I like Thursday’s. Not as much as Friday’s, but Thursday’s still have faint whiff of the weekend about them and as far as I’m concerned, that’s a-ok with me.
Usually you start to get stories coming out of Arsenal on a Thursday too, even in the pre-season summer lull, stuff always feels like it’s about to happen.
The club are playing the MLS all stars at some ungodly hour tomorrow, but I’m not going to complain, because for those Arsenal fans based in the US who are used to ungodly hours, this is a nice change to proceedings. The only drag would be if you’re a US gooner and the only time your club is in your country, you have to travel for hours on a plane just to get to a game, so ‘props’ to those East Coast based Arsenal fans who have to schlep their way to California. Still, at least you’ll get some nice weather. When I schlep my way to Newcastle for an away game I get nothing of the sort.
It’s a shame I won’t get to see Xhaka play some part live, but there’s so many replays and re-runs these days, that I’ll probably be able to watch the whole 90 minutes by the time I finish work on Friday. So it’ll be interesting to see how our new boy does.
Jack’s impressed, which is always good to hear, although I doubt he’d go on the official site and tell us all “ee’s been a bit sh*t to be honest. That’s £30mil down the khasi if you ask me”, is he? But whilst he’s going to give out plaudits, he doesn’t need to be as effusive in his praise as he did, or be as specific about how he thinks Xhaka will improve the team. I like the idea of somebody in the middle of the park knitting everyone together. I had a conversation with the always interesting Mr Leeder at the back end of last season and he told me that his problem with Arsenal was that it didn’t really look like we had an philosophy any more. Ben often sees things waaaay before me and as he explained that we just don’t seem to have the ‘cohesion’ that Arsène has banged on about, that needs to come from a better midfield. That’s why ol’ Benjy isn’t too fond of Coquelin, because he’s just one component part of midfield i.e. ball winning/tough tackling, that should be just one part of a midfielders job, not the sole remit. Why have a Coquelin and Cazorla to operate a ball winning/ball distributing roll, when you can have a Xhaka doing both, which frees up the opportunity for Arsène to try a different kind of partner alongside Xhaka. Maybe that’s Santi, maybe that’s Wilshere, maybe that’s Ramsey or maybe even that’s Elneny. The important thing is that we have options and we have an opportunity to improve the ‘cohesion’ of that midfield.
There’s some stuff bubbling under the surface about Szczesny joining Roma on a loan-to-buy deal which, if we’re all honest, is probably best for everyone. If I could hazard a guess, I’d say Cech has two more years minimum at the peak, five at the max, but by that time Wojciech will be touching 30 and I’m sure he’ll not want to stick around if he’s not going to be given a shot. A £13million deal is probably fair given his age and the fact Arsenal will have got a couple of years as a loan fee, so he’ll eventually move on with most Arsenal fans blessings, I would have thought.
There’s plenty of other rubbish being trotted out by the papers, but I found the ‘Eddie Howe as Arsène’s successor’ stuff particularly amusing. Not because he’s a bad manager, or because I wouldn’t want him at Arsenal (although I’m not sure how convinced I’d be of it), but because the idea that the board are making any preparations for a new manager at this stage seem quite laughable. They’ve made it quite clear that they’d like to discuss a new deal with Arsène when he’s ready too – despite what can sentiment is – and I have little faith that they have any real clue when it comes to succession planning. Perhaps Ivan might have an idea or two, but Kroenke and the rest of the old boys club? No chance.
Anyway, we don’t have to worry about that just yet, just the fact that we’re going into the new season short on players and in the midst of a bit of an injury crisis. Ahh the life of an Arsenal fan, eh?