And as if by magic….some football appeared!
Alright it was a friendly and I’m not sure it was streamed for us to watch – certainly I didn’t get wind of it until it was underway and people started talking about it – but at least it was something to flick over to and watch for a few minutes. But that’s all it really was if we’re honest, because we’re into this weird pre season now and we all know pre season games mean what the Americans like to call:
It was a six goal thriller in which we smashed Charlton 6-0 at The Emirates and goals were scored by Lacazette, Aubameyang, Nketiah with a hat-trick and Joe Willock. The pick of the bunch looked to be Lacazette’s and if he can apply that kind of finishing in the games coming up then perhaps there won’t be such a clamour for him to be shunted out the door in the summer.
It’s a funny one actually because there’s been such a long wait since the last lot of football that has taken place, some fans will probably have a similar reset button to me. It’s like a new season and everyone’s slate gets wiped clean, which means a good start has people singing praises again, which for a player like Lacazette will be useful because he was pretty turgid throughout a lot of this season and no doubt could do with hitting some form when everything kicks off again.
Likewise the hat trick for Nketiah will have been good for him. It looked like it was the first team out there yesterday playing for most of the game and so Eddie wasn’t bagging goals in a friendly with a load of kids, but a strong Arsenal team. Alright, it was only struggling Charlton, but confidence is a big thing for strikers and even in friendly games, bagging goals are important. They will not count the goals they score, they don’t even really celebrate, but deep down they are probably saying to themselves “cool, cool, I can still do this. I’ve still got this” and I think that’s important given the restart is now 10 days away.
But I wonder who impressed the manager? I wonder who makes that starting XI on Wednesday week? Will we see some slates wiped clean in Arteta’s eyes? Like Maitland-Niles for example? I saw that he was on the field yesterday in the first half and although I’m not sure what the details were on his performance or his position that he took up, the fact he’s in there shows that Arteta is still looking at him. Has he taken the hints from Arteta and started to properly have a go at getting a place back in the team somewhere?
It will be interesting to find out. But not as interesting as that first game and who Arteta selects because for the first time in his managerial career he has a pretty much full squad to pick from. It’ll be a selection headache for sure because we actually have quite a big first team which has come about because of the youngsters coming through, as well as various injuries at the club, so picking his team for City will be fascinating. Not least because the games come thick and fast and rotation is an inevitability. It will probably be as strong a team as he can pick on Wednesday 17th, but then away to Brighton at the weekend, we might see some tinkering, I suspect.
But that will be the case for all the teams, as well as the five subs rule, which will give managers more influence on matches after they have kicked off. I wonder if, for example, we might get more tactical subs earlier in games? You know, the kind that Mourinho does where he changes things before halftime because the set up against the opposition isn’t right, which will be less of a risky manoeuvre if you can do a sub and still have four in the second half you can call on. The rule change has been designed to mitigate any potential injury that could occur as a result of the lack of match sharpness, but it wouldn’t surprise me if managers use them more as tactical changes.
That’s where we’ll need to see a wee bit of improvement from Arteta because I think some of his subs have left a little to be desired of. Hey, he’s learning, so we’ve all accepted that and this is part of his own football management education, but if we have little margin for error in terms of Europa League qualification and there is no wiggle room in terms of points that need to be accumulated, he’s going to have to learn fast to ensure he does his bit to help The Arsenal pick up three points on each game week.
It feels like we’re edging closer to the return to football though and just like with every pre season I am now starting to feel a little excitement for the return of my team. That’s how they reel you in every season. I’m still not expectant it will be that great with the fact there aren’t going to be fans in the ground and the only noises you’ll get will be FIFA noises, but hey, at least we have something on the horizon.
Catch you peeps tomorrow with some more ramblings.