Friendlies, eh? If you win em, you get “it means nothing, just a fitness session”, but lose and it’s “we’ve got no chance next season” until the next time the team play.
So after a 3-0 drubbing at the hands of Chelski, it’s the latter that some people are saying on this Sunday and with the whole team pretty much underperforming, it didn’t really make for much fun to watch either.
The good news is it can be forgotten very quickly. The team that Arsène picked to start was certainly makeshift and whilst Conte played almost a full strength side minus Hazard and Morata, you could tell that Chelski were better prepared. They popped the ball around quicker, they exposed a very shaky Arsenal defence and I lost count the amount of times that Willian or one of the other forwards got in behind our back three in the first half.
I’d be a little bit worried, if it was a full strength side that played, but in reality the current champions just took advantage of some of the inexperience that we had in our side. We played Brammall at left wing back, Maitland-Niles at centre half with Mertesacker and Monreal, and it was the youngsters that made a few mistakes throughout that led to some very good chances for Chelski, even if they didn’t always take them.
Hey, it happens. We need to give these young players this kind of experience and whilst it isn’t the funnest way to spend ones Saturday lunchtime, at least there were one or two positives, in individual performances. Like Aaron Ramsey, for example, who I thought got about the pitch well enough and looked lively. With fitness often being a big challenge for the Welshman, it’s good to see him have a decent pre season and if I remember rightly, it was a positive pre season that he had before that wonder season in 2013/14 that set the tone. I remember seeing journalists like John Cross specifically name checking Rambo on that summer and he’s standing out again along with Iwobi and Nelson for me. So that’s what I prefer to focus on rather than the dogs dinner of a defensive display.
Next weekend it’s the Emirates Cup and they’ll be more opportunities for people to get excited again, so let’s not over analyse just yet.
Post game was probably more interesting than the match itself, as Arsène was asked about Alexis and PSG and responded simply that it was an imagination of the press. I’m actually at the stage where I’m thinking ‘hope not’ because I really don’t want to see Alexis rocking up for Chelski or City after this upcoming season. Especially if they haven’t had to pay him a penny. We’ll see what happens though.
He also talked about the balls up of Giroud not being on the line up and the performance as a whole, citing fatigue for the players, rather than the humid conditions. Let’s just hope that fatigue goes away pretty quickly, because the last thing we need is for the team to start the season knackered!
I’m sure it’ll be fine. They all wear these little monitors that analyse performance, so they’ll know who is at what level in terms of fitness and I suspect those that need it will probably also get a game for the Borehamwood fixture which is also upcoming.
So that’s pretty much it for today. We’ll still have the Alexis stuff hanging over our heads all this week, we still don’t know if the business is all done, and we still have contracts to sort out and players to move on. It needs to all start happening soon though, as we’re already fast approaching August, so I hope we get something moving along next week at some stage.
Catch you tomorrow.