“Commencing countdown, Engines on, Check Ignition and May God’s Love Be With You”


So the long close season is drawing to an end, the evenings are shortening, arable crops stand tall and golden in the fields, cheery yokels chew on a shared stalk of straw by my gate, and the slamming of the transfer window is no longer the distant dream it was a billion tweets ago. Hip-Hip-Hooray!

Shedding the sleepy early Summer shroud we must prepare ourselves for another season supporting our club, mountains to climb, let us get to work then:

What did I learn from this weekend ?

As Stew said yesterday and we all know, the thrashing of Lyon and what was a much more interesting game against Wolfsburg a pleasant interlude. I expected more from Lyon but they were knocked out of their stride and suddenly found the game lost. Wolfsburg were a much better work-out, the first half an hour was particularly tricky. We looked a little unsure of one another in that opening, a little rattled. We settled though, we took control. Nacho probably did as much running as I have seen him ever do in 90 minutes. The Germans controlled the ball well and do not give it away. We shall come to more of that below. What they lacked was a really sharp striker, but you know that.

Both sides are in the hat for CL group stages. We may see them again. There will be tougher opponents who do not fold as Lyon did. Mossy will not always be as obliging as he recently has been.

The evidence yesterday and today confirms that we enjoy a squad of formidably talented individuals, technically the best squad I can remember. And beyond the first eleven another what ? …. eight, nine or more players who could come in and do as good a job as those who are on the team sheet.

Clockwork, very fast clockwork. They enjoy an excellent understanding of each other’s movement and pace, short and long passes are pinged about. And did you see the finishing yesterday ??? Oh my ! Arsene has taken several years to assemble this selection of players. It has taken time, it has taken patience, there have been errors, and so often progress of the team has been set back through injury. The dish seems just about ready to serve.

And that perhaps brings us to a second thing I learned yesterday. The necessity of ensuring that players are fit, physically and mentally, for a full season of football when the contest gets underway. For the first time we embark upon a season with neither a) numbers of key players knackered because of summer competitive commitments, or b) carrying long term injuries that will bar them for months from contributing. The players looked, to me, rested, confident, and ready. That has not always been the case.

And the third valuable learning experience ? Well this youngster Jeff Reine-Adelaide must have made a hell of an impact in training, on coaching staff and manager. To get at his age and experience from new recruit from the admittedly highly rated Lens academy, and never having played a game for the French side, on to the Emirates pitch in six weeks as a starter is not usual, is untypical, is downright odd. We have a LOT of teenage talent and most of them have served their time. Iwobi I see joined the club at eight years old. Young Jeff’s rapid progress caught my eye even though, by the time he did get on yesterday, the game had lost its fizz. Today though he was a central figure, made Theo’s goal, a creative player and so strong for a 17 year old. One point of concern though, the name “Jeff”, is that French ??

One pot down, I admit is was a little embarrassing not having won the Ems Trophy since 2010

And what do we think the next week will bring ?

Sunday – Chelsea at Wembley of course. 3.00 Kick off time as it should be. Checking the records we have never played them in the Charity or Community Shield at the stadium. During the Millennium years there was just one meeting, in August 2005, with the Fulham Broadway posse winning 2-1. Jose’s only Community Shield, their winner from Droggie, our goal from the 18 year old prodigy Fabregas and, according to the match reports I looked at today, an excellent performance from Peter Cech keeping us at bay in the final quarter. Oh for the wheel to turn the full circle next Sunday.

A step back though from the edge of the wishing well.

Like just about everyone, everywhere ( including a number of CFC fans I know) most people consider Jose Mourinho to be the incarnation of football evil, a man who consciously sets out to destroy any semblance of art or beauty in the game. He almost invented bus parking in modern football with Inter. He acquires and discards footballers like disposable paper hankies. He treats opposing manager, often former colleagues and mentors, with contempt.

Not only does Jose have that satanic core running through him like a stick of rock but, unforgivably, the man keeps winning trophies. He is not lucky, he works hard. He uses the massive resources he is given well. And each time we anticipate bagging the bastard, cutting him down and mounting his smug Portuguese head on the library wall, he eludes the hunters. He even, once or twice, contrives to get the hunters to shoot each other in the head. I wince at the recollection, for the 1,000th time.

But what Jose is very good at is setting up his football team to stifle the opposition, to stop them winning. No side managed by Jose ever is profligate with the football. They keep it and keep it. ( Rather like Wolfsburg but with a greater propensity for violence) At worse Jose’s approach ensures a share of the points, at best his cautious control of the ball allows his side, if they can force a chance or error, to win.

