life I have made sure that until the last second of where I was I did the job properly. He is paid this month by Arsenal Football Club so why should he not play?”

The problem here is that the way Nasri has conducted himself in the public has exactly been appeasing to the fanbase. Even if Nasri does start and performs well it will be interesting to see how the fans respond. I have a feeling that they might give him an initial chance as it would be quite vitriolic to boo from the off but you never know.

Taking this into consideration the start line-up should look something like this:

Szszceny

Sanga – Koscienly – Vermaelen – Jenkinson

Arshavin – Frimpong – Ramsey – Nasri

Walcott – RvP

The bench has been strengthed with the additional of Djourou to the bench. Whilst he may have receovered from his hamsting twinge I am not convinced that he will be risked unless necessary.

In complete contrast to Arsenal, Liverpool have been flashing the cash on players who are well known to the Premiership. Not that it means they have suddenly into a super fantastic world beating team overnight but they have certainly strengthed since last year. Of the players in their team that have the potential to cause us problems it’s likely to be the two upfront, Suarez and Carroll. Let’s hope that the back four continue their current run of form and keep another clean sheet.

This then leaves us to consider the likely outcome for Saturday’s match and given the current public goings on at the clubs the bookies are still making Arsenal the very slight favourites:

Paddy Power: Home Win – 6/4; Away Win – 15/8

William Hill: Home Win – 13/8; Away Win – 7/4

Ladbrokes: Home Win – 11/8; Away Win – 2/1

These odds are taking into consideration current squads and potential starting XI’s but it’s worth considering more previous clashes and determining the likehood of teams scoring from past performance. Castrol football has a great prediction tool that encompasses all these factors and they suggest a greater likelihood of an Arsenal victory. I’ll take that any day and maybe, just maybe, we’ll be pleasantly suprised with Saturday’s performance:

Arsenal Win 59%; Draw 22% and Liverpool Win19%

———————————————————————————————-

In other news, Wenger has been charged by UEFA for his attempts to remain in managerial control during the first leg of the CL qualifier against Udinese. Another case of the footballing authorities of being over zealous in the interpretation of their own rules and it’s not as if he tried to smuggle himself into in dressing room by hiding in the linen basket. It’s unlikely he’ll escape further punishment but to what extent we are yet to see.

Also, there has been confirmation that Joel Campbell’s move to Arsenal has been confirmed. His shirt number is yet to be confirmed as is a work permit, but you would like to hope that the work permit department at Arsenal have completed their homework this time and the application will be agreed first time around.

Roll on Saturday’s match and in a voyeuristic sense that the reaction between the fans and the team/manager will be interesting to say the least. Let’s hope that all the talking is left to the pitch and here’s to an Arsenal win.

Come on you reds!

GG

It’s all a bit crazy at Arsenal

In Arsenal, Cesc, Nasri, Transfers on August 9, 2011 at 10:41 pm

I’m apprehensive about how Arsenal are going to perform during next season.  This coming Saturday there should be huge anticipation about a brand new season, players will have had a good summer break and should be biting at the bit to win something this year to make up for the shortfalls and nearly successes of the recent past (which is far too painful to recall for now). Yet, it doesn’t feel like it.

Instead, we face the prospect of losing the creative spine of our midfield (if Chamakh is to believed) or they may stay (if Rosicky can be persuasive enough).  Others players are supposed to be departing but they’re still being named in the team.  And here lies the problem, where do we turn for concrete information?  Whilst you have to admire Arsenals stance in not disclosing information on new signing until a signing has been completeed, the club recently admitted that they are powerless to prevent the media from creating various frenzies around speculative stories. I am pretty sure they could do a better job in confirming the pure conjecture to avoid confusion – at the time of this posting Arsenal have been linked with 155 potential signings this summer!  I understand that Arsenals scouting network covers many parts of the global but surely if you were looking to bring new faces into the club you would focus on key targets and ensure that everything was completed and successful in the shortest time possible.  I do feel that other clubs in Europe have been more successful that Arsenal in adopting this strategy.

Apparently this week we’re going to potentially see some new faces but I can’t help but feel that this means that we have not leveraged the pre-season friendlies and training enough to embed news players and styles for the start of a new season.  In the past couple of seasons we have had pretty reasonable starts (relatively speaking) but this season the start is somewhat trickier.  We start against Newcastle where the demons of last season second half capitulation need to be put to rest.  This is then followed by the return of Liverpool  who we are yet to beat at home in 3 seasons.  And before the month of August is over there is another home match against a Premier League challenger, Man Utd and you can’t help but think that you cannot waiting for a new team to click when facing such teams.

So yes, it’s all a bit crazy at Arsenal at the moment, the recent changes in the boardroom; players publicly admitting that they have no desire to stay at the club (which hurts when you would like to think that the vast amounts of money would mean that they can actually play for pride rather than concerning themselves with how the household bills will be paid); a lack of conviction in the development and strategy of the team and the club.  But today we live in a crazy world and whilst our civil society is crumbling around us its been quite reassuring to have one constant in life, the goings on of Arsenal FC and whether or not we might hear of that new glimpse of a headline that will give us fans the much-needed hope that our team will put in a credible title challenge this year.  It keeps me going and I still keep the faith, that’s addiction for you!

Later on this week we’ll have a look the squad for this year even though it is bound to change despite some names being included in the Champions League squad.  We can have a look at the strengths and weaknesses of certain positions but trying to nail down actually names to regular positions is currently as reliable at a Mystic Meg prediction.

Until next time!