I think this’ll be an interesting game this evening against Chelski.
Yes it’s a pre season friendly. Yes it means little in the grand scheme of things. And yes the players are still adapting to life under Emery.
But this will be a good opportunity for us to see what sort of side is taking shape under the new Spanish Head Coach of ours. He’s had a good month with most of the players, the training for the new season and new systems is starting to be drilled in to them, whilst the other returning players are bedding in too. We’ve seen pictures of Torreira and Nacho in training, we’ve been treated to ‘team camaraderie’ videos, but tonight comes a familiar test in that horrible football team from West London and I am intrigued to see just how the game evolves.
Emery has been trying all types of approaches but with just over a week and a bit before the season kicks off in earnest, it feels like now is the time to lead with your strongest side and keep them on the field for 50 to 60 minutes. We need to see the team that will play against City take shape and that’s why I’m intrigued to know just how Emery plays his cards in Dublin in a few hours.
My gut feel is that he’ll mix it up a bit and use the Lazio game as the full dress rehearsal. I think there are positions like ‘keeper in which we’ll see a halftime change. We could also see the centre half pairings change up a bit too I suspect.
There should also be a contingency line up that doesn’t include Rambo. We all want him to sign, we want to see him commit to The Arsenal, but at this stage we need to start thinking about life without him if there isn’t a deal to be done now. It would be terrible on Arsenal’s part if we play City without his future sorted one way or another.
Chelski are experiencing their own uncertainties over the manager and style of play so I suspect this won’t be the most fluid or ‘Rolls Royce’ of performances from either team, but from an Arsenal perspective I want to see that high press, forcing errors, higher up the pitch. That’s what we’re all getting excited about and that’s what we want to see from this Arsenal side.
The other news from yesterday was that Emile Smith-Rowe, who sounds like he should be some kind of Victorian playwright rather than a professional footballer, has signed a new deal at the club. It’s the right thing to do to reward a player who has just shone in pre season and he’ll now be looking to get similar sort of game time as Reiss Nelson did last season I suspect. I would imagine he’ll start the season with some Europa League and EFL Cup games, then head out on loan after Christmas, but the fact that we’ve it another young player who is looking like he’s on the cusp of the first team can only be a good thing.
What we need to see next is Reiss Nelson signing an extension to his deal, which supposedly runs until next summer and if we don’t get him signed up, we could risk losing another very promising player, which is not what we want to see.
The game is on at a time in which I can watch – hip hip hooray! – at 8.05pm and so I’m just pleased that there’ll be an opportunity to get a better and more polished look at the first team. I genuinely don’t care about the result but what I do want to see is a defined style, approach, tactical flexibility, as well as positive signs that the team is ready for the new season.
Let’s hope we’re treated to a good one this evening.
If you’re going then have a good time and sing up for The Arsenal.