With transfer business slower than sluggish, Arsenal faced a long hot summer. Step forward the first-team squad; there’s nothing like a win to fill the void where hope has seemingly all gone away.
Some will argue last night is irrelevant and there is some truth to that. If we lose at Newcastle, it didn’t matter that we beat Bayern Munich a month earlier (maybe Fiorentina and Real Madrid as well). We’re still waiting for evidence that a corner is turned. That may only come with new arrivals; a changing of the guard embracing youth and clear thinking.
That’s a gospel for another day. Last night, the same defensive weaknesses were routinely exposed by the Germans, particularly Gnabry and Coman in the second half. The former is no longer a man of great promise; he’s delivering with the chorus of ‘here’s one that got away’ surfacing on anti-social media.
Given his development in the German game, it’s hard to argue that he wasn’t right to go off in pursuit of first-team football.
The luck ran out when Lewandowski headed home with twenty minutes to go; Mustafi took himself out of position with a step forward as Gnabry crossed and the Pole took full advantage of the space in which he found himself. A hand flailed in the air from the Arsenal defender, desperately hoping for his guardian angel to wave an offside flag.
None of the youngsters had a poor game. Eddie Nketiah stole the headlines with his poacher’s goal. We’re close to a third new decade since we began our search, so is he the fox in the box? Certainly, he looked physically stronger, more ready for first-team football than last year.
Headstart for Happiness
He capitalised on the outstanding interplay between Calum Chambers and Tyreece John-Jules. It was the stuff of fairy tales to some extent as the pair carved open the right side of the Bayern defence before John-Jules delivered the kind of cross we need to see more of during the coming season.
Overall, it was an enjoyable match. Fair play to those global fans who do this week after week during the spring, summer and autumn, winter as well making it an all-year-round endeavour. I was fortunate enough to be able to go back to sleep after the final whistle. 4am for a friendly? I need to get a life.
So too do those who believe every transfer story. It’s up to you but call on every ounce of spirit to rise above them. Malcom ain’t coming to the Emirates with Barcelona demanding €55m for his services. Not unless we shout to the top and ‘Mr Short Arms, Deep Pockets’ breaks with the habits of a lifetime and gives us extra transfer funds to visit our favourite shop!
Talking of ill-conceived ideas, Mesut Özil struck a pose with his new hairdo. Initially, it reminded me of Peter Sellers in Dr Strangelove…
But the more I thought about, the more I kept coming back to Pat Butcher…
Anyway, the fallout continues from that letter and Junior’s response. It was a poor response but given the swiftness of the reply, the PR flimflam we got was only to be expected.
Judging where we are on the pitch happens from August onwards. The other issues raised – safe standing and a European Super League – are ongoing. The same is true of negotiations for Dani Ceballos and Kieran Tierney. Or are they dragging on? I forget which it is…
My Everchanging Moods
Elsewhere, Unai continued the policy of ‘making supporters feel chipper’. We’re close to signing players who will “make a difference” to what he considers “a very good [Arsenal] team”. How much of a difference? Well, Bernd Leno hopes we’ll stop conceding stupid goals. It would be a start…
Others took the view the best way to improve the side is to refine the defence. At present, we’re going into the season with our ‘specialist’ central defenders being Sokratis, Chambers, Mustafi and Laurent ‘Sulky Knickers’ Koscielny. His mate Olivier Giroud spoke candidly about his compatriot’s future, urging everyone to dial it down a notch or two as far as the criticism of Koscielny is concerned. We don’t know the facts, he argued.
A year after Le Depart, Arsene chimed in with a ‘diplomatic’ questioning of the situation. Laurent was a good boy while he was boss but Wenger didn’t know what happened during the interim. Crucially, he didn’t back up the claim Sulky Knickers received a verbal agreement that he could leave on a ‘free’ this summer.
Here’s the only salient fact: he refused to tour to try and force a move. Why we are still waiting to strip him of the captaincy is beyond me. We’ve got five to choose from after all. Still, we’re “thinking” of fining him but are meeting him and his agent this week. Both parties will be lawyered up, which is a sure sign that this is going to be an acrimonious parting of the ways.
Rob Holding, it is being suggested in some quarters, is back after the September international break. Some suggest on this tour but it’s hard to see him being ready for the domestic game comes the big kick-off.
You’re The Best Thing
Four Premier Leagues matches, including the annual shellacking at Anfield, will be played by the September break. Our title dreams will be over, which proves Junior right in one sense: we don’t have the squad to win the title. Yes, it’s a quick win for him but at least he can say “See, I didn’t lie…”
Everton Soares is another heavily touted to join with his value anywhere between €40m and €80m. Er, hello… to be honest, the valuations are so diverse that they may as well be created by economists arguing over the impact of Brexit. Woah! Bit of politics; proper nawty.
That didn’t stop talk emerging of our medical team flying to Brazil to oversee the formality of him being declared fit enough to sign for Arsenal.
*** Breaking news on that one. Gremio are now wanting £32m which given the way sterling is tanking might be a very good deal for us ***
You’ve reached this far, a testament to the strength of your nature!