Morning all and welcome to another pre season weekday, with the main story on everyone’s lips being the French victory against Croatia yesterday in which Olivier Giroud got his hands on the World Cup, and as a collective it seems most Arsenal fans couldn’t be happier for him.
He’s had one heck of a journey to get himself in to that position and a big chunk of that was by being successful at The Arsenal, so in a World Cup in which little Arsenal representation there was, it’s nice to have (albeit slightly tenuous now he’s at Chelski) some form of link to a player as likeable as Giroud.
In reality the French had too much for Croatia and when you look at their squad and some of the talent on display you can see why, although despite that they did have a fair bit of help in that final, from both the Croatian ‘keeper and the useless referee.
When ‘ball-to-hand’ becomes a penalty on a VAR decision you really are left scratching your head. It was pretty shocking and in the most important game of the tournament we find that it is found wanting. It’s a shame because by and large it feels like VAR has worked and certainly it has helped to penalise the holding in the box that we’ve seen throughout the years. But to give France a leg up like that was pretty rough on Croatia.
Then there are a couple of the goals scored by France. To my untrained eyes the Croatian ‘keeper looked very flat footed on a couple of them and whilst Mbappe’s strike was decent enough, it felt to me like he should have been saving it, especially if you’re meant to be one of the top ‘keepers in the game.
Still, it is what it is, the World Cup has been a useful distraction, now we can focus on the upcoming season for The Arsenal and that continues this week with a game in Singapore on Thursday at lunchtime over here in the UK. I suspect we’ll have Özil travelling with the team although I doubt he’ll feature too heavily, but it’s a chance to see if the team can pit its wits against one of the better international oppositions and whilst Borehamwood would have been entertaining to see so many goals racked up, this game will be a different test and one in which we’ll start to see even more just how Emery wants to line up his team.
He might try to shuffle things around in terms of personnel, but if he chooses a similar diamond shape in his team to the weekend, then we might start to wonder if that’s how he’ll be starting the season.
It feels like we probably need to use the rule of three before we start making assumptions on how we’re lining up against City. If we play in a similar shape against Atletico, then again against PSG on Saturday, we can start to speculate about his style and approach. But until we have that data to pour over, we’re still in the land of wild guesswork.
Personally there is a little part of me who wants to see him try a few different formations. I like the idea of us being flexible depending on the opponent and environment (I.e. home or away) and I also like the idea of us being a little more difficult to plan for than we had under Wenger. Having people like The Walrus basically say how easy it was to prep for an Arsenal game over the years really sticks in my craw so having a little more of a surprise factor about us makes me certainly more excited to see if we can mix it up with some of the better teams who bested us last season. Or pretty much any team when we went away from home.
The rest of the news we have is all of the boring speculative transfer stuff which I can’t really be bothered with. We have our team, we’ve brought in the players we needed, so now it’s just a case of seeing how they gel together.
Catch you lovely people tomorrow.