Yes, just one week, can you believe it? We have but seven days from this Saturday until the start of the 2011-2012 Premier League season.
Happily for the Arsenal, we begin away at the madhouse of St. James’ Park. Last season Newcastle sacked their manager who was doing a fine job, flew their best player to Anfield to make sure he was sold in time, and this summer their players have been getting Twitter happy. The infamous Joey Barton was told he could leave on a free after having one pop too many at those in charge on the internet, it seems he is refusing to go. Fun times indeed for the Toon Army.
Just as well for us Gooners.
At the end of last season, Arsene Wenger promised us he saw what problems we had and where we needed to strengthen. So far he has sold Gael Clichy, Jay Emmanuel-Thomas, and some of the younger prospects, while Denilson has gone back to Brazil on loan. Nicklas Bendtner’s and Manuel Almunia’s days at the club look numbered as they have yet to be involved in preseason.
In contrast, the doors of the Emirates have only opened up to youngster Carl Jenkinson, and Ivory Coast international Gervinho. I caught a glimpse of our new forward for the first time at the Emirates Cup on Sunday, and he looks more than a decent signing. He is very quick, and has a good touch. Gervinho has already scored for us in preseason which is a good sign, however, what do we do in January when he possibly joins Alex Song, Emmanuel Eboue, and Marouane Chamakh at the African Cup of Nations? Will Robin van Persie’s glass legs hold up for a full season?
Of course, it would help if our problems were only up front; we all know they are mainly at the back. And apart from rookie Jenkinson, Wenger has done little to solve the problem. The selling of Clichy was perhaps a good deal; he too often lost the ball, was out of position, and couldn’t cross. Personally, I feel Wojciech Szczesny is good enough to be Arsenal Number One. If Manchester United are willing to fork out a handsome sum for a 20-year-old, why should we be afraid to play ours, just because we got him cheaper years ago?
Tomas Vermaelen, Johann Djourou, and Laurent Koscielny are all decent defenders in their own right, but none seem to work as a combo. Given the injuries we always get, we need another top centre back to compliment one of the above – Vermaelen – and the two left to come in when needed without any worries about being able to do the job.
Then of course, we have the problem in midfield. What problem? That of having no back-up defensive midfielder for Alex Song, and our Captain’s head not being in the right place, and only Samir Nasri knowing where his is...
One week to go.
Tik – Tok Arsene, Tik – Tok.