So, lots to talk about this Saturday, eh?
How about with the fact that Arsenal had their first pre-season friendly of the summer yesterday evening, with a game in France against RC Lens. Unfortunately I was on babysitting duties, so didn’t get the chance to watch the game in full, but i’ve read a match report on the official site and by all accounts it appears to have been a decent run out for the players. It seems Lens are a little bit more advanced than the Arsenal players who were on display yesterday, but I believe that their season starts a little bit earlier than ours, so you’d expect that I suppose.
The worrying thing that I saw though, having championed Calum Chambers all summer and at the bar k end of last season, was his completely mistimed header, which led to the Lens goal. It was a bizarre mistake because it looked like he was nodding it back to Big Per, but Autret latched on to the ball and capitalised on the youngsters mistake. Hey, he’s a good player, one mistake won’t define his career, but these are the types of games that he should be trying to make his mark and establish himself, so whether or not each little mistake like this makes a difference in the managers mind, only time will tell.
We saw a number of players yesterday and as you’d expect, there were large-scale changes at half time, but having only seen the Ox’s goal so far, I can only really comment on that finish. It was a very composed one and looked very controlled. My hope for this season is that the Ox steps up his game. It’ll be a year later than I predicted, but I think we’d all be happy to see him establish himself in a position in the side and if Chambers’ mistake could be a black mark against him in the managers eyes, you have to say the Ox’s finish would be a big green ‘tick’. The manager was a little cautious in his praise for the Ox though, saying that he’s cautious because he’s still returning to fitness having spent much of last season out. I kind of get that to be fair, because as Wilshere showed last pre season, it only takes a pre season training tackle to derail an injury-prone players season completely. The Ox needs more games like this under his belt and he needs to show what he is made of come that first game against Liverpool in about three weeks time.
Now, on to the other stuff, which is inevitably transfer-related. The club announced Rob Holding from Bolton on an undisclosed fee and what was quite telling was the clubs final line in the announcement. You’ve got to hand it to the people at Arsenal, for all of the social media angst and anguish that is taking place this summer, at least those at the club understand fan sentiment. Or perhaps everybody at the club is giving Ivan a collective look of disapproval for his comments in that article on Thursday, because not only have they made a conscious effort to say “there will be more signings”, but even Arsene said it yesterday in his post match interview. He did also say, sadly, that he didn’t think that many people would move until mid-August, but I’m hoping that’s just him posturing, because that means we’ll be going in to the start of the season against Liverpool with a threadbare attack.
There has been some noises today about Mahrez, but I’m still not convinced that’s anything other than media tittle-tattle, because Leicester have him on a long-term deal and I don’t think he’s the sort of player to go on strike or hand as transfer request in. He’s therefore going to command a big fee and I’m not sure Arsenal will pay over £40million+ for a player who has admittedly had a great season, but only one season. It is mental when you think that just three years ago we got Mesut Ozil for £42million, where as these days that figure will be closer to £60-£70million, such is the crazy nature of the market right now.
But that is where we are. We will have to wait and see what transpires over the next week and whether all of the recent comments on announcements, etc, will lead to some sort of action or some sort of bluster that turns out to be nothing.
Right, I’m off ski, as I’ve things to do and sunshine to enjoy. Adios for now.