The season starts today, and right now the summer hasn’t seemed too long. Of course, it’s more down to the protracted transfer sagas that have kept our minds busy – a protracted summer than has seen Kolo Toure, Emmanuel Adebayor, Rui Fonte and Amaury Bischoff leave and only Thomas Vermaelen join us…
But never fear, Arsene is wears the magic hat and the other recent additions of Andrei Arshavin, Samir Nasri and Aaron Ramsey may have been forgotten by many Arsenal fans… including myself… so it’s time to put the ins and outs behind and concentrate on today’s game against Everton…
Everton v Arsenal
Barclays Premier League, Goodison Park
Saturday, August 15, 2009, 17:30
Today’s opening fixture is against last season 5th placed team Everton, so it’s 4th against 5th from last season and it’s a very hard test for the start of the season. Followed up with a game against Celtic away, we’re in for a tough couple of days.
Team news sees us without a whole host of players in Diaby, Walcott, Nasri, Rosicky and Djourou. That is four midfielders out and it’s an area of the field we always seem to have injuries in. Arsene has been adopting his 4-2-3-1 in pre-season and you’d presume it’s more of an away day formation, and surely prevalent in today’s game…
Expected line up today will most probably be:
Sagna – Gallas – Vermaelen – Clichy
Denilson – Song
Bendtner – Cesc – Arshavin
With the bench comprising of: Mannone, Traore, Silvestre, Eboue, Ramsey, Wilshere and Eduardo.
Everton are without a few keys players in Arteta, Saha and a few others, and their expected line up today is:
Hibbert – Yobo – Lescott – Baines
Osman – Neville – Cahill – Fellaini – Pienaar
So, a decent team for Everton, but we definitely have the capability of beating them. Both Arsene and David Moyes have been in the press before the game and Moyes was questionned about Everton’s ability to get into the top four and replace Arsenal, and the Scotsman had this to say:
“Arsenal are not a weak link. They have fantastic players. There will be a challenge from Aston Vill, City and Spurs. They are all rightly getting mentioned to be right up there. It may not be Arsenal who do not stay in the top four – it can be any one of a number of clubs there. It will be harder to finish fifth again – that’s obvious – but I felt it would be harder last season with the likes of Spurs and Newcastle spending. We proved that with a stable club we can achieve success rather than with just the money. There have not been many changes here, it is the same players, so why should we not feel we can finish fifth or better again?”
Not really sure what the reference to Newcastle was, but interesting words from Moyes. And Everton have remained in the top six and if you compare them with the spending of similar clubs, they haven’t spent as much as Villa and Sp*rs. Fellaini was about £17m if I am correct, but can’t really remember them spending too much else…
Arsene was also in the press and talked about the stability of the club as well as that of Everton:
“We have the advantage of stability. We are not in the position where we have too much worry about fitting in the players. We know how we want to play and the players know how we want to play. I believe that can be an advantage. Unfortunately Everton have the same advantage. Overall I feel this is an important game for us,” he went on. “And we are conscious it is the most crucial week of the season. I expect by the end of next week to be preparing for Portsmouth and the second leg of the Celtic tie,” he smiled, “and after that I hope I will be a very happy man.”
Positive words from the boss and it’s a matter of hours before the first game of the season kicks off…
All I have left to say is Come On You Gooners!