I can’t remember ever being this excited about the Barnet game.
This blog is, of course, dedicated to giving eternal support to Arsenal, and so every season is full of hope and expectation, but this one is something else. The last time I felt this good pre-season was after the unbeaten season.
I think the heart of it all is the Arshavin-Rosicky-Eduardo concept. Of course I have no idea if the Lord Wenger sees the three of them on the pitch together, let alone going a stage further and having Arshavin, Rosicky, Eduardo and Van Persie on the field at the same time, endlessly swapping positions, meandering hither and yon, stepping up and back, receiving the ball from Cesc or Denilson.
But tush! I get carried away. It’s only a friendly.
Yet just the vague notion that maybe this could happen is enough to get the excitement higher and higher.
The squad is announced, and I reprint it below – although it is hardly “Untold” since it is on every other site. But maybe just this once I may be excused.
Here’s a quick run down of my opening thoughts on a few of those who appear to be playing.
William Gallas: we’re told it is going to be the last season for him, and he will walk away on a free. A shame because he is a sensational player, and sadly too many will just remember his difficulties as captain.
Johan Djourou: this will be his year. He is a terrific centre half, and the man for the future. By the end of the season he’ll have one of the two centre half spots for himself.
Thomas Vermaelen: you don’t get to be captain of Ajax at the age of six months without being something very special.
Tomas Rosicky: I was there when he went off for the last time, walking straight down the tunnel, full of disgust that his body had let him down. I’ll count it as an honour to be at the game to see him back. If he comes back to full ability, we are in for a treat this year.
Andrey Arshavin: This guy has exceeded my expectations and wildest dreams – and that was in a half season without a proper break. Now he’s settled in, his transfer could be one of the greatest of all times.
Jack Wilshere: Time to step up Jack. You’ve won the double with the kids, now say hello to the big world. I have no doubt he will be calm cool, collecting the ball and hey presto, who needs Cesc?
Francis Coquelin: How far has he come since this time last year when he played in those friendlies as a total unknown (well to me at any rate). I’d put him down as a player who is currently still unknown to many, but who won’t be by the end of the season.
Jay Emmanuel-Thomas: No one who saw the Youth Final at the Ems could have done anything except sit there with mouth wide open (or was that just me?) Brilliant, where ever he turns up. Probably ready for loaning, but just remember whatever glimpse you get of him pre-season.
Jay Simpson: one more season on loan, or now ready for the big time? The friendlies will tell us. He did his level best for WBA, despite all their struggles.
Nacer Barazite: We’ve been waiting and waiting. Will he be ready this year?
Who is missing
Eduardo, Clichy, Sagna, VP, Ade (presumably moving on), Theo, Traore, Cesc, Nasri, Diaby, Toure, Senderos, Vela, Denilson, Ramsey, Eboue, Bendtner.Gilbert, Lansbury, Merida, Gibbs, Henry (but that’s probably because he is with Barca).
Many of these are still on their holidays, or in the case of Merida still playing football. Others are just making way for the kiddiewinks.
(Interesting, actually, I’ve just noticed that on the Arsenal web site, Theo is classified as a forward. Not sure if he was last year. And Song is a defender, not a midfielder – ditto.)
But just look at the squad,
And just in case you want more, take a look at http://www.arsenal.com/first-team/players for a look at the complete first team squad. A trifle mouth watering I would say.
So, its time to get the old Austin Seven out of the fridge, dust off the last-year-at-Highbury shirt, hope the rain stops, put on a silly hat, and head south down the A1, remembering to stop at Barnet rather than heading straight for Arnos Grove.
And on the billion to one chance you are going to be sitting near by and would like to say “hello” Jane and I are sitting in block G seats C1 and C2 in the Main Stand. The ticket says we are adults, but I am not too sure of that. Isn’t it nice to be in a stand without segregation.
If you have been, thanks for reading.
If you want to comment for the first time, please put “Ref Barnet” at the start of your email. If you don’t I might just decide it is a cut and paste job from elsewhere and not let it through.
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