“London calling to the farway towns/ Now war is declared and battle come down.”
It’s here, you know. That’s right, folks, the 22nd edition of the Premier League season is upon us, battle has indeed- as Joe Strummer once sang- come down. I hope you all have had productive summers, enjoying the sunshine, the cricket, the tennis, the Lions and whatever else may have taken your fancy. Let’s face it, if you’ve spent the last three months waiting for Arsene Wenger to unveil some shiny new additions to a squad which has been streamlined since May’s 1-1 draw at Newcastle (oh, hang on…), you have been engaged in a colossal waste of time. And are probably, not unreasonably in my view, mighty hacked off.
Me? I’ve been enjoying the sunshine, the cricket, the tennis, the Lions- life as a fully functioning member of the human race. I was pretty surprised to discover that this my first LadyArse blog for two months and only my second entry since I wrote after the win at Newcastle confirmed our entry into the final Champions League qualifying round. Ok, so I wrote an article for the first Gooner fanzine of the new season, but that was only to say how much I’d enjoyed not stressing about Arsenal this summer, instead enjoying the cricket, the tennis, etc… you get my point, I think.
That being said, and speaking of surprises, if you had said to me, in the immediate aftermath of that Newcastle match, we would be five days away from the resumption of Premier League business and only have added an, injury prone, young French striker to our ranks, I would have laughed at you. Hard. There maybe people out there who are more cynical than me and therefore utterly unsurprised that Arsenal are almost exactly as they were three months ago. Ok, so we’re not exactly as we were as London Colney has seen its very Night of the Long Knives; Gervinho, Chamakh, Arshavin, Mannone, too many names to mention given up on and cast out into the footballing wilderness. Incidentally, whoever managed to get €8m for Gervinho deserves some kind of monument outside the stadium in my book. Are there any unnamed bridges left, perhaps?
Fall guys these people may have been, but it’s difficult to look at the player cull as having any other immediate effect than weakening us massively. I know… I know that the guys who have gone have gone for a reason, but up until reinforcements arrive, we are only a couple of injuries away from a major headache. You don’t need me to go into the deficiencies of the squad, mainly because everyone knows what they are and even Arsène acknowledged them himself after Saturday’s win against Manchester City. It’s obvious that players will be arriving and, bearing in mind the almost total lack of makeweight signings we have made this summer, I am inclined to think we may actually end up quite happy with what we get. It’s just the frustration of feeling as though Arsène, Dick and Ivan have fiddled as London has burned. Three months to make signings in, a month of being able to bed new signings in with new teammates, new methods and it’s gone. We are now less than three weeks away from the closure of the transfer window. With league fixtures coming up thick and fast, not to mention the Fenerbahce facing qualification round, any new signings will have to hit the ground running.
Ah, you may say, but it may not be Arsenal’s fault if clubs, e.g Liverpool with Suarez, are not playing ball. You know what? After watching Arsenal botch window after window, I’m not inclined to give Arsenal the benefit of the doubt here. And, to paraphrase Joe Pesci in Casino, “what the fuck are we doing sniffing around Luis Suarez anyway?” Yes, he’s a great player, I get that. But aside from the fact he’s a total scumbag… Yes, I know, aside from that; if Liverpool aren’t prepared to sell when offered £40m, then is it really worth chasing around someone who will fuck us as soon as Real Madrid come calling for him? I can’t believe Le Boss honestly thinks it is. It’s all a bit desperate for me.
You will have noticed, no doubt, that I skipped past Arsenal’s win at the weekend. Pleased as I am that we beat Moneybags City 3-1, it was a pre season game and I was busy watching the magnificent Alan Partridge film, so I didn’t see any of it. I did see the second half of the Napoli match the other week, as I was in a pub with @agilebeast, but that was only memorable for the guy who rocked up in The Twelve Pins about half hour after the game finished and asked us what the score had been. When we told him, he didn’t believe us. He’d left the ground at half time.
That, for me, sums up a situation Arsenal could find themselves in quite early on this season. Patience is at an all time low and I think that’s a shame because the players put together quite the little run towards the end of last season. Thanks to the perceived inaction of the manager, the goodwill that run generated appears, now, to be held together like candy floss. A little bit of turbulence at the season’s start will see it blowing in the wind.
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