So it’s the new season. Not quite; the FA confirmed the Community Shield isn’t a major trophy, an opinion which will be greeted with dismay in Fleet Street. Pre-season friendlies are performances to be dissected to the nth degree with victories of Europe’s great and good, signs of a dominant campaign ahead. Ask Liverpool; it probably seems a long twelve months from the gubbing they gave to Barcelona at Wembley.
Too much will read into tomorrow’s result, as it has been in the past. Wins over Chelsea and Manchester City were the beginning of a new era; meet the new boss, the same as the old boss. This time next week, we will looking back at an altogether more important ninety minutes, which doesn’t have the rescue of ABBA’s Winner Takes It All finale.
The opener against Leicester City is the first game in what will be a testing season. Arsène tried to paint the Europa League as a positive in the Premier League title race. It’s a flawed logic, in the same way that Leicester’s title success is held up as a sign anyone can win the league. Chelsea and Liverpool finished higher than us last season without European football at all; not just out of the Champions League but also the Europa League.
No side in the Europa League has finished higher than third in the Premier League, I read yesterday. Arsène may argue that it’s an improvement on fifth but no matter what he says, a top four finish is not a trophy. It isn’t and if the reward is a round of sixteen knockout in the Champions League, there’s little sporting merit in the top four finish either. Repetitive mistakes in the same competition is lunacy not sporting achievement.
Talking About My Squad Rotation
Quite rightly, the manager observed that squad he uses in Europe this season depends on the group stage. We’re top seeds in the competition at the moment but there are some potentially tricky matches. However, it’s impossible to argue with his logic about next seasons journeys to the continents lesser lights,
“In the Europa League if we can afford sometimes to rest some players we will do it. But we have to adapt to the level of the competition and see first what kind of group we play in.”
The physical pattern of Sunday / Thursday / Sunday is different to Sunday / Tuesday or Wednesday / Saturday which may prove helpful in the Premier League. As a hint to where my pre-season preview next season might heading, I don’t think we’re title challengers with the squad as it currently is so it’s more a case of winning the knockout competitions.
Arsène rightly identified domestic competitions are being more important to supporters.
“Well for us it is a good opportunity to focus completely on the Premier League.
“But anyway, I would say that the Premier League has, in my opinion, taken over from the Champions League, interest-wise.
“It has happened in the group stage sometimes that we have rested players to prepare for the next Premier League game. Every Premier League game is so difficult.”
The Premier League has always been more important in my view. If we win the Europa League and Champions League, it ticks off the trophy boxes, adding kudos along the way, as well as opening doors to other minor cups.
I would right now, prefer the Premier League trophy; previously, it’s been the Champions League but years of underperformance in the competition has taken its’ toll. I’m worn out down by the same mistakes.
I Hope We’ve Tried Before I Get Old
Wenger went on to discuss the “suicide” of giving out information on Alexis’ situation. Have you noticed that for an urbane man, his language is dominated by violence and negative connotations; or is it just me?
Anyway, Alexis isn’t going anywhere this summer, a point the manager reiterated once again,
“I will not give anything away on that but the only thing I can tell you is that he is focused, and my decision is clear: he will stay and he will respect that.
“It is as simple as that.”
It’s a double-edged sword for the boss. Win a place back in the Champions League via the top four and the £50m fee ‘lost’ this summer is nullified, especially if there’s a good run in the Europa League. Miss out on everything and the hole we’ve created is like a cigarette burning a hole in kitchen roll; Alexis’ money is the centre but the other little fees missed out on has a widening effecting.
As I’ve said previously, I don’t believe there will be an issue with Alexis’ effort; there will be a lot of negativity around the Chilean. It was there last season after Wenger criticised him and has carried on. Almost as if people are preparing themselves for the inevitable ditching at the end of the season; “he wasn’t as good as is claimed”, kind of thing.
We shall see. Thomas Lemar’s arrival might alter perspectives with a £54m bid being sent to Monaco who claim he isn’t for sale. Paper talk? Probably, but makes us feel like the club are trying to do something .
A new playlist on Dad’s Jukebox this morning. Keep an eye on comments section and the right sidebar for the link.