First pre season match underway and you’ll forgive me for not really giving two sh*ts about the result, I’m sure, right? After all, the team that started yesterday’s 2-1 defeat to Hibs in Edinburgh, won’t be the same side that faces up against Brentford in a month’s time on the first game of the Premier League season. We gave starts to Okonkwo, Cedric, Clarke, Kolasinac, Nelson, Maitland-Niles, Willian and Nketiah, none of whom I’d be expecting to play any football in that first game of the season proper, so this was simply a starting match in which Arteta could take a little look at some of those younger players and see if there is anything in them for the future. And by ‘future’ we’re probably even thinking a few year’s down the line.
If somebody smashes it in these types of games, then maybe you have them training with the first team for a few months, then you might play in the League Cup. Given that we play in a round earlier this year it means there will be one more game for them to play and so it makes sense to have a look at some of these players. History is littered with exciting young prospects who look like absolute beasts in the youth team, then don’t quite make the step up when they play against men, so matches like yesterday were about a) looking at some of those young players against proper men, then b) getting some minutes in the legs of a few of those players who haven’t had international football over the last few weeks.
You can’t even look at yesterday’s squad and confirm that some of those players will even be at Arsenal in a month’s time, so how you can read anything in to the game and how it unfolded is a little beyond me to be honest. There are one or two that have made some comments, but of the people I know I’m not so sure i’ve seen anyone really bother getting too worked up over the result, let alone the performance.
There’s also a duty of care that Arteta has to undertake with some of the players we are moving on this summer. Take Hector Bellerin, for example, who came on as a sub for Cedric yesterday, but has been heavily rumoured with a move to Inter Milan. Arteta can hardly freeze him out and give him no semi-competitive matches over the next few weeks, because it might mean that Inter have question marks over fitness if he gets to the stage where he’s having to undertake some basic medical checks. If Arsenal want to sell players then they need to ensure those players are in their top physical shape, which is why you take them on tours, you get them up and running and you have them ready so if the worst came to the worst and any transfers broke down at the last minute, you can still use them for the beginning of the season. So I’m not really bothering with any kind of thoughts about players, the way they played, etc, etc.
It’s like how everyone got excited that the young ‘keeper currently training with the first team was wearing number 32 when pictured the other day. Then Emile Smith Rowe came on yesterday as a sub in his normal number of 32 and everyone is like “oh, well that proves it then, we shouldn’t read too much in to this kind of stuff”. Of course we shouldn’t! But we do! Because this time of the year is when us fans – and Arsenal fans particularly (although that may just be because it is my main frame of reference) go stir-crazy over stuff like transfers, contracts or anything to do with the first team. Did somebody eat a burrito that Messi saw on Instagram and ‘liked’. WE’RE SIGNING MESSI, AREN’T WE?
No. Leo loves a Burrito. Move along folks. 😉
Arteta was also pretty unequivocal about Smith Rowe staying at Arsenal, saying “without question. Yes. He will stay here 100%”.Of course we’ve heard managers be that definitive before and the opposite happen, but Arteta is powerful enough at the club and strong enough of a character to know when the situation was within Arsenal’s control. Of course we all know the details need to be ironed out, but Arteta was pretty clear on Balogun when all of the signs pointed in the other direction and to him leaving the club, yet he signed a new deal. Hopefully this is a similar situation. We also need to remember that this happened in a similar vein when Bukayo signed a new deal. The actual announcement of the deal was a little bit delayed – long enough for us all to get worried – yet he signed the thing in the end anyway. Hopefully it is just a matter of time before Smith Rowe can sign this new deal. Then we can all move on with our lives.
Aside from that there’s not a lot else going on. We play Rangers at the weekend and I’m looking forward to that one. Mainly because I’ll actually be able to watch, having had a work dinner I was at yesterday evening. It’ll be nice to see an Arsenal game with a few fans in there.
Right, off in to London today, so I’ll catch you peeps in the morrow.