- Which supporters are the most optimistic for the coming season?
- Arsenal v Forest: the last six games and unfair ticket allocations
- Arsenal v Forest: tackles, fouls and yellow cards
- Arsenal v Nottingham Forest: Can we actually get into the ground?
By Bulldog Drummond
Here is the team that played the last game of the season
Trossard Jesus Saka
Xhaka Odegaard Jorginho
Kiwior Gabriel White Partey
Since then Gabriel Jesus has had a minor operation and will be out for a couple of weeks.
This is the team that took on Manchester City in the Community Shield match
Martinelli Havertz Saka
Rice Partey Odegaard
Timber Gabriel Saliba White
Saka is now clearly fine having played against Manchester City. I haven’t seen any update on Jorginho. Balogun had a foot injury but of course there is all the talk of him leaving.
Mo Elneny has been seen back in training of late, but isn’t yet ready to be back in the squad.
Reiss Nelson didn’t play in America having been injured in the training camp in Germany and there have not been any updates on his status for a while.
Jorginhowas absent from the matchday squad for the Community Shield due to a slight muscle issue.
Folarin Balogun has a foot injury, and of course there has been a lot of talk of a transfer ahead of this season
Albert Sambi Lokongais said to have a strain although is thought not to be very serious.
Zinchenko hasn’t played in the pre-season games at all but is said to be “close”, with Arteta saying, “I think he’s going to start training with the team and hopefully we will have him back very soon.”
Other players now available as substitutes or indeed as players ready to play, beyond the players above are Matt Turner, Rob Holding, Takehiro Tomiyasu, Emile Smith Rowe, Fabio Vieira, and Eddie Nketiah. (Unless of course we sold one or more of them and I didn’t notice).
The view of the BBC is that the team that started the Community Shield could be the team that starts this match against Forest, while Matt Turner late of Arsenal could be in goal for Nottingham Forest.
The BBC also tell us that Nottingham Forest’s last win against Arsenal was in March 1989 at Highbury. The last time they got consecutive wins was in September 1978 when their manager was Brian Clough.
And generally, there is a lot of positive thought around Arsenal winning this game with some ease. But if we look at recent seasons where Arsenal have started the season at home, then things look a little less cheery. And this is a rather interesting notion to consider since it does reveal just how rarely the Premier League mandarins allow Arsenal to start at home. In fact the last time this happened was way back in 2018.
But maybe the league were doing Arsenal a favour moving away from a start to the season at the Arsenal Stadium – especially when we look at the record for such seasons…
|12 Aug 2018
|Arsenal v Manchester City
|11 Aug 2017
|Arsenal v Leicester City
|14 Aug 2016
|Arsenal v Liverpool
|16 Aug 2014
|Arsenal v Crystal Palace
The other negative that the media are kicking around is the inability of Arsenal to keep a “clean sheet” in the first match of the season, although in fact that is exactly what Arsenal did for the first match last season, beating Palace away 0-2.
Prior to that it happened on 12 September 2020 with a 0-3 away win at Fulham on the opening day so maybe not quite as rare as the BBC like to suggest. What scallywags these journalists are.
But to be fair to the Corporation, they did come up with one rather jolly fact about Nottingham Forest in that they “have not started a league campaign with an away victory since Kevin Campbell scored in a 1-0 victory over Port Vale in the second tier in 1997-98.”
So that more or less completes the summary of thoughts on the opening game of the season. Just one more to come: the various thoughts on the team. That will be published tomorrow morning before we shoot off to London to see if the electronic gadgets allow us into the ground.
- Sheffield United against Arsenal: past results and possible outcomes
- Arsenal Women v Tottenham Hotspur Women match preview
- What every football club (and most certainly Arsenal) is aiming for.
- The apparent decline of Tottenham and the question of care for players elsewhere
- Positive injury news for Arsenal ahead Monday’s game with Sheffield United