Well it seems – if ol’ Romano is to be believed, that the Raya deal edges closer. I will still maintain that I’m not sure it is the move for us; he’s a good ‘keeper but no better than Ramsdale in my opinion, Brentford want too much money for a guy with one year left on his deal, Turner is a perfectly decent back up and I wonder how much this could impact Ramsdale in the long run – but if it is going to happen then of course I will welcome Raya and he gets my backing.

But is anyone else just a tad concerned that we’re doing this opportunistic deal, whilst not really looking at the central striking position? I doubt that Kai Havertz is going to convince me he can do that job, I love Gabriel Jesus but he spends some period every season injured, which means that we’re reliant on Eddie Nketiah who I put down as a decent stop gap for three or four games, but no more than that.

We need to be making some decisions in striker and for me maybe the best decision is to offload Eddie, offload Flo if he wants to go, then go all in for an alternate Gabriel Jesus option. THAT is where the cash needs to be spent this summer.

But I don’t really want ton be that guy who speculates over transfers when we have an actual game of football on this evening. I’m not sure why it has been decided that a 6pm kick off on a school night is a good idea, but it is what it is and tonight we line up against Monaco in the Emirates Cup. So what am I expecting?

I think Arteta will be looking to field a pretty strong line up from the off, with an eye on Sunday and therefore bringing off players on around 60 minutes. If you can get an hour in the tank for some of those players who will play against Forest in 10 days time, then you can have them on track fitness wise, perhaps giving them an hour to 70 minutes on Sunday, which should be enough against City to make sure a few of them aren’t blowing out of their arses come the lunchtime kick off on 12th August.

The big questions are on whether Rice is going to start and I think that, as well as who comes in at left back, will give us our best intention on what is going to happen when the season kicks off properly. If I was to hazard a guess I would say that I think Thomas Partey will get the nod, with Rice coming on in the second half. He was good against Barca, he showed that he probably does deserve to keep the shirt and it also means that we maintain a little bit more continuity from last season too. I am almost sure that Odegaard and Havertz will occupy the two number eight positions and that is why I’d be more than happy to see Partey start at the base of the midfield today.

Of course what Arteta could do is to play Rice tonight for 60 minutes, then give 30 to Partey, with a view to giving Partey more time on Sunday ahead of the first Premier League game. Get a few minutes in the tank for Rice who missed out on the Barca game as a precaution, but have it clear in your mind that Partey is starting for now. Alternatively, we could see Arteta have a practice at Rice and Partey together with Odegaard in front of them. That too would be an interesting move; it would give us a little more solidity in our defensive set up and would be a decent dry run ahead of playing Man City, where we’d probably have less of the ball than when we play most of the teams this season. City ran through our midfield at times in both games last season and Arteta will know that they have the capacity to do it again on Sunday, so finding an alternative that gives us a little more cover could be the way to go.

But depending on who he picks and where he decides to play them, I think will impact other parts of the pitch too. I’m assuming that we might not see Zinchenko, although if he is fit maybe he gets some minutes from the bench this evening, but the way that we set up last season was to ‘box’ our passing options. You’d have Zinchenko drifting in to the midfield on the left hand side, Partey on the right, then depending on where the ball was, the ‘box’ was either Gabriel and Saliba left and right and Zinchenko/Partey in front, or it was Zinchenko and Partey in the base and Xhaka and Odegaard in front forming a more advanced ‘box’. That gives more passing lanes to players across the middle of the pitch and allows us vertical or horizontal, or diagonal passing. If Zinchenko isn’t playing, then could you have Rice in that left space, Partey alongside him? Then the advanced box is Rice/Partey with Odegaard and Havertz as the advanced players? The problem with that is it assumes we’ve got four midfielders on the pitch and would mean we’d need to probably operate three centre halves and Gabriel covering more space on that left hand side, but I don’t completely hate it when we are in possession.

There’s a lot to unpick there, but there is a lot to unpick with this Arsenal squad at the moment, as Arteta has got his wish – we are extremely unpredictable right now! The fact that I watch, read, listen to Arsenal content every single day and yet I – like you I’m sure – am STILL unsure as to what Mikel has in his plans, tells us quite a lot about this idea of unpredictability that we have for next season.

Let’s just hope it works though, eh?

Right, I’m done for today. I’ll see you wonderful people in the morrow and hopefully we’re all talking about another impressive start to pre season.

Catch you all then.