It’s finally here – the start of the Premiership season. We face Sunderland at home and it’s a new Arsenal squad for us this season. It’s an interesting upheaval of the squad and we’ll see where the new Arsenal takes us. It’s unusual to see so much activity and change to the first XI, but it seems that Arsene is not letting anything in the way of our success any more – if a player doesn’t want to be here, move him on – sign players of quality that want to be here.
Before we talk about Van Persie and Song, let’s take a look at my predicted team line up…
Coquelin – Mertersacker – Vermaelen (c) - Gibbs
Arteta - Diaby
Walcott - Cazorla – Gervinho
With a bench of… Fabianski, Santos, Djourou, Jenkinson, Ramsey, Oxlade, Giroud
With Song so heavily linked away from the club, even if he is still with us come the game, he won’t feature. Arshavin, Bendtner and Park will also be missing from the match squad, I presume, all those three looking for new clubs.
The first XI looks very interesting to me – I’ve taken out Giroud and put in Gervinho because the Ivorian looks much more fit & raring to go than this time last season – he has been very impressible in pre-season and I’m just drooling over seeing him play with Cazorla and Podolski. Giroud has been good too, and we’ve got a good 14 / 15 players who could all be considered first team and it’s anyone’s guess who will start and who will be better than someone else. I’m basing the line up above and opinions purely on the Cologne friendly!
The key thing for us is not the issues off the field, but the performances on the field. A good start will put us into good stead, and it’s really important to win tomorrow. We had a very bad start last season and despite a good patch of form, we never quite made it. This season has to be different. Of course, we have a new leader in TV5… and here’s a snippet from his programme notes tomorrow:
“It makes me really happy and proud to be Arsenal captain – it’s a real honour. I won’t change the way I am, though. The boss makes you captain because of the way you are, so I won’t change how I am in the dressing room or outside. I want to lead by example, and do as well as I can on the pitch. Maybe I am not much of a talker away from the pitch, but I want to lead the team through the way I play. Every captain is different, everyone has his own personality and does it in his own way. Robin did it really well last year, and of course what he did on the pitch was great as well. But away from that he did a lot of team building, making sure the team was a real team, and I want to do things like that as well.”
I think TV5 will be an excellent leader – he has a little bit of a tendency to go forward, which may be good to cut out… but overall, he leads by example and that’s what we need.