Good day one and all…
Following a three-month furlough the wait for the 2019/20 Premier League campaign is finally over, with the mandatory promise of being better than the year before. Some of the usual suspects has already been in action as we saw both Man City and Liverpool picking up where they left off, and what can I say about our neighbours… Meh!
The headline act of the weekend of course is at the Tyneside’s St James’ Park where Newcastle United are hosting Arsenal for our season opener.
This the start to Unai Emery’s second season with the Gunners, expectations will be raised following an initial campaign that promised much but ended in a flurry. The lack of pleasing enterprise gave cause for concern but the club had a busy summer to try shake things up. We said goodbye to a few favourites and welcomed a fair share of new players.
Amongst the fresh faces many are excited to see is the 24 year-old Ivorian Nicolas Pépé. His 22 Ligue 1 goals last season, only Kylian Mbappe scored more, helped Lille OSC to second place, their best finish since winning the title back in 2010/11. If he can come close to hitting half that number in his debut season, it would help greatly to ease the scoring burden off Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette. Another player many are eager to see is the youngster Dani Ceballos, it is hoped that he will inject some much-needed nous into our midfield.
Over at the Tyneside things hasn’t exactly been quiet eh. Steve Bruce is now standing in the spot of Toon favourite Rafael Benitez, whose departure was met with impending gloom. And he wasn’t the only high-profile exit as Ayoze Pérez and Salomón Rondón, who between them scored 23 of the Magpies’ 42 league goals last season, followed him out the SJP’s gates. These players were replaced by a 22 year-old Brazilian who scored 7 goals in the Bundesliga last season, he will be partnered by an aging and usually-crocked Andy Carroll. Who wants to be a Geordie?
It’s tricky to gauge what to expect today. The atmosphere at St. James’ Park is likely to be cold with large sections of their crowd not very pleased with their owner letting go of Rafa. Bruce will have his work cut out trying to win over the Toon army, while walking a tightrope.
Arsenal didn’t had an easy preparation building up to the start of the campaign. Few of those expected to play starring roles arrived quite late in window, some had to shake off knocks this past week while others have a cloud of uncertainty hanging over their futures with the club, and of course we don’t know how the safety concerns of both Mesut Özil and Sead Kolasinac , who were central in our pre-season’s prep, are effecting our squad who seem to be very close to them.
I guess today will just be about getting the first match out of way and of course taking all 3 points back with us to London.
Positivistas… the slate is clean, the canvas is blank and I think we can all agree that at the least we had a decent transfer window. I for am always looking forward to see how things shape up because going into any new campaign with pessimism just wouldn’t be helpful. So let’s get behind the boys, especially those youngsters who came up from the academy because god knows they will need it.
LET’S GO GUNNERS!