So this week Jose will be working very hard indeed. He will be looking at the tapes of yesterday and of our closing games last season, and from his careful and shrewd analysis setting up Chelsea next week as the immovable object against which our artists will batter themselves to exhaustion. It has worked so often before, will it work on the 2nd of August ? The Community Shield will be no friendly, it will be no sham display, at the end of the game there will be a trophy won by the better side with plenty of sweat expended.

Enjoy your week.


25 comments on ““Commencing countdown, Engines on, Check Ignition and May God’s Love Be With You”

  1. so we have jeffArsenal who will make more headlines than GeoffArsenal ever has

    I really do hope Rene-Adelaide is not risked against the hatchet boys next Sunday.


  2. Id be surprised eddy if he plays at Wembley but Jeff is a big lad. Id like to see him flatten Ivanovic.


  3. he might be big, but I very much doubt he would be ready for cfc’s seasoned thugs.


  4. What a charmingly quaint little bolt hole this is.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. AndyNic – That was well worth the wait. How do you cook them up so quickly. I just drafted something and it took me ages.

    Spot on in your analysis. We can’t get carried away by the results. Even the boys seemed embarrassed to be celebrate the Ems Trophy at the end. Arteta had to command them to treat it with the appropriate blend of seriousness and joy. For most perceptive supporters, the most significant accomplishment of the the tournament Jeff Rene-Adelaide. Already our fans are going way over the top but this is Arsenal for you.

    Unfortunately the media will over-hype the The Community Shield but it will be no more than a glorified friendly. The real thing starts on Aug 9th. Everything prior to that is irrelevant.


  6. Wenger on whether Walcott has signed a new contract: “Not yet but we’re getting closer & closer. Hopefully we can finalise it very soon.”


  7. Nice write up to go with a lovely weekend of football.
    I feel so elated about the coming season. I really believe we are on d cusp of something great.
    Ox should be the player to watch out for but anything is possible with all the young players we have.


  8. Afternoon (evening), PA folk. Getting my pre-season commenting legs under me after being on holiday for a bit. Excellent review Anicoll. I missed today’s game, but I’ll catch it later on. I’m mindful of Stew’s warning yesterday of reading too much into preseaon showings, but I can’t wait to see our new boy Jeff. When Arsene speaks about a young gun being “special”, you sit up and take notice.

    Bring on Chelsea. I know it’s preseaon, and I won’t be upset if it doesn’t happen, but God it would feel good to beat them.


  9. Checking the Arsenal v Chelsea results over the years,

    Arsenal have won 66

    Chelsea have won 55

    the rest, the majority were draws 49 in all.

    It will take a few more years, before Chelsea catch up. IF EVER? A new owner?


  10. Nice one Andrew.

    I think the ball from Cech to Ozil is worthy of note. Clearly intended that. A good distributor in the keeper’s jersey is not to be sniffed at and not something we’ve had a notable exponent of in recent times I believe.


  11. It was always going to be an anti-climax after yesterday, but the difference between yesterday’s team and today’s was evidently the lack of familiarity with each other’s games and insufficient experience of playing together from the team with mostly reserves, fringe players and youths. Despite that I thought they did well. Gabriel was solid at the back and looks promising. Chambers is playing with more confidence after a full season at Arsenal. He could make a good CB with more time and experience in the position. Hector seemed a little subdued today but it was good to see that Nacho has taken up where he left off last season. I was worried about the succession of corners that Wolfsburg won and sure that at least one of them would hit the target, but it turned out to be good experience for the team in defending corners, which they did well. I thought it was a waste to have Theo standing on the goal line as it robbed us of the chance of a quick counter attack if the ball fell to an Arsenal player.

    It was also good to see that Jeff is not just a flash in the pan, he’s definitely got some skills to build on. Chuba has been trying too hard, he just needs to relax and be more of a team player – maybe another loan spell is required. Arteta, Jack and Theo who all had long injuries last season looked a little rusty today, but they’ll improve quickly. Wolfsburg obviously saw our first team yesterday and decided to start quickly but they didn’t have the quality to hurt us.

    I must say, footie fans are a strange bunch. Ex-chelski player in a green shirt his every touch is booed. Ex-chelski player in the Arsenal goal, his every move is greeted with the loudest cheers of the day!

    Liked by 4 people

  12. Great warm up Anicoll…..

    I expect a very exciting, enjoyable and fruitful season ahead…….

    I’m off to Hellas on Wednesday. I’m hoping to find a place on the west coast that will screen the charity shield….and I hope it will be worth it. I’m more confident that ever….


  13. Nice one Andrew, well played, no ring-rustiness from you.

    As one who is lucky enough to watch our U21/U18’s play on a regular basis, I am as intrigued as everyone else is by JeffArsenal. I can’t actually recall a youngster being first seen in the senior side before at least a couple of showcasing fixtures in the reserves. For example, I spent some years watching Bellerin and Gnabry before they started on their cameos for the senior side, so, as Andrew rightly says, JeffArsenal really is something of a special case.

