Firstly, apologies for the long delay since my last post – I’ve started a new job which involves a lot of travelling time, and with the season still a little time away, it was the perfect opportunity for a break. Now, however, our trip to Anfield is just five days away, so it is time for a return.
Over the next few days there will be full previews of the season ahead, the bar to the right which proudly displays my scorching £0.28 profit from the World Cup will be replaced by a Premiership equivalent, and much more besides. Stay tuned.
So what has happened since I’ve been away? Considering that my last post was about how electric we looked going forward, and conversely how wobbly we seemed at the back, not a lot. Our final friendly was a freakish 6-5 victory over Legia Warsaw, truly a match that judged whether your glass was half full or not. The positive – scoring six against a decent European outfit, while missing the creative talent of Van Persie, Cesc, Arshavin and Bendtner is some achievement. The negative – our defending was horrific and the less said about Fabianski’s performance, the better.
Practically the entire Arsenal fanbase is crying out for a keeper and a centre back as a matter of urgency, and anyone who witnessed our pre-season games would have difficulty arguing against that view. It is especially key when you consider the wealth of options we have at the other end of the pitch – a meaner defence could be the final piece of the jigsaw.
But those who think Wenger is blind to it are wrong. He has already spoken about the need for at least one more central defender and his interest in Schwarzer was very real. That isn’t to say arrivals are guaranteed, but the weaknesses that are clear to us are clear to everyone.
Of course, some transfer rumours you can ignore. Man City are not going to strengthen us with Given or Hart, likewise Liverpool with Reina. Elsewhere, the Spahic rumour has been dismissed, which may come as something of a relief to those who feel the 30 year old would merely have been Silvestre’s replacement in more ways than one.
Overall, however, I really think we need to switch our minds away from the transfer nonsense. With international friendlies clogging up the week, little will happen before the season begins, and a trip to Anfield is deserving of more of our attention. Perhaps once the game has passed we can turn our attention back to the transfer window – by then there will be a mere two weeks remaining and the time to act will be fast approaching.
For what it is worth, I predict we’ll sign a central defender towards the end of the month, perhaps on deadline day, but miss out on a keeper. And worryingly, it seems more and more likely that Fabianski will begin the season as first choice. Perhaps Wenger was just giving him plenty of chances to prove himself in pre-season, but it would be an odd move to revert to Almunia considering how little he featured.
Five days to go. I’m excited, but nervous. One thing is for sure – it will not be dull.