Morning, morning, morning, you wonderful people, you. How we all doing? Feeling grand? Or, like me, are you feeling just a wee bit ropey after a weekend of warm weather and booze?
Or, are you quite excited for the new season to start, having now been able to see Arsenal win every single pre season game so far with some pretty impressive performances to boot, not least on Sunday in the early hours of the morning UK time. I didn’t put anything out yesterday as I had family over and I was feeling a little worse for wear, but I did watch the highlights of the victory over Chelsea and, I have to say, we looked impressive. These wins mean little in the greater context of the season, but if you’re asking me if I feel like this Arsenal team looks ‘ready’ for this season, games like that hammering of the blues is the sort of indicator I’m looking for that the team is ready.
Even if you want to put it down to being an exercise in fitness and perhaps that is why we beat a team who should be a rival this season, the fact remains that our team are more ready than Chelsea and ahead of the match against Palace in a couple of weekend’s time, we look to be up for it.
The two new signings of Jesus and Zinchenko look to have slotted in like they’ve been playing for us for years and I guess that is exactly what you get when you have purchased yourself Premier League ready and experienced players. They are ‘good to go’ from the moment they step on the pitch and given that Tierney is – unsurprisingly – missing at the moment with an injury, it is a welcome relief that we have Zinchenko to slot in. I would wager that unless Tierney’s recovery time is miraculous, that we’ll be seeing the Ukrainian on day one of the new season on that Friday night game at Selhurst Park. If Tierney hasn’t been training with just 11 days before the start of the season, how is he going to be match fit for the big kick off? I’m just not sure he will be and so already we’ll see the benefit of having Zinchenko in the team because he’ll pick up the reins and go with it in this team.
On the other side we played some more Cedric time, by my hope is that Arteta sticks in one of White or Saliba for that Palace game if Tomiyasu is fit. Both players look and feel more like Tomiyasu and so if we are going to set up with a guy like Tomiyasu in at right back who tucks in and is a little more inverted, then why on earth would we roll out Cedric? I hope we don’t. Saliba has looked really impressive in the pre season games he’s been playing and now it is time to get him in from day one. To me that means he should go in at centre half alongside Gabriel and we give the right back minutes to White, bringing in Tomiyasu when he is fit. Apparently Tomi is due to get back to training this week but again, if he’s not ready, my hope is that Arteta goes with White at right back other than the Portuguese. I know Cedric put in a decent cross for Sambi to head in the fourth goal against Chelsea, but I just can’t be having Cedric starting in that first game. I’ll just about accept him in the earlier rounds of the Europa and League Cup, but that’s all I want to see from him for the duration of this season. The team as it stands looks good, strong, fit, technically capable and Cedric is a legacy player from the recent past that we are just waiting for his contract to run down. I’m sure he’s a great guy, everyone seems to love him, but we are all here to see Arsenal win things and be the best version of themselves they can be and that means Cedric doesn’t get anywhere near the starting XI in the Premier League, in my opinion.
Finally, just to wrap up on today’s ramblings, how about Gabriel Jesus’ finish then, eh? Composed, clever, deft to flick it over Mendy and an intelligent run to hold the line before notching yet another goal in pre season. He even picked up man of the match and if that is an indication of what we’re going to get from him this season, then I am all in and all here for it. He feels very much like the culmination of multiple windows pulling together this current team for Arteta. We had the defensive signings of last summer, the summer before that we bought the guy who holds things together in the middle of the park (even if Partey has spent mu of the last two seasons injured), but now is the spearhead of the attack in Arteta’s Arsenal and Gabriel Jesus is everything Arteta wanted Lacazette to be. He has pace, he harries and presses intensively from the front, he scores goals, he is clever with his movement but also, crucially, he is unselfish. Arteta has been purring over him ever since he arrived but as Arsenal fans we are really started to realise just how much of an upgrade we have in Gabriel Jesus compared to ‘The Waddler’ who we ended up with as our main striker last season. I am so excited to see just how different we look with a proper striker in our team and even Eddie, with his new contract confirmed and tucked in his back pocket, is starting to look like he’s gelling with Jesus. Maybe these guys can form a dynamic partnership for periods this season? I certainly hope so. If they do, then we might be seeing double figures of goals from both of them and again, when you compare that to this time last season and what we ended up having for the whole of last season in Aubameyang and Lacazette’s outputs, it feels like a very exciting time indeed.
Righto, that’s me done for today, so I’m off to do some jury service. Back tomorrow with the usual ramblings.