The World Cup is over and Arsenal are back playing football. The summer is whipping past us and I, for one, am egging it on to pass even quicker.
It makes a change to be excited about a new season. There will be something actually ‘new’ this campaign for Arsenal fans and we all got a little taster of it at Boreham Wood on Saturday.
Of course, we expected a team featuring Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette to score a hatful against a side from the fifth tier, that wasn’t the surprise. What many Arsenal fans couldn’t help be wooed by was Unai Emery, on the touchline, shouting at the players as if this was the opening day against Manchester City. Or perhaps he wasn’t. Perhaps this was him calm and relaxed and we will see him ramp it up with the league finally starts.
My point is, he was up, off his feet and pushing for more. With one minute of the first half remaining, and Arsenal already five-nil up in a match that didn’t matter, Unai could be heard on the touchline shouting “GO! GO! GO!” as he encouraged his players to keep pushing, keep pressing, keep playing.
The players who were taken off at half-time were then reportedly put on the team bus and sent back to London Colney for a light session before they could go home.
There was a fear that when Arsene Wenger left there would be a void too big to be filled by any one man. That’s why the club have replaced him with three. In Unai Emery they have found a man I’ve really taken too.
He says all the right things and seems very keen to deliver something that will please the fans. Fans, fans, fans He talks about us a lot and he seems to understand what has frustrated us for so long. If nothing else, seeing an Arsenal side press hard from the first minute, especially against a lower league side where they have often been shown significantly wanting in the ‘am I arsed?’ department, is refreshing.
News on the Arsenal-front has been particularly quiet lately, but that’s the case with most teams as journalists entertained themselves with the World Cup.
Daily Mail football gossip writer, Charles Sale, is crying today because the FA basically told him journalists are ruin things.
That is harsh, but writing in his column in the Daily Mail on Monday he said, “The players v press darts shootout before every press conference at the England media centre became a metaphor for the improved relationship between the often warring sides. The dartboard is to be signed by the 11 players who took part and auctioned with the proceeds going to a Football Writers’ Association charity. However the FA, despite working so hard on breaking down the barriers between the squad and media, do not think the journalists’ signatures on the board would increase the value.”
Sale’s little rant followed directly below one entitled ‘Get over yourself, Gianni’. One could reasonably say the same to Sale.
Sale’s column is actually worth keeping an eye on as he often reports snippets of news others miss, but one of my highlights of the coverage of this World Cup has been reading his personal hatred and envy of the BBC play out over the course of the competition.
Today he’s crying about a few BBC (and ITV) pundits playing golf on Roman Abramovich’s golf course. He’s probably annoyed he didn’t get an invite. He claims they’ve upset viewers and colleagues, but it seems they have upset Daily Mail journalists even more and that, for me, seems to be a win.
There is little Arsenal news to report beyond what you can get on Arsenal.com for yourself but with the World Cup now over reporters can return to their main job of making up and exaggerating transfer rumours.
Arsenal may or may not be done in the transfer window. They were looking for a winger but seem to have slowed that search, happy with what they have. With Lucas Perez back at the club, he is the definition of ‘like a new signing’ given the bit-part role he has been afforded at the club since he signed two years ago.
Outgoings still have to be sorted but even on that front we shouldn’t see too many leave the club, at least not from the first team. Expect a few more youth and women players to arrive but for the men’s team, we are probably done for this window.
How amazing is that? To watch Arsenal identify areas of weakness, reasonably-priced players to strengthen those areas and then sign them before pre-season has started so they can acclimate to their new team before the season starts.
It’s a remarkable approach to team building, one that we’ve been led to believe wasn’t possible in this day and age.
I can’t wait for the new season to unfold to show us what else we’ve been bulls**tted about….