On The New Season, Captains And A Bit Of Optimism Thrown In

The Premier League returned last night, proving indeed that it is the Theatre of the Absurd.

Not as absurd as some losing their mind over an hour-long embargo on Unai Emery’s press conference. It doesn’t matter; it really doesn’t. In a week which saw the club’s identity sink beneath the weight of the dollar, holding back Emery’s words by an hour is insignificant.

For what it’s worth, my own view is that the club is keen to direct more people to their coverage so they control the ‘message’ instead of letting the media set the agenda, rather than worrying about the coach’s grasp of English.

Focus turns to the captaincy. Laurent Koscielny remains club captain to the chagrin of some, but in his absence, there are four captains: “Petr Cech, Aaron Ramsey, Mesut Ozil and Granit Xhaka,” completed the list. It’s progress. We’ve been told previously that we had 11 captains on the pitch. No wonder the ship was sinking; too many chefs and not enough cooks.

Now we know who the armband belongs to. So be it; I’ve got to be honest, I don’t like goalkeepers as captains. They are too isolated from play to influence it in the same way, for example, a midfielder can. But let’s be honest, we don’t have a leader who unifies in the same way as the great captains of our past. Cech’s elevation to the first name in the list suggests he’ll play tomorrow, with Bernd Leno avoiding a baptism of fire against Manchester City.

Whether that is the rationale, I don’t know. Alisson and Kepa the Keeper are making their debuts this weekend but that is expediency on the part of Klopp and Sarri. Both of their new players hal-fit are better than Karius, Mignolet, Caballero, and Green.

Dawning of a New Era

This is the periphary of the match, we’re skirting around the edges. Despite the numbing Manchester United performance last night – Sky only chose the match because Mourinho was imploding in the USA – I’m looking forward to this afternoon’s matches and tomorrow’s, of course.

I normally do get a surge of enthusiasm before the season but the changes on the playing side of the club underpin that. There’s a sense of purpose; it might turn out to be ‘same old, same old’ but the intention is that it won’t be. That’s a good start in my book.

Emery made it clear where his philosophy diverges from Arsène’s:

“Defensively: first it is to be organised, recover the ball quickly.

“But in these two moments in the match we need to work. To say it here is easier than doing it on the pitch. We also need time, but now I am happy because I think the players are improving.

“When we are thinking in an attacking moment, I want the goalkeeper thinking for that, he is the first.

“The same when we are thinking defensively, I want our strikers to be thinking: ‘We need to protect the goalkeepers’. I want those two moments to feel the same for all players.

“Each player has this quality, this characteristic to help the team as a collective. For me, that is very important.”

Reports talk of an outdoor gym being built and training sessions governed by objectives not a stop-watch. Arsène believed 90 minutes governed everything and training within that timeframe. Emery is more concerned with the players perfecting – or at least achieving – the objective they were set. By all accounts, he won’t stop until they get it right.

Whose method is right? We’ll see over time, and certainly not in ninety minutes tomorrow.

Super! Great!

Emery is conscious of the new beginning. Comparisons with the previous incumbent will haunt his season, not least of which will be the double completed in Wenger’s first full season in charge. It’s coming, you know it.

The Spaniard’s focus is on City and talk of the crowd being behind the players.

“Sunday, we need to show on the pitch our performance at a big level.

“The position is demanding our best moments tactically and also individually.

“It’s for that, that on Sunday I want first to be together with our supporters.

“It helps, if we’re together, for the players to show their best performance and to transmit with every supporter the quality, the energy and the spirit to go forward against Manchester City.”

I don’t think he will have an issue on that front. Indeed, perhaps a renewed energy will be apparent given the start of a new era and the optimism that things are gradually improving with respect to the playing staff.

However, the players have a responsibility as well. They capitulated woefully in all three games against City last season, despite having strong spells in the first two matches. We’ve got to see more from them in that respect. It’s rare I think they owe us a performance but certainly against City, after last season, that’s the case.

I must say, I’m optimistic we’ll get it. Not ‘super optimistic’, just more hopeful than I have been in a long time.

’til Tomorrow.

9 thoughts on “On The New Season, Captains And A Bit Of Optimism Thrown In

  1. Ras says:

    Top post YW.

    New season and new hope burns bright. I think that defensively we are going to sadly be short.

    Left back a huge problem. ANM can do a job but is not the long term solution. Nacho 33 bags of experience but he’s past his best of I’m being brutally honest. Sead the jury is still out.

    Central pairing of Center backs whatever combination does not engender any confidence, surety.

    I’m going to give Midfield a miss today.

    In attack I personally don’t think that shifting PEA to the Left to accommodate Lacazette in the middle, the centre is a good move. PEA Is not truly cut out to do this . If you look at the When he played in Germany alongside Dembele and Miki he operated centrally.,

    In PEA we have one of the best top 5 strikers, finishers in the World.

    The Vlogs of Arsenal in Pre season training etc have given a small insight into the machinations etc that Emery and his new Team are introducing .

    I just hope that The Team is going to find some grit, resilience some togetherness, a sense of pride so that when the going gets tough there will be no shirkers, no absentees. J’espère that the results at Swansea, Bournemouth etc from last season will not be repeated…

  2. Michael says:


    Looking forward to tomorrow, simply because I have no idea of the outcome. Cases can be made for any result.

  3. jw1 says:

    Observation on Emery has naming Koscielny ‘main captain’. Bodes well for Kos’ efforts in rehab. Helps to stay close to your team and teammates after an injury such as his.


  4. C says:

    Good stuff Yogi and really excited to see the new Arsenal under Emery.

    With all the discord and the toxic environment over the last couple of seasons, wish the likes of Moe, MA/CA, hell even the likes of Wilber and Big Al werw around to help usher in a new era. Maybe they will pop in tomorrow but tomorrow could be a brilliant match. Aubameyang is EASILY one of the top 5 finishers in world futbol and Lacazette is probably top 10, top 15. I think we now have the players and manager that fit together.

  5. Phil says:

    If the club wants to unify the supporters and extract some noise tomorrow, they just need to put a shot of Kroenke on the big screen.

  6. MesutsLeftFoot says:

    I don’t think we’ll get a result tomorrow…. And Chelsea will be difficult as well. I’m.not judging them until January, it’ll take time to adjust and learn new system. As I said before…. Chelsea were already a balanced team on paper, sarri didn’t have much to do but tweak how they train. Emry has a whole system to overhaul

  7. Buckagh says:


    Maybe we should just give the points to City now Ras.

    Let’s give it a chance

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