Morning folks. It’s a muggy old day in England, having been a muggy and rainy day yesterday and so here I sit on the tube, having a look outside on the Metropolitan Line at clouds and circular patches of water on the floor, wondering why the summer has ended so soon in all but the humidity.
Now I know how those Arsenal players will have felt in Singapore; a beautiful place but some stifling humidity if I recall rightly, so I suspect they’ll all be glad to be back home by now, having dispatched PSG Youth (and Buffon to drastically up the age average) on Saturday.
It’s funny how all fans seem to get so whipped up in the fever of these games. I’ve seen United fans going mad because they’re losing and Liverpool fans going bonkers because they’re winning. We all know it means little at this stage – especially with some key players for some teams still on holiday – but people are still not managing to keep their cool. It’s just a bit weird.
What we are starting to see the formation of – thankfully – is this higher press and apologies for going on about it a lot in recent blogs, but it does excite me. Perhaps there’s a little bit of me projecting more into the current squad that I feel I’m seeing it more with every game, but to see Arsenal players doing something that we haven’t really done before, well, it all just adds to the hope.
Most of our business is done, the squad is settled, we just need Ramsey to let us know what is happening one way or the other and then we can go in to the new season with excitement at levels that we probably haven’t see for at least a decade.
But we are approaching August and we do need to offload some players. To me we look a little heavy in some places. If we’re adopting a front three, for example, we have:
That’s a lot of bodies for three positions and although we all know that there needs to be rotation in a season with the amount of games being played, it’s difficult to think that some won’t need to go. I didn’t even add in Joel Campbell to that list, although I suspect we all know that he will likely move on anyway, especially given the fact he hasn’t returned to Arsenal yet to start training (I don’t think).
There are positions all over the pitch where it seems we’re over stocked and when you consider the fact there are players like Maitland-Niles, Nelson, Willock and Smith-Rowe who will all have aspirations to start between five to 20 games each in a season, plus the fact that Emery has said youth will get its chance, it feels like some shuffling out the door needs to happen.
Surely that has to start happening this week. The team is back in Europe, the manager can be having conversations about who isn’t going to play as much and so therefore is expendable, so it feels to me like we’ll get some rumblings of exits this week. And like I said re: Ramsey last week, I hope the club are putting deadlines on his situation that expire now.
I’ve seen Chelski are supposedly interested but that seems an odd one. They need to strengthen in a few places but midfield isn’t exactly one of them. So quite why they’d want to stockpile another midfielder – especially if the rumours on Willian are true (who is ostensibly more attacking wide man) – is a bit bizarre to me.
I’d like to say the club are coming across as quite chilled on this saga and its development, but knowing Arsenal it’ll be a front for another Alexis-style scramble to offload a contract ‘rebel’ with a few days to go. What we have in our favour for that not happening is the fact that so far this summer we’ve shown little hesitation in making decisions, so perhaps that should give us comfort, or at least a little respite before we all start to get panicky this time next week!
I just hope we come out of it feeling stronger. Ramsey is clearly seen as a key cog in the Emery machine and so for the new coach to lose one of those cogs in his first couple of months at the club would feel like a bit of a blow to his reign.
Still, there’s a week for this all to unfold and as we all know by now, Football moves very quickly when it wants to.
Right, that’s me for another one, so I’ll see thee in the morrow.