The Ornbomb has landed and Romano has regaled us, so it seems this saga will soon reach it’s conclusion.
But at this point I’m not really sure what else there is to say, other than I’m glad it’s happening and hopefully we are going to be able to swiftly move on so we can focus on the football, the next of which is this time next Thursday in which we play Nurnberg in the evening at 6pm. I doubt that any of our shiny new players will be there though, although they might, but Saka last played on 19th June for England which was about two-and-a-bit week’s ago and so I’d suspect he’ll probably be given some extended leave. Many of the players returned to training this week and the club has released pictures of some of them yesterday as their second day of pre season was captured. Returns for Tomiyasu, Nketiah, Saliba, Zinchenko, Marquinhos, Gabriel Jesus, Big Gabby, Trossard, Holding, White, Martinelli plus a weirdly older looking Arteta were all featured. Mikel my friend, what did last season do to you? It’s like he went away, was able to relax and then suddenly all the tension flowed out and what started growing back in was some greys and some lines.
Let he who is without sin cast the first stone, however, so I’ll not be taking the micky or casting any aspersions, given I’m the same age as our boss and I too feel a little greyer, linier and achey than I did five year’s ago, that’s for sure. And I’ve certainly not got the fitness or mental durability as he has to be in the high-pressure job he is in. I’ll tell you that for nothing.
But back to the players and it does seem like a number have still not returned and even Havertz was pictured somewhere else starting his training ahead of the new season, so whether he is back with us and getting out on to the pitch next Thursday remains to be seen. In fact the training pictures showed quite a lot of younger players in the sessions so I suspect it will be a mixed team that goes out to Germany. And that’s fair enough really; the need to get these highly tuned athletes back in to tip-top form is important and throwing them in to even do 45 or 60 minutes at this early stage in the season seems a little reckless, so I suspect we’ll see some fresher faces that line up against the Germans.
There’s a couple of other bits I wanted to touch on today though, the first of which is driven by an article I read about how Arsenal now ‘MUST’ win the league now, that there can be ‘NO EXCUSES’ given the outlay that we have made, etc, etc. This is interesting, because last season we were told that there was no chance that we were going to win the league. All season we got that. Then at the end we were ‘bottlers’ for not winning a league we were supposedly never supposed to win. Now, because we are spending what is to be fair a massive chunk of change, there is ‘NO EXCUSE’ if we don’t dethrone the team that has just won the treble, is the best side on the planet, is about to drop €100million on Josko Gvardiol having just spent £25million bringing in Kovacic from Chelsea. I suspect City will bring in one or two more and they’ve been linked with Frenkie de Jong for around the £90million mark I think they could easily get to the £200million mark come the end of the summer.
So let me get this straight; if Arsenal spend £200million there are ‘NO EXCUSES’, but if City then end up matching that, with the team that has already won the treble last season, then it is OUR fault for not beating the best team on the planet? Welcome to the media lens on Arsenal, boys and girls. They love to stick the boot in. I haven’t even mentioned the fact that Carragher and Neville have both said that Liverpool and United are in the best place, or Louis Saha saying it’ll be Liverpool, etc, etc. So pundits are telling us that we’re not best placed to face up to City, we’re probably matching City for their spending this summer – or maybe going a little north of it – and yet it’s still US who need to have all the pressure on?
I hope everyone writes us off. I hope nobody pays attention to us, like last season, where pretty much everyone said we’d fall away but we gave City a run right until the death. Then I hope that these signings, when confirmed, are that extra bit of spice that makes the meal that little bit more tastier. Here’s to hoping.
And a final one from me. I’m not much of a ladies football fan and only ‘follow’ what Arsenal are doing rather than watch it religiously, but the signing of Alessio Russo on a free from Man United is certainly one that is worthwhile making some commentary on. This kid was one of the stars of the Euro 2022 campaign, has been picked for the main central striking spot for England since Ellen White retired, is only 24 and is one of the big names in English Women’s football. It is a big coup for Arsenal Women and I’m sure Jonas Eidevall will be delighted to have finally got his player. If Arsenal Women can keep some of their other stars fit next season (in which the team was riddled with injuries last term), then they have a big shout of winning the title I reckon. Good on them and I’ll certainly be keeping an eye on their progress.
That’s me done for today I think. We’ll probably now get the trip feed of ‘medical completed for Rice’, ‘pictures taken for Rice’, ‘Rice has texted his new teammates’ and all of the other spoilers before he’s actually unveiled as an Arsenal player. So maybe a day or two needed before we get the official confirmation. And when that happens we can talk in more specific detail about the impact it might have.
Catch you all tomorrow.