The season is almost upon us
Let’s start with the big news of the day. Finally, Arsenal have signed a defender. A world class defender with an amazing pedigree no less! That’s right, Arsenal have signed Christian Karembeu to be a talent scout. The ramifications are obvious and we can all breathe easier now that a big name defender has joined the ranks. Thank you Arsenal.
Moving on, the French Ligue 1 got underway this weekend and Marouane Chamakh must have been exhausted. You see, apparently he’s not sleeping as a result of his anxiety concerning a possible move to Arsenal. That makes it even more impressive that he was able to score a goal in Bordeaux’s comfortable 4-1 win over Lille. Maybe he should take some Ambien because I don’t think he’s going to have a resolution to his transfer saga any time soon.
Due to a “medical” problem related to drinking and walking into a door, I was unable to blog yesterday, but the topic on everyone’s mind was the disappointing 2-0 defeat at Valencia. It’s a game best left in the past but it deserves at least a cursory mention. As I said in an audioboo on Twitter today, it was the last pre-season game and you can forgive the players if they were just going through the motions a bit. The weather was nasty, the pitch was in poor condition and the priority was coming through the match healthy. The players are probably ready to get the “practice” games behind them and start playing some meaningful football. It was a poor showing. No denying it. But since it doesn’t matter, let’s not overdo it on the reaction. There’ll be plenty of time for overreaction once the season starts. True, the defending was worrying again, but we know what we’re up against in that department. I don’t think the game at the Mestalla brought it into any clearer focus.
The news you’ll be ignoring today is all about Cesc Fabregas and Barcelona’s renewal of their renewed, reinvigorated, ressurected, re-engineered efforts to bring him to the Camp Nou. This version of the story involves a 25 million pound transfer fee plus several dozen Barcelona squad players. It really doesn’t matter what the story says because it’s not going to happen so let’s just leave it there.
As the start of the league season approaches there are still a lot of unanswered questions. We still don’t know if any players will be signed before the transfer window slams shut. We don’t know if Rosicky will be able to contribute this season, if Eduardo can stay healthy and when Nasri will return. We don’t know what we’re going to get from Jack Wilshere or Aaron Ramsey or Thomas Vermaelen for that matter. We haven’t seen Carlos Vela at all, although he has been fantastic for Mexcio. But the biggest unknown is simply who will be on the pitch Saturday afternoon at Goodison Park when the referee blows his whistle. Will we line up in a 4-3-3 or, after an entire pre-season without seeing it, will the 4-4-2 return?
I think we have a great team. I think when we’re healthy, and with an addition or two, we can compete for top honors this season. But that’s not the current situation. Here’s a possible starting eleven for Saturday:
Arshavin – Van Persie – Walcott
Song – Cesc – Diaby
Clichy – Gallas – Djourou – Sagna
It’s not terrible. I’m not sure it’s great. But that’s probably what we’ll see. Bendtner might come in for Walcott. Denilson might start in place of Diaby. Other than that, it’s hard to imagine another lineup unless Wenger reverts to the 4-4-2 unexpectedly. Looking at that lineup there are some areas that are worrying. It’s certainly not the best midfield pairing in the world. It will get stronger when Nasri returns and if Rosicky comes back to full fitness, but at the moment, it’s a little suspect.
That’s what makes life with Arsene Wenger so frustrating at times. When you look at that lineup you can’t help but think, “if only we had one more really good defensive midfielder, we’d be a very intimidating side.” If the name next to Cesc read Xabi Alonso instead of Diaby, that lineup would look so much more solidifed. A Nasri, Cesc, Alonso midfield would be formidable indeed. But that’s all just conjecture and water under the bridge at this point. Maybe another midfielder will arrive, but we can’t sit around dreaming about it any more. The time has come to rally around the team we have, not the team we’d like to have.
So as the start of the new season draws nearer, get excited and get into a positive frame of mind. Maybe Denilson isn’t your favorite player. Maybe you’re not a fan of Alex Song. At this point, they’re our players and this is our team. It’s time to get behind Arsenal and support them properly.
Now the countdown is really on.