Released this morning, the 2018/19 season fixtures give Unai Emery a testing start, to say the least. City at home, Chelsea away? Welcome to English football, Unai. The recent furore over how the fixture list is ‘engineered’ to avoid big matches is thrown into question with that opening day clash. Either that or we’re no longer viewed as a big club.
If by some fluke, we find ourselves in the position of vying for a top-four finish, we have a strong chance of getting it judging by the run-in. Our last ‘big match’ is mid-March; thereafter, they are all games we would view as winnable. That’s, of course, getting ahead of myself. We could as easily be plummeting toward mid-table obscurity. You’ve got to hope for the best, however. Especially with a new coach in tow.
It’s only a rough guide at the moment, a note that on any given weekend, you will play x or y. Date and time are finalised when the TV men finish wreaking havoc across the top-flight.
Half-a-dozen pre-Christmas fixtures will move to accommodate Thursday Night Football anyway. Of those matches directly impacted by the Europa League, all bar one is in London – Southampton away – so the worst TV will do is make us a Monday Night Football team.
There’s still plenty of scope for BT/Sky/Amazon to make a complete clusterf*ck out of various weekends and supporters inconvenience is not even considered. They want advertisers revenues and viewing figures drive those.
Not that Chelsea will be any strangers; there’s a pre-season friendly in Dublin a couple of weeks before which has people up in arms about ticket prices. The operative phrase is “pre-season friendly”. If the tickets don’t sell, the organisers will soon realise their mistake. Even a 35,000 crowd is a disaster for the ICC.
Morals and Ethics: Relatives You See Every Decade
This is an extract from an interview given by Charles Stillitano in 2016 when ICC denied they were movers and shakers behind a European Super League:
“But we talked about everything. One of the things was what Arsenal came out with a comment about afterwards (surrounding a Super League). Okay. You’re sitting talking with friends and we chatted.”
Don’t expect Arsenal to take any lead on moral and ethical grounds. Not over anything, but especially not ticket prices. Morals and ethics are words abandoned when professionalism surfaced more than a century ago. As far as football is concerned, they are quaint ‘Olde English’ terms which belong in a bygone era.
And don’t forget, this is Arsenal in ‘Harlem Globetrotter’ mode: wherever the cash is, they go. The fee is paid by the organisers; Arsenal turn up, fulfil media obligations, put on a show and complete media work, before jetting off back to London.
Talking of media obligations, Lucas Torreira is a ‘done deal’ according to a website I’d never previously heard of. His Mr20% and Arsenal ‘raced’ to Russia to complete the deal yesterday. Apparently. There was a clip of Torreira on social media yesterday, gabbling away about signing for Arsenal. I think, however, it was a fake; those ears are utterly unmistakable. If he was a Bash Street Kid, Torreira would be Plug. Ask your parents, kids.
And we’re also ready to announce Jay Leno as soon as the minor details of a fee and personal terms are agreed. But it’s almost a ‘done deal’.
Minor Details TBC
So that’s it for today. In summary, the only confirmed fixture announced yesterday was a hellishly over-priced friendly in Dublin. The rest are all agreed, bar the minor details of date and time. And the two transfers which are set to be announced are all agreed, bar the minor details of fee and personal terms.
Finally, if you want to take part in the ACLF World Cup Mayhem competition, email me at competitions [at] aclfarsenal dot co dot uk for more details. And having seen Damon’s entry, you’re in with a good shout…
All of which leaves me to bid your farewell.
’til Tomorrow. At some point…