By Walter Broeckx
So by now we should be in panic mode if we should believe the media. When I write this not a ball has been kicked by an Arsenal player in a league match and yet the end of the season is near. Once again we are doomed and lost. Why? Ah because they say so.
Wenger has said that there is a chance he might not buy anyone else before the transfer window shuts. Hordes of desperate Arsenal fans are running towards cliffs to throw themselves off it. Or are searching their closets to find the black bin bags so they can organize the next protest march in and outside the Emirates. A single man sitting near the players is printing his ‘spend the f*cking money’ plate again ready to hold it up in front of Arsène Wenger when he sets a foot inside the Emirates.
As Tony said in his earlier article the media do like to throw a bit of mud in the direction of Wenger whenever they can.
I have said it a few times already : I am comfortable with the squad we have. This group of players managed to keep up the pace with Chelsea once we had a reasonable number of injuries rather than an excessive number. And the core of players has been kept. People might point at some players having left but Podolski, Sanogo (loan to Ajax it seems), Jenkinson (loan to West Ham) were not involved in that time of the season as they also were loaned. In fact nobody who was involved in our good run has left. So we are not weakened at all.
One could say that with Cech we have added a great goalkeeper (maybe at the cost of one leaving in the next weeks) so in that department we are very well stocked.
For the rest we have added Debuchy to the team again, Wilshere after his injury. Walcott (who was very much part time player after his injury) is back. Certainly for Walcott having a complete pre-season will help him a lot. One could say that that is 3 players who haven’t played a lot last season because of being kicked to shit and who now are ready to go and fight for their place. In my opinion 3 extra players already.
I know other teams have bought. But for heavens sake… £49m for Sterling…. What are they smoking at Manchester City one could say. That is simply ridiculous. Manchester City keeps on going the way they have been going since the sheik walked in with his money in his pockets. Spend, spend, spend… for a talented player but surely he is not worth that much money.
Meanwhile Manchester United has also been spending again. The big spenders of last year have now added Schneiderlin and Schweinsteiger to their team. The latter with all respect is on the way back in his career. Yes he will probably shine on a few occasions but for a player that has spent a bit of times on the side lines with a knee injury and couldn’t really fix his starting spot at Bayern Munich in the last seasons it is a bit of a strange move from United.
Long time (according to the media) Arsenal target Schneiderlin also went to United. Two more or less the same players for that much money sure seems a bit strange. Certainly after having paid a lot of money for Blind the summer before. But hey, if they want to throw the money away, who am I to stop them.
Liverpool will now probably spend all the Sterling money on Benteke and so he might become the next Carroll. In a way Benteke reminds me a lot of Heskey. Another high profile signing that didn’t really deliver what they had in mind.
Last summer I read this about Liverpool and their transfer window dealings: Southampton trio Rickie Lambert, Adam Lallana and Dejan Lovren have been snapped up, as have Emre Can, Lazar Markovic, Javier Manquillo and Divock Origi. Oh, and the small matter of Mario Balotelli. From 2nd place to 6th place was the outcome.
Now again I have seen six names added to the players list by Liverpool and then there isn’t even a mention for Origi who was on loan in Lille. So again almost a complete new team to start the season with. As Tottenham has found out, not really the ideal way to improve that easily.
Meanwhile Arsenal is playing the waiting game. With most players being fit we do seem to have enough in the locker for me. Even in the DM position we have the best of the last six months in place and we have two backups in Arteta and Flamini. Two older players who will accept sitting on the bench easier than a Schneiderlin would do, I can imagine.
And Wenger has said that if the right player becomes available for a decent price he will do some business. But for the moment the player he has in mind seems not to be available and so he will not throw his money away in order to calm down the more hysterical part of our fans. Maybe they could ask their doctor if he can give them something to feel more relaxed.
I don’t need those pills to feel happy. I just look forward to the players we have. I look forward to the duel between Hector and Mathieu for the right back spot which will be interesting. Or at left back where Gibbs has to work his way back in the team. Maybe using his right foot might help him doing that? Or how Gabriel will impose himself now he is here from the start.
Will Jack also have a look at the more defensive midfield spot to make it his own? I am looking forward to see Santi do his magic again by dancing around his opponents with those little legs that can do such great dribbles. Getting water in my mouth from seeing Özil do his gliding over the field with ease and suddenly producing that killer ball to one of his forwards.
I hope that The Ox explodes this season and finally starts to become a 15 goal scorer a season. That is the one thing that he should improve on and he is getting at the right age to do this. I love to see Ramsey do his running again all over the field and score goals from midfield. I want Giroud to shut his haters up and score goals and assist other strikers.
I dream of Theo picking up where he left before his injury and score goals like he did in the last matches of the season and be a force to our attack. And then we still have Alexis to come back from South America and produce his energetic displays.
Why should I worry? So many good players, a team that could keep the pace with Chelsea when we had only a handful of injuries any more. Much more who are back even now. So I really see no reason to worry.
Looking back through previous pre-season
- 1996: The pre-season games as Rioch was sacked
- 1997: Before the second double – (updated)
- 1998: Back to sausages after the caviar.
- 1999: Games against Monaco and Saint-Étienne
- 2000: The big transfers but a poor pre-season
- 2001: Campbell arrives, and the prelims to the third double
- 2002: Gilberto’s first game in the tri-team tournament
- 2003: Before being unbeaten (revised & expanded)
- 2004: The Preseason in the midst of the 49
- 2005: The end of Highbury and the Arsenal-Chelsea bust up
- 2006: Pre-season and the opening of the Emirates
- 2007: A hectic round of transfers and a full schedule
- 2008: Beating Real Madrid
- 2009: The media and Uefa against Eduardo
- 2010: Koscielny joins the crazy gang in Warsaw
2011-2015 will be added in the coming days
- 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
- Arsenal’s finances stay secure but we can expect more price rises for fans
- How a 14th monk described Arsenal’s failure to buy Moisés Caicedo and Mykhailo Mudryk