World Cup week is upon us and that means we have something else we’ll be able to talk about for a whole month, enabling us to detach ourselves from the drivel that cones from the click-bait nonsense that the media want to serve up to us like the ad revenue hungry so-and-so’s that they are.
For me it’s also a great time to take a look at new players, or potentially new players and with Lichtsteiner and Torriera playing for Switzerland and Uruguay respectively, it’s good that we have that little extra on top of our own players to watch. In a way it’s a shame Turkey or Greece won’t be there, because Soyuncu and Sokratis would have been good to see in terms of style and how they set up in their national teams.
I remember watching Rosicky closely in the 2006 World Cup just as we signed him from Dortmund and getting rather excited when he bagged two goals against the USA – one an absolute screamer from outside the box I seem to recall. It was the sort of performance that every fan loves to see and watching him rush off with his arms aloft thinking “he’s ours now – yay!” Was a great feeling.
He played a farewell match over the weekend in which a host of former teammates and ex-players of Arsenal came together in honour of the majestic Little Mozart. I didn’t follow the game closely enough because I’ve been out and about all weekend, but Cesc, Flamster and van Persie were all reunited and although two out of three have had their ties with the club muddied by their moves away, it is kind of nice to remember that 2007/8 team before the Eduardo leg break and subsequent implosion of results that cost us the league that season.
That season still reels. We had the team capable, we should have won that, but the mental strength that Arsène spent so many years trying to convince us that was there in all groups of players he’s managed, just wasn’t there to see it through.
But that season we definitely mounted a challenge and that’s all we want right now; we want to see this Arsenal team look like it could get close at least, because we haven’t had that in so long, essentially for ten years.
I remember that season we got off to a flyer and that’s what helped to carry the team through to the new year. Momentum in football can be so valuable and I seem to recall we had a bunch of home games at the start that front-loaded our season and because of the wins we picked up we ended up being able to carry the confidence through to being in contention by at least February.
That’s the best we can hope for next season I suspect. I doubt this team is going to be realistic contenders for the title but they can at least give us some positivity if they have a good start. Emery will be hopeful that when the fixtures come out on Thursday he gets dealt a good opening hand in that regard I suspect.
If he gets a few decent and winnable home games, plus one or two away in the first month, it will give hope that a bit of momentum can be built by the time you hit October. The league doesn’t really take shape until then but certainly you can see what benefit a good set of results can have. Last season’s first two away games of Liverpool and Stoke away (given our shocking record there) didn’t exactly set the tone for a good season, quite the opposite in fact, so we’d want something a little more low key I suspect.
I wouldn’t mind going up to Newcastle early, or Huddersfield, as they’re the sort of games you’d hope the new regime can pick up points at. Of course given our away form last season I guess we should take nothing for granted and expect to be under the kosh as teams know if they press us high they’ll force errors from these players.
There’ll be some who will say “you’ve got to play everyone twice so it doesn’t matter” and I get that, but as I’ve said in the 2007/8 example, sometimes it can make a huge difference if you get off to a decent enough start.
Laters people. Enjoy your Monday.