    Not only that, but Arsene said so as well.

    And that U21 squad is looking very interesting in the round with the likes of Zelalem, Bielik and Iwobi providing three further reasons for keeping a very close eye indeed upon the Arsenal Academy. Incredibly, most of the Academy games are free to watch and well worth the trip if they are ever in your neck of the woods for away fixtures and you can’t easily reach north London/Hertfordshire.


  14. Alexis just posted this

    View this post on Instagram

    Entrenando ⚽️ training …

    A post shared by Alexis Sanchez (@alexis_officia1) on

    Liked by 2 people

  15. no wonder Wenger says he will not take long to be match ready and may only miss one league game despite not returning to training on the 3rd of August


  16. Lovely stuff Andrew,I was over the Emirates on Saturday and the optimism after the game was clear for all to see,gonna be some season this one..


  17. as much as i dont want to hype our youth team players, its hard to review our preseason so far without the risk of going over board. iwobi – another alex in our club, akpom, hayden all show why we need to be excited about the future.
    now i see the reason arsene reluctantly allowed diaby to go eventually. jeff renie-adelaide. its like wenger can finally forgive/relieve himself of the guilt/pain of seeing diaby not being able to fulfil his world class potential. in jeff, its like, okay, lets start all over again abou. this time a couple years earlier and teach you how to elude those basterds who might want to amputate you again. yes abou, we can do it with jeff may be we can show the world what they missed in you.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. nice double entondre Andrew and worth the wait.
    The second game was a different test and quite like those games will face mid-season, facing a physical side who are better in the air than us and with most of our stars missing we coped very well kept a clean sheet and grew into the game more and more it was very encouraging. It was, in its own way, as an important a win as the 6-0 had been before. TR7, Danny, Alexis, Ospina and Serge still not seen yet in pre-season I would say their not a bad quintet to add to an already impressive squad.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. passenal, arteta maybe rusty, but that cant be said of jack. i think by now, he needs to begin to look at himself. yes he’s a good dribbler and one of the best in the club and certainly the bst in england. but he needs to start learning from cazorla and ozil who are equally good dribblers. do it when absolutely necessary and pass the ball when and as needed. no point in taking on the whole opposition when there may be better placed players around him. this could also save him from injuries and also make him the world class player we all know he can become.


  20. Thanks.

    Couldn’t watch the games, two the goals stood out for me, sweeping back to front team goals: chamberlain against Lyon and Wally yesterday. Not too shabby for pre-season. Mr.Moss enjoyed the FA cup final so much he’s been following the Arsenal during his holidays

    Almost felt sorry for Wolfsburg when Bellerin decided to break the press on one or two occasions. Did feel slightly sorry for Welbeck missing out. The England national team leading scorer from recent seasons, did he suffer after havin had to slog it through the Xmas Crunch whilst not 100%?

    If no (England) starlets are given the A.Taylor treatment we could see a fresh Walcott and Chamberlain take a breather after the opening weeks as Alexis and Welbeck try and find their fitness, and that to me would be incredible! Add in the playmaking lump and it doesn’t matter which forwards the opposition choose to set up for*, as West Brum discovered this is a dangerous Arsenal.

    *I always feel that any reference or appraisal of the specialist in signing players from the special agent is incomplete without a cheeky referral to his sport changing bank building splurge upon flip flopping diving Mendezian Mules this past decade, across the leagues. What he does on the pitch is no different to Poolis etc. Any manager as in ANY manager would e successful with his budget ain’t no two ways about it: saw a table of relative fees for current players in Europe with their transfer fees judged in today’s rates using inflation: Gazprom have like 15 of the top 20 fees (not inc. wages) paid in Europe! That’s incredible. AFC had one, Reyes, and that makes sense. Fascinating table, no idea who made it.
    And the funny papers try their hardest to ignore that Sum! For some strange reason.


  21. Much like the two days of football, I enjoyed both preview and review differently and equally. When afterglow is as satisfactory as expectation you know you’ve got a hit record, even if you can’t pronounce bacaruda.


  22. I was really impressed by Gabriel, he has no fear, he puts his head or any part of his body in the way of rocket shots without a thought for himself, he gets stuck in with tackles too. A bit of Tony Adams about him


  23. I see Arsenal linked with a move for Juventus striker Llorente, I think its all paper talk and agent talk, but what I find funny is that so many Gooners who were demanding we buy him when he was at Bilbao and moving to Juve, are now going mad at the idea of AFC signing him, he is not good enough(expensive enough)


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