It’s a week to go and although I’ll get into the World Cup when it comes around, it’s hard to get too excited about this round of friendlies, especially when they are a right royal pain in my arse when it comes to my journey home.
I take the Met Line from Moorgate to Uxbridge and it swings by Wembley Park at the peak worst time to be getting the Met Line. It’ll be 6.30 by the time I get there and when you’ve done a full day of work and you’re in your suit from a day in the office, the last thing you want is sweaty and stupid England fans giving you ‘access all areas’ to their armpits.
My disdain for the average England fan goes back to 2006 when I went to Maidstone to see a friend of The Management’s. It was England vs Trinidad and Tobago I think and we all went to a pub in the town centre. Finding our seats and grabbing a beer, we settled in to watch the match, only to be greeted by ‘ENG-GER-LAND’ supposed ‘fans’ who were more interested in facing away from the TV screens, spilling beer, singing very poor England songs with the occasional bit of xenophobia chucked in for good measure.
And I’ve seen that time and time again from a national team fan. It’s those that aren’t really in to Football who suddenly have an excuse to act like utter oafs. And it’s depressing.
I’ll probably whack the England game on in the background as I’m doing dinner though because I’m intrigued to see what the devil has happened to Joel Campbell. It will be good to see if he’s evolved at all and I also wonder if Emery will be having a look at him too.
That’s the thing about a new manager; it brings a new opportunity for players to have a new lease of life, with each of them probably having spoken to the new man by now and the clichéd ‘clean slate’ being in effect.
It’s a bit of a shame that Emery won’t get to look at all of them in equal measure though due to the World Cup. For some like Joel Campbell you’d hardly expect Costa Rica to go deep in to the competition, so he will probably return to Arsenal earlier than Mesut Özil, for example. But if we had a football-free summer you’d expect Emery to take a bit more time in making his decisions on players.
As it is he’ll probably get a couple of weeks and then that’s it for some. Unless of course he’s already made his mind up. He probably doesn’t need to watch too many videos of Campbell, for example, to see that whilst he’s a good player he’s probably not going to suddenly turn into the all-singing, all-dancing, marauding winger he wants in his team.
With other players like Lucas Perez there might be a chance, especially with the manager preferring people with a high intensity to their game, so Perez might be given a shout in the squad. He’s a guy who will press high, will close down defenders, so might just have a place in the squad. We’ll have to see on that.
But because of the World Cup it does seem as though Emery’s decision making on players is going to need to be rather ubiquitous. Either that or it’ll be truncated in to a very short period of time post World Cup and pre Premier League season.
I just hope he’s got enough in him to be ready for the new season. In the last five years+ its been really frustrating to see us not ready for the start of the season because we’ve given loads of players time off. I haven’t seen that with other top Premier League teams and yet we’ve seemed to be far too relaxed in our approach to the start of too many seasons for my liking.
And ultimately it’s cost us. The good news is that I’m sure Emery will be 100% ready for the new season and hopefully so will the players because of his preparation. I mean just think, right now, of the players who could play on that first game of the season and have had a full pre season:
- Nelson/Lucas Perez
So even if we had no player from the World Cup starting mid-August, we’d still have a first team that should have enough against most opponents in the league, so there really can be no excuses from the first match day.
And Emery will know he can’t afford it either. He needs to get wins under the belt straight away to show that the new regime can cut it in the Premier League. So he’s going to make sure every finer detail is measured and analysed.
Like I’ve been saying for the last couple of weeks – I cannot wait for the new season.
Right, hi-ho, hi-ho, it’s off to work I go, and all that jazz.