Here we are, a day before the start of a new season and unlike most of the recent seasons we are, this time, going in with a feeling that we are better prepared to make an assault on silverware than we been in the recent past.
Of course it wouldn’t have been a summer transfer window without a captain’s saga, and this summer did not fail to disappoint. In fact not since the venomous days of Patrick Vieira have we had a player so blatantly disrespect the club, the manager, and his own legacy. Although Patrick did end up staying at Arsenal, only ending up in Manchester by a roundabout route It would have taken some imagination to predict that RVP would end up at United.
For the record I have no problems with a player’s desire to switch clubs, I fully understand that football is a career like any other and as such changing employers to further your career goals comes with the territory. However what I don’t get is the willingness of any player who has purportedly grown up a fan of a club to destroy his own legacy at that club.
We can take comfort that it will not be as damaging a blow as the Cesc/Nasri saga. Having to lose such influential player so late in the window left us in a lurch, this time around we seem to be a bit more prepared with the signings of Giroud and Podolski.
It’s not all gloom though. At Arsenal there is a real feeling that the current squad is more balanced. In midfield to attack there are a lot more options and variety. One would hope that in Steve Bould we will have some improvement in defence, however I am still worried that in the fullback positions we are short of adequate backup.
The worst period of last season came when all the fullbacks in the first team were injured. Statistically it is a freak occurrence but knowing our issues amongst the football injury gods the worst that can happen will happen. I am confident the the club’s management will see to it that we start the season in better shape than we were at the same time last year.
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I am making a few personal changes this season, the biggest thing is to wean my emotional attachment to Arsenal. In no way me affection for Arsenal will be diminished, I’ll be 100% behind my team doing my job as an Arsenal fan. What I’ll not be is an Arsenal fanatic, too many times during last season I found my mood severely affected by an Arsenal result. Of course you can’t be happy when your team loses but when others around you can tell accurately tell the result even the score by your mood it says something wrong about your emotional state.
I have always though the players purely as paid professionals, assets which the management team deploy as best as the can to achieve the end goal. My mistake was to think them as infallible machines, for example when a player misses a simple pass it would really piss me off. In my mind anyone who has played football all their lives and is paid to play at the top level should make that simple pass. This is true to a certain extent, but they are also human beings and as such will err.
Part of the weaning process will be to watch more non Arsenal football. I’ve always watch Ligue 1, Eredivisie, and some Bundesliga, the plan this season is to write more about those leagues and probably add Serie A to my watchlist. That way I’ll spend less time stewing over an Arsenal result.
I’m more optimistic about this season than I have been about the last few. I really think we have a better “squad” this time around, a better balanced team. No longer can we depend on RvP for goals, the burden has to be shared more amongst the attackers, kind of like when Theirry Henry left. Of course Eduardo & Adebayor could never replace the goal vacuum left by King Theirry.