Manchester City look imperious. It will take a Hulk, Daenerys Targaryen, her dragons and a Pele to stop them this season. Our 2-0 loss to the champions on Sunday meant that Unai Emery became the first Arsenal manager to lose his first league game since Steve Burtenshaw in 1986. In Emery’s defence, I doubt any of the previous managers faced a team as remarkable as City. The efficiency of their passing, the way they effortlessly attack space with the ball and choke the opposition without the ball is frightening. Man, I wish Wenger made way for Pep a few years ago!
I tried to finish this piece before the Manchester City game, so I must caveat that it has been finalised with the benefit of having watched game one. However, neither the result or the performance affected my estimate for the season with what we know now.
Despite managing to conclude our pre-season with a 2-0 victory over Lazio, it has been an indifferent week. Usually, the week before our premiership season is dominated by angst over transfers (or lack of), but I get the feeling that the anticipation of seeing Unai Emery’s opening few games has quenched our usually insatiable appetite for transfer gossip.
With us scheduled to play Chelsea in week two of the Premiership this felt like one of those old Charity Shield ties. Regardless of the competition, it’s always nice to get one over on our west London rivals. After going behind on 5’ to a bullet header from Antonio Rudiger, we were taken apart by Chelsea with the impressive 17-year-old Callum Hudson-Odoi stealing the show. I’m aware of his exploits for the under-17 national team, but this performance further reinforced my optimism for the future of the England team. Continue reading “Arsenal 1-1 Chelsea (Arsenal win 6-5 on penalties) – One more friendly to go before the big one”
Our pre-season tour of Singapore was concluded with a 5 – 1 victory against an under-strength Paris Saint Germain team meaning we ended with one win and one loss:
Arsenal 1 – 1 Atletico Madrid (Atletico Madrid win 3-1 on penalties)
Arsenal 5 – 1 PSG
This Thursday we line up against Atletico Madrid in our first real test of pre-season. The International Champions Cup, a pre-season competition between 18 of Europe’s largest clubs, was launched in 2013 by American Billionaire Stephen Ross and the sports division of his private investment firm RSE Ventures. Football is undergoing a revolution driven by rising Asian and American influence. The increasingly appealing football carrot, cultivated by the year on year commercial success of the game, has made tournaments like this inevitable. The competition that uses a unique league format will be played in 21 locations across Singapore, Europe and America, and will continue to draw record crowds. Continue reading “Lets hope Mesut Ozil can move on and return the prestige to our number 10 shirt”
According to BeIn Sports, we may be interested in acquiring the rapid young Bayern Munich winger Kingsley Coman. The 22-year-old may be available, and it seems we are ready to pounce. Unai Emery recently stated he was content with his squad but would be open to adding another player if they were a special talent. Coman, who unluckily missed out on the French World Cup squad, fits that profile. However, despite my intrigue and enthusiasm fostered by this rumour, I found myself thinking, “What is Unai Emery going to do with Alex Iwobi?”
Well that has to be just about the best World Cup I have witnessed. A 4-2 final score line between two electrifying teams was the ultimate cherry on a fine cake. Well done to Didier Deschamps! The legendary “water carrier” became only the second man after Franz Beckenbauer to captain and manage his national team to World Cup glory.
Well done to Croatia. Luka Modric and co were the better team and thoroughly deserved to emerge victorious from Wednesday’s tie at the Luzhniki stadium. Despite that and our general overachievement, this was still a difficult result to swallow. I really thought we would kindle in this game, but it appears I was caught up in the whirlwind of excitement Gareth Southgate and his merry men managed to conjure. Despite the result we must thank the team for reigniting everyone’s passion for the national team and slaying the apathy of recent years.
Is this actually happening? If someone told me a month ago that by July 9, England would be in the semi-finals of the World Cup and Arsenal would have signed three players with the acquisition of a class defensive midfielder imminent (Lucas Torreira), I would have applauded their banter and ask for them to be breathalysed. Continue reading “Sweden 0 – 2 England: Dreamland”