Football is back, the Euros start today…

Of course England will not be participating, so we'll be watching the tournament from a different perspective now. From the polls, we can see that most Arsenal fans are supporting Spain and France. Pretty much in support of Thierry (who is currently injured) and current and previous French players and the French connection we have through Arsenal. And of course, Spain, for Cesc's involvement.

Personally, I'd like to see Romania win it, because that's the team I've been drawn with in my office Euro 2008 sweepstake, but of course with Italy, Holland and France in the same group, I realistically don't stand a chance...!

I think Germany have a very good chance of winning the tournament as they've got a good blend of youth and experience and pedigree in big tournaments... but I'd prefer a French win, just for Arsene and in hope that we've secretly signed Nasri (which doesn't look likely now!)...

The tournament is live on BBC and ITV so we'll all be able to watch it, and the first game is Switzerland vs Czech Republic. The game will see Djourou and Senderos partnered together at the centre of defence, so come on the Swiss!

Arsene is commentating on French radio and television throughout the tournament so expect a few quotes emanating from Le Boss. He's started already and has been talking about players to watch, who's hot, who's not...

“What has changed in these major tournaments is that you don’t really discover players any more. You expect (Cristiano) Ronaldo and Thierry Henry to be up there but I am now looking at younger players like Gomez, Benzema and Modric.

“Apart from all the stars we know, these could be the three players who will be interesting to watch and maybe see overall if they can perform physically and stand out.”

It’s been an eventful week for all Arsenal fans as it looks like Hleb is off to Barcelona or anywhere… football does seem like an awfully greedy game sometimes. With Flamini already departed, speculation that Ade and Cesc will be off too is rife and Arsene moved again yesterday to confirm that they’d both be here next season:

“I don’t know why I have to reassure them – Fabregas will be at Arsenal next season. It is obvious to me and there is no doubt in my mind.”

“Adebayor is under a firm contract that he extended last year. If Milan are interested in Adebayor, they just have to call me and they will get the answer they deserve.”

Ade reiterated the stance:

“I am very happy here. Reports which suggest I have threatened to quit are rubbish. I love the club and the fans. We have a great set of players here with a fantastic team spirit. We have had a good season, but next year we want to go one better by winning a trophy.”

So Milan, if you do call an offer the £32m that’s been in the papers, then Arsene will tell you politely and firmly to that the player is not for sale… did you say £32 million? Hmm, sorry, I said, he’s not for sale? £32 million and Kaka? Er, no thanks!?!?

Okay, enough transfer talk, let’s look forward to the friendlies. We’ve got an action packed pre-season, which starts at Barnet and continues through the Emirates Cup and of course the Amsterdam tournament.

Arsenal.com confirmed today that we’ll be taking part in the Amsterdam tournament and the tournament will see us re-united with Ajax (who we seem to play every year regardless of this tournament) and Sevilla who beat us in the Champions League last season. The confirmed dates and fixtures are:

Friday, August 8
Internazionale v Sevilla (6pm UK time)
Ajax v Arsenal (8.15pm UK time)

Saturday, August 9
Arsenal v Sevilla (6pm UK time)
Ajax v Internazionale (8.15pm UK time)

I’ll be sunning it up in Fiji for both the Emirates Cup and the Amsterdam tournament, so JAT, Bob and the rest of the boys will have to represent for me…

And on a sour and dour note, Alex McLeish has talking recently on Eduardo’s injury and how it was the major factor in us not winning the league. How true.

I’ll leave you with a quote from young Philippe Senderos, who has high hopes for Switzerland later today:

“We have got high hopes but we know we are a small country and we still have a lot to do to battle for trophies with the national team. The first game is massive and we have to concentrate on that, then go from there.

“But I think we have reasons to believe we can do it. We have had very good results in the last few years in competitions. To go out of the World Cup without conceding a goal was a great achievement for us so hopefully we can build on that and continue.”

Good luck big Phil!

Here’s to an exciting first day of the tournament and a sneaky signing from Arsene???

‘Til then!]]>