We’re back baby…. With a nil nil draw, but at least we’re back right! So a nil nil bore draw and believe me it was quite boring, how did this happen? I hate to be the kind of guy that quotes himself but let me quote myself from a couple of weeks ago:
Back to the Arsenal, 18 days before the season starts and there’s plenty to be sorted out. Are the players fit enough? With only one friendly left to play (in Cologne) , Wenger has indicated that Podolski and Giroud may not be fit enough to start the season and will been to be introduced gradually. Those of you that read my blog last week will know my thoughts on the actually practicalities of a Far East preseason tour. Yes, we’ve raised our profile in the Far East and we’re now likely to receive favourable commercial offers from the region but we’ve also got a squad who aren’t ready to start the season as we require. Like I stated last week, we’re not the only ones on foreign shores, so are we all willing to sacrifice the good of the team in the short term for long term commercial gain? Apparently so.
Saturday’s performance was rusty, slight heavy legged, and ultimately we resembled a team that were a week or two short of full fitness. Giroud and Podolski had only played 45 off mins in Cologne, so to point a finger at their performance is completely unfair. As I said in the quote above we effectively sacrificed 2 potential points for commercial reward in the Far East.
Looking at the positives from Saturday, well it was nice and sunny for a start; also the hype about Cazorla may just be true. He was brilliant. It’s only one game but he single handedly controlled parts of the game and his ball distribution was that of a Spanish matador. Once (not if) we get Poldi and Giroud up and running, Cazorla will be enjoying the slack defending the Premier League has to offer.
Away from the pitch the transfer market has hotted up, out go Van Pursey (and the child inside him) and Alex Song. I’m not wasting my energy on the former but I was quite sad to see Song leave. Stories from some talk about his slack attitude and a refusal to negotiate a new contract even though quotes from Song contradict this. Regardless, he got his ‘dream’ move to Barcelona. I’ve been slightly annoyed at many on twitter playing down the impact Song had on our last season, while he did have his wandering moments, his contribution at times was vital. Unfortunately like many in the recent past, Song turned his back on the Wenger project seeking pastures new, so likes the others he will be replaced.
Nuri Sahin’s signing is imminent but the saga is dragging on with a Mourinho led Real Madrid reluctant to agree a buy clause at the end of the loan deal, why? Because Madrid know that Sahin is likely return to form at Arsenal under Wenger’s stewardship and a reduced sell on fee will mean losing out in the long term.
Other players have been linked too, with many people waiting on the new messiah, the saviour of all our footballing sins, a defensive midfielder. Do we need one? I believe we do need a dependable screen but why can’t three midfielders (let’s say Arteta, Sahin and Carzorla) do this effectively? Those three players, in a mature and disciplined manner, would retain protection and through holding their positions but also constantly moving the ball. My point is this need for a defensive midfielder is turning into a search for a universal panacea but it’s not that simple , the players need to be disciplined enough to understand they have a role in defending as a team and this defensive midfielder does not give them free reign to wander.
Our favourite fixture is up next, Stoke away with Liverpool away the week after. We need to be up and firing asap. The first game of the season will always be tricky and the expectations by fans will out weigh the readiness of the players fitness, so let’s think of it as a point gained than two lost!
Come on the Arsenal!
Have a good day all!