Good morning one and all…
So here we are, the page turning on a new chapter as the Arsenal kick-off their season at the Emirates against the Premier League Champions, Manchester City.
As the start to new seasons goes, unless you are from up the road, teams tend look a bit different to the one that started the preceding season. We had quite a few players that moved on since last August and were also met with new arrivals. The changes in personnel has added more depth and balance to the previous group.
Of course our highest-profile signing of the summer has seen the arrival of Unai Emery who replaced the legendary Arsène Wenger, to mark the dawning of a new era.
The questions most asked since then is what does this mean regarding playing philosophy? Will he do away with Wenger-ball and be pragmatic?
While answers to these are subjective as you can only do so much in pre-season games, there has been a prevailing theme in Emery’s pressers thus far that doesn’t appear to differ much from that of his Gallic predecessor; on the ball he wants attacking, possession-based football, and off it he want us to press our opponents “aggressively” for the purpose of winning the ball back as quickly as possible.
What does all this mean for today you ask?
As opening fixtures goes, results can go either way because players are still cold and looking to find their mojo, while new signings are still adapting to their new surroundings. So I guess for both teams all that matters is getting the first one out of the way, preferably with a positive result by fielding a team capable of outscoring the other.
In the PL young Unai won’t find more difficult opposition than the Citizens, so his first game as Arsenal boss will be, as the saying goes, a real baptism of fire.
That said, looking to the season ahead we have every reason to be hopeful and optimistic to put the disappointment of last season behind us, by looking no further than the attacking trinity of Özil, Aubameyang and Lacazette. Auba scored 10 and assisted 4 goals in 13 games, to give us a glance of what a special player he is. Lacazette in his first season, that went under the radar, scored 17 and assisted 5 goals in all competitions. Those are not numbers to scoff at. With the majestic Özil to provide the service we know he can, they have the potential to form quite a formidable partnership that can really terrorize PL defenses.
To think some twitters on twatter had the nerve to say Unai inherited an “awful squad” that would take “few windows to fix”? Ha! I’m so looking forward to be entertained.
To everybody watching the game from wherever… time to mark out the technical area as hopes and dreams are waiting to be consummated over the next nine months.