Howdy peeps, hope Wednesday is treating you well thus far, and you haven’t exploded in anticipation for the showpiece trophy of the year this weekend?

Yep, it’s the Emirates Cup that awaits us on Saturday and Sunday and Arsène is certainly one that falls in to the ‘excited anticipation’ camp, if you believe what he says on the official site. Personally I think it’s got more to do with the fact he doesn’t have to take his team halfway across the world in searing heat, rather than the prestige of the competition or opportunity to assess his squad options ahead of the new season, but I’m turning into a mid-30s cynic so that probably gives you a bit more insight in to what I read in to things more than anything else. 

To be fair to Arsène he did say that the opportunity to be in front of a home crowd and not have the usual pressure and tension is a big part of it and I wonder if there’s a little part of him that is dreading having the start of the season and the A4 paper out. He knows that the situation he’s in at the moment is precarious with some of the fanbase and with some it’s beyond repair, so he also knows he’s only a home defeat away from the atmosphere beginning to turn sour again, so perhaps this weekend is a tournament he looks on with some pleasure. 

It’ll also be a mostly young crowd and certainly nobody in the pocket of people I stand with on regular matchdays will be there, so there’s more of an element of excitement in the crowd at these games too, but let’s not lose sight of what it is: an important part of the pre season preparation. This weekend we need to start to see the side coming together and partnerships beginning to be forged. We need to see more of a first team squad and we need to see a more cohesive unit than what was on display in the birds nest stadium last Saturday.

I think we will. I suspect there will still be plenty of young players on display, but hopefully the bulk of the team is the first team squad and who knows, maybe being that close up to Naby Keita of Red Bull Leipzig will convince Arsène to splash a bit of cash on the guy. I’d love that. Bet you would too. And let’s not forget that it is possible. Wenger went to the World Cup and got in Gilberto off the back of it, so why not have a punt at the talented Guinean. That’d certainly be a dream scenario.

Also, we’ve had so many instances of being ‘on the verge’ of signing players like Mata, Higuain, etc over the years, that wouldn’t it be nice to be on the receiving end of a player someone else has their heart set on (Liverpool), but we steal a match and get in there quicker? I think so. I’d love a bit of it.

Everyone bar Alexis is back in the UK now and things are starting to get back to normal, so the hope is we start to get the rumblings of player departure and acquisition, because we certainly need it if we’re going to have some hope of winning the league. This current squad doesn’t do it for me at the moment I’m afraid. Sure, there might be a charge at picking up points and sure, we may find ourselves in a good position at some stage, but over a sustained period of nine months I don’t see this current team challenging. Hope I’m wrong, but if Wenger believes they can, then the ‘catalyst for change’ was just another piece of media spin to keep us hoping over summer.

Come on Arsenal, show your teeth, get this team looking fierce enough for an assault on the Premier League.