July 24, 2012
I woke up with the Irving Berlin song ‘Sisters’ in my head this morning. Do you know the one? It goes ‘Sisters. Sisters. Never were there such devoted sisters.’ It’s utter rot. I hate it. But whilst asleep my brain had ingeniously replaced all the lyrics with the word football so now all I keep thinking is ‘Football. Football. Football football football football football’
Still an annoying song but it sums up my frame of mind as I get overly excited at the prospect of seeing some football today. Arsenal take on a Malaysia XI at 14.45 UK time and while we’re likely to put out a severely restricted team who will all be at early stages in their pre-season programme and I imagine we’ll make so many substitutions that the game will have no real flow about it, it will still be Arsenal players pulling on Arsenal shirts (red and white or possibly purple) and kicking the ball around. And that’s something that my life has been lacking.
Though we don’t get the usual joy of seeing the new signings I’m excited to see the likes of The Ox and Le Coq in particular back in action plus it will be a good chance to catch some of the youngsters. In particular I’m keen to see Thomas Eisfeld who I still haven’t seen but I read has been working as a defensive midfielder in training, Nico Yennaris who looked good when he was called upon last season and Benik Afobe who, with Marouane Chamakh the only other recognised striker on the tour, has a chance to show what he can do and possibly even force his way into the manager’s plans for the season.
Chamakh himself has been making noises about staying put at the club this year, apparently feeling that his chances were too limited last season due to the form of RVP. With Robin on his way he thinks that he can get the chance to prove himself this year. I suggest he hurries up. As we all know his form was poor when he was called upon last season (although showed signs of improvement with some late cameos in the last couple of game) and with Podolski and Giroud already brought in and fans sure to clamour for another big signing when RVP departs, this tour may be the only chance he gets. If he bangs in a hat-trick this afternoon then Le Boss may have something to think about.
Kyle Bartley’s another player who I’d be keen to get a look at today. He was talking to the official site yesterday about the importance of seizing his chance this year but also confirming what already seems to be abundantly clear – Steve Bould is trying to shake things up on the defensive side of things. Kyle said:
It is fantastic – already in training you can see the influence Steve is having. I think for defenders and the whole defensive unit it is going to be a massive benefit.
Having Steve with the first team could be as big as any signing this summer.
For anyone who still believes that Bouldy will be nothing more than a glorified coneman I recommend checking out Aeroberg at the ArsenalHeart blog, a Malaysian based Gooner who’s been keeping followers up to date with the goings on during the tour and attended the team’s open training session yesterday. He reported that Bould took charge of the entire session but more importantly seemed fixated on players’ off the ball positioning and defensive duties. He would constantly blow up and stop the game to tell the full backs where they should be standing, later using cones to demarcate their positions.
I remember from reading Kenny Sansom’s book ‘Going Great Guns’ the amount of time that George Graham used to spend just on shape and positioning of the back four and the fact that Bould, such a vital part of that famous defence, seems to be instilling the same values into the current line up would validate Bartley’s claim. He really could be as big as any signing this summer. Here’s hoping it does the trick.
My search for silver linings over the RVP affair goes on and this morning there’s a good one from the Mail and the Mirror who both claim that Roberto Mancini is furious with the Man City board for failing to move decisively enough over the transfer. Boo hoo. Must be really hard to run a football team when you’ve only got half a dozen £25 million plus world class strikers on your books.
There’s a suggestion that City are finally catching up to the fact that FFP is coming in and they’re having to take some sort of action to pretend to be aiming to comply with the new rules. I’m not sure about that but I do hope the board and Mancini have a massive falling out over it and it disrupts the start of their season.
Vindictive? Yes. What of it?
The Cazorla story seems to be gathering pace following AW’s cheeky grin and denial yesterday as the Guardian have picked up on the story and seem to think that both the player and Arsenal are keen to make the deal happen. A price of £15.6 million is being quoted due to Malaga’s desperation to claw back some cash after their wealthy owners who have poured 150 million Euros into the club in the last two years appear to have decided to stop chucking their money away. It’s left the club in limbo and threatened with enforced relegation for failing to pay their debts which I would suggest offers not only an opportunity for Arsenal to land themselves a bargain but also a timely warning for those fans who would rather we operated our own club in a similar way.
It’s all very well relying on a wealthy benefactor to sink funds in but what do you when that benefactor decides that he wants to find himself a new hobby?
Finally today and good news as Laurent Koscielny has agreed to a new long term contract with the club. Great to hear and that’s one less contract scenario for us to worry about over the next couple of seasons.
Right, I need to go and shut down my internet for the day so I avoid any talk of the game before watching it ‘as live’ after work. Don’t expect much comment moderation after lunch. Enjoy!