With this weird period of time in the middle of pre season that we find ourselves in, it feels very strange to not be looking at a friendly or something going on at The Arsenal this weekend. It’s a bit of a ‘lull within a lull’ for us. There aren’t any games played until the week after next. The transfer business – by all accounts – appears to be ‘done’, so now it’s just about getting the ideas of the manager across to the players and getting them into the shape that he wants.
That’s obviously physically, but it’s also tactically too, and I wonder if this has been a deliberate ploy by everyone to give more time to Emery and his team to set out their style of play. I mean when you look at what he’s said about the team working harder to win the ball up higher on the pitch, it seems to make sense to suggest they might need more time at London Colney. If you think about the number of years they’ve spent coming back to pre season training to be greeted by Arsène and Pat Rice/Steve Bould putting the cones out, there was a familiarity there that was perhaps not a good thing from a tactical and new season perspective, but it did enable the team to slip back into their pre season routine.
That’s not what we want now though. Ten to 15 years ago it was fine because the club was in a better position, but the familiarity that bred contempt had well and truly set in from a fans perspective in the last couple of years, and now we find ourselves with the need for players to do a heck of a lot of re-learning in order to fiction under Emery’s system.
I do wonder if there will be some behind-closed-doors games though, because it’s only within match environments that you can truly start to adapt your approach and develop your style. Perhaps that’s what the club are looking at as we speak and there are games behind played over the net day or two. It’s not as if there isn’t a Premier League team next door that you can’t go round and knock for to see if they fancy a kick-about after all.
I suspect this next week might drag though. The transfer gossip has – thankfully – ground to a halt and with no games on the immediate horizon it feels like the Arsenal news that comes out will be of little significance to first team operations.
A bit like the Thierry Henry news. He announced he’s leaving Sky to do more on the coaching and football side and whilst that could mean a player revered by us all has a shot in future at the manager’s post, in reality his announcement has little to do with us at this stage, because I doubt he’ll be joining backroom staff at Emery’s Arsenal.
In truth he wasn’t a great pundit on Sky anyway and the only thing that kept any of us Arsenal fans interested in what he had to say was his immaculately groomed beard. The rest of the time it felt like he was being manipulated to say negative things about an Arsenal team that were clearly in a declining spiral. Personally I started switching off to the pre, halftime and post match punditry when he was on. I want his legacy to be of the amazing goals he scored for us and not how he doesn’t understand why Arsenal can defend so badly.
But I think until we get some of the games coming thick and fast we’ve got probably more inconsequential stories like that coming out so we probably just have to deal with them.
So on that note I’ll be done for another day and catch you all tomorrow.