An evening wish to you all this Friday evening and today I find myself in Priors Marsten, a small village near Banbury, with my sister and friends in a nice little Granary. It’s been an interesting day, filled with scrabble and clay pigeon shooting and I did manage to hit 15 out of my 25 clay pigeons – which is apparently decent for a beginner. I won’t be able to talk for long, but I’ll touch on few topics. Fristly, as you may already know, Gallas has all but signed for Sp*rs and I did predict this a long while back. It’s something that I thought after the season, as he was the type of person who would do that just for the sake of it. He is an excellent footballer, but is a nightmare in the dressing room. For me, I think we could have done with his football ability at the club for another season – but at the same time, he is 33 years old and past his best. For ‘Arry Redknapp, it makes a lot of sense as he loves ex-Arsenal players and wants to strengthen his defence. For us, we shouldn’t really worry about it as if we get Squillaci to add to our other players, we’ll have a very good balance.
Arsene spoke on Gallas:
“”He can be, sometimes, a little bit brutal or impulsive in his reaction. But when you are a manager, he is not someone who talks behind your back. He is somebody who is straight and is completely focused on the game. You respect that. I tried to keep him here but no [I am not disappointed]. I respect that in our game we are in a professional world where he had an offer which was not good enough at the start, then I turned somewhere else. You have to accept that. William is a professional, he is 33 this year and so I can understand he looks for the best possible deal. I believe deeply that he had nothing against the Club. There was a difference at the start, which explains that.”
Koscielny is apparently held in very high regard, so we’ve hopefully increased the quality of our first choice centre back. Interesting comment from Arsene about him being “brutal” and “impulsive”, ultimately he was a bad egg and it’s better that he’s gone…!
Looking at teams news ahead of tomorrow’s game, we’ve got Song, Cesc and Djourou back in the squad and rumours are that they are all going to start. I think our line up tomorrow will be:
Fabianski (as Almunia is “affected” by speculation)
Sagna – Djourou – Vermaelen – Clichy
Song – Diaby
Walcott – Cesc – Arshavin
With a bench of Mannone, Gibbs, Eboue, Wilshere, Rosicky, Chamakh, Vela
And if Djourou isn’t quite ready, then Song could deputise, and Wilshere could come in. I think Van Persie will get the nod as he needs game and a game against Blackpool at home is a good way to get into the groove.
We’ve got some problems in the goalkeeping department with the Schwarzer deal not happening – especially with Fulham telling us not to make further bids – I don’t want to do a Barcelona – so let’s leave it and switch our attention to Shay Given. Almunia is worst effected, as number one, the message is clear – we don’t trust him – and if we don’t get another keeper, we’ll have an even worse problem on our hands. Arsene tried to distance himself regarding Schwarzer and said:
“I am not responsible for the Fulham statements. I never speak about the transfers, the offers, anything made about the players, because we have so many talks in football that are never concluded. It is always simple if you want to buy a player and the club doesn’t agree: they say no so there is not a lot to talk about.”
So, tomorrow, is our first home game, the unveiling of the new stands and the clock from highbury – a bumper issue for the programme and Cesc’s first programme notes of the season – I can’t wait… Come on you Arsenal…