By Bulldog Drummond
Ere we go ere we go ere we…. well you know the rest. Start of the new season an’ all that.
Actually the Independent thinks maybe we don’t and seriously has
as its lead headline this morning. That’s so passé it is positively out of date, outdated, unfashionable, old-fashioned, outmoded, behind the times, outworn, archaic, obsolescent, obsolete, antiquated, superannuated, defunct, dead, old-fangled, quaint, anachronistic, olde worlde, medieval…
…a bit like our national media on a good day.
But more of them anon.
This is, in case you have not noticed, our 24th consecutive season in the Premier League – and you may like to know that only seven clubs have been members of the Premier League for every season since its inception: Arsenal, Aston Villa, Chelsea, Everton, Liverpool, Manchester United, and Tottenham Hotspur. Not the club we play this weekend. The club formally known as West Ham.
But any of those for relegation this time around? Unlikely, but you never know about Villa.
It is also Arsenal’s 96th consecutive year in the top flight of English football – an all time record (although it is not the 96th season, since there were not football seasons during the second world war – but don’t tell Wikipedia, it would spoil their vision of their all-conquering knowledge).
It will also be the 96th year in a row that Tottenham supporters will claim that Arsenal fixed their promotion and Tottenham’s relegation to the First Division in 1919, without any evidence to that effect whatsoever, despite the fact that there is a prize on offer for anyone with any evidence But then, when you have been saying the same old story for 96 years, I suppose it gets hard to recognise that evidence is actually needed.
And while we are on the subject it is also the 18th season in a row that Arsenal have qualified for the UEFA Champions League. Real Madrid hold the record number of consecutive participations in the UEFA Champions League with 19 from 1997–98 to 2015–16. If only we’d scored four more goals in 1996-7 we’d have come second and entered the Champions League, and so would be equal with Real Mad. But you can’t have everything.
So, what’s new as the season commences…
Well, we launch the new season with a new campaign for a Memorial to the founders of Arsenal’s Highbury dynasty. The last campaign we’ve launched is that for the Unbold Banner which we’ve been told will be up for the game tomorrow, but we’re awaiting confirmation. If we don’t get it we’ll all be running around the stadium trying to see if it is up, and if it is there we’ll try and get some pictures.
Meanwhile I do hope you’ll have a moment to look at the Memorial campaign, and obviously there will be more on this as time goes by.
But back to now…
Arsène Wenger says Jack will be out for four weeks with an ankle injury and that Alexis Sánchez is unlikely to be in the squad. The boss said,
“He came back in surprisingly good shape. I will see. Sunday will certainly come too early but in 10 days he should be all right. I think he came back in a good shape. Will he not be involved at all on Sunday? I don’t know yet. It depends a little bit on what I see tomorrow and who will be available. He understands that perfectly well. He is one of the players who played the World Cup, came back here and played the whole season without a break, goes to the Copa América and basically cannot start the season.”
If he is involved, he will be on the bench, but the squad is so strong I really don’t think even this is likely. Oooospina hasn’t been mentioned, so could also be on the bench.
On the issue of Jack the only good thing about Jack is that he will probably miss the insane games against the mighty San Marino and Switzerland.
On Jack, Arsène Wenger-Wenger (he now has a double barrelled name to commemorate that two consecutive FA Cup wins) said: “It’s bad luck, purely accidental. It’s a hairline crack in his fibula. It’s in the region where they took the screws off so I believe it’s a straightforward bone injury, which means there’s no surprise there. He just needs time to heal. The news he got yesterday was that it could be much shorter than expected because he’s two weeks in a boot and then maybe after that he can practice straight away again.”
As for the players in the fridge [so we have players on the beach instead of the bench, and now we have players in the fridge instead of on loan – this is getting silly – Tony] Serge Gnabry is the latest to go on loan – to WBA. Chuba Akpom has already been loaned to Hull City,
And one other from the man himself, this on pressure over recent years of just getting into the top four while paying for the stadium. “The pressure is really on you when you know you are just on the border of achieving what is absolutely requested. When you know you cannot miss an inch or you are out. That is much more difficult.”
That’s really all the direct news from Arsenalland that their is, there is so the press are doing all they can to find any sort of bizarre tittle-tattle to keep us going. The best I found was Redknapp: ‘Arsenal need to sign more players this month’ which is good enough for me to say, in the immortal words of Sir Hardly Anyone NO DONE DEAL NEVER NO MORE NOT AT ALL. Or something like that. Whatever Arry says, I’ll go the other way. Besides The Ox is reported in the press as saying ‘This is the best squad since I joined’ which is good to know.
Only the Telegraph are being a bit silly really as they respond to Untold’s piece of the rather awful Jonathan Liew by suddenly taking his article All hail Jeff Reine-Adelaide – the new hero of the awestruck Gooners out of the dustbin and re-promoting it on their web site as if it were new.
Quite clearly much of the media is still in shock about Arsenal winning the cup and charity shield twice in a row especially when they told us each time that cup winners don’t win the shield. The Independent today says, “This summer, however, no rival club has damaged Arsenal by buying their best players, nor blown them away by signing someone else’s best.” They sound quite upset by this.
By and large I think we know that, but nice of their Chief Football Correspondent to tell us. I wonder how much a Chief Football Correspondent gets paid. Bulldog Drummond, Chief Football Correspondent; I could go with that. [No chance – Tony] Although I am not sure about his certainty that Arsenal won’t win anything this season.
But the article does have this wonderful bit from Mourinho in the Indy.
Going forward is also spending £300m. We don’t do that.
One could say, Going forward is building a £400m stadium. We don’t do that. At least that would be true.