Years ago, a sunny Saturday afternoon in August was something to look forward to. The first time I remember it not being the case was 1984 – I think – when we played Chelsea and it kicked-off at 11.30 a.m. Not quite as awry as the parachutist who ended in the North Bank building site…
Now, it’s three days and nights; a footballing St Swithin’s, if you like. Surprisingly, Sky left out Monday night football this weekend. Spurs trip to Newcastle is a prime candidate or Chelsea’s to Huddersfield; both cause maximum inconvenience to travelling supporters.
The transfer window for buying closed yesterday, with only Lucas Perez leaving. It doesn’t mean we’re saddled with players we don’t want, however. EFL clubs can still take players on loan until the end of the month; there’s hope yet for Carl Jenkinson to get first-team football.
Of course, the overseas markets were always the only option for Ospina and Campbell; it seems unlikely Danny Welbeck would move abroad although some leagues may prize the shinned goal highly. I don’t know.
The good news is that football takes over. I’m relaxed about the sales side of the squad. None of the main first XI players is leaving so speculation is precisely that and easily ignored. Aaron Ramsey’s contract remains unsigned but Ornstein from the BBC claimed yesterday a deal was close. All hail the word of Ornstein; we shall climb to the top of Buile Hill Park and take his word as gospel, writing on the back of the Malborough Gold packet left on the floor.
Salford council’s website lists famous denizens of the suburb. Who knew Kenneth Wolstenholme and John Cooper Clarke were Salfordians? No mention in John Moores bio of his Liverpool FC ownership though. Strange that…
A Brand New World With Just A Handful Of Men, We’ll Start All Over Again
Now Unai Emery’s reign at the club really takes shape. A summer working with the players intensified over the past fortnight when what will be his first XI trained together. The pressing game of which he is so enamoured, reared its’ head occasionally in the friendlies; to be effective it must be a constant presence. He also needs everyone to buy into it.
The biggest failure on our part was inconsistent pressing. When one player drops off or doesn’t press in a pack, it wrecks the shape of the team, leaving gaps to be exploited. Which is better than Gap exploiting anyone, I suppose.
Facing City on Sunday is good in that respect. The players know their opponents possess a devastating attack. Any lapsed concentration or effort will be exploited.
However, in an attacking sense, our players are equally capable. Aubameyang is a genuine contender for the Golden Boot while Lacazette scores all manner of goals. We need others who chip in five or six goals to up their contributions to take us a step forward and increase the threat.
It will, of course, be strange not to see Arsène Wenger on the touchline. Refreshing as well, a signal of change, rebirth, reinvigoration, even if the end result remains the same. Which it may well do on Sunday.
Expecting change to take effect on the opening game might be realistic against lesser sides; this weekend, we are underdogs so a good performance is important for the season ahead. If we’re as lacklustre as we were at Wembley or the league match the following week, we deserve the crucifixion we’ll receive.
But that’s not going to happen, is it? A new optimism, guys and gals, a new optimism.
Boredom, Boredom, Be-dum, Be-dum!
And a new way of delivering injury updates. Blunt; you can tell they are written by a doctor.
Has resumed training
Injury to his left knee. Will be out for 8-10 weeks.
Injury to his right Achilles. Aiming for return to training at the end of the year
The bottom two lack the beside manner. Kolasinac’s update is only missing, “Get over it” at the end, while Koscielny’s lacks “Malingerer”. I’ll quickly add that I think the pair are neither malingering or shirking…!
Which brings us full circle. Tottenham are set to bring out a new DVD, marking their record-breaking summer without a single new signing. Not even an ageing goalkeeper. Mauricio Pochettino wants a repeat of last season so that’s third and failing miserably in the domestic cups before being knocked out in the round of sixteen of the Champions League. Been there, done that; the t-shirt’s not worth buying. All this in an executive toilet pan.