Here we are again then. The start of another Barclays Premier league season is upon us, and the inevitable agony and ecstasy are waiting for us just around the corner. This is the time of the year where fans of every team in the league can be forgiven for dreaming, dreaming of what could finally be ‘the year’. Whether you’re hoping for that elusive premier league title, to finally put the noisy neighbours in their place, or to just simply drift quietly away from that relegation dog fight, your hopes rest on eleven men, for ninety minutes every Saturday from now until may. After a summer of waiting, thumb twiddling and transfer news searching, the day where it all counts, where all your summer efforts are put to the test, is tomorrow.
From an Arsenal perspective, this summer has all been very new to us. This time last year we hadn’t spent a penny and our record signing was Andrey Arshavin, but now, thanks to the new commercial deals, we can finally compete with the best, and our situation compared to twelve months ago is very different. We’ve signed Alexis Sanchez for over thirty million of your English pounds, and have spent a total of over £60 million. We have acted quickly and efficiently to bring in Ospina, a world cup star, Debuchy, France’s number one right back (Backary who?) and the versatile, and very impressive Callum Chambers. And it is this young man who epitomises the change over the last twelve months. A £16 million signing this time a year ago would have sent us into delirium, and broken our record signing. Now though? We question if he is a big enough name and why haven’t we spent £40 million on someone else. In that regard, it’s clear to see that Wenger and Gazidis have finally delivered, and credit where credit’s due, they have done exceptionally well.
As a result of his shrewdness in the transfer window however, Wenger has created a new, but very good problem to have; his team selection for the opening game. With competition now apparent in every position, we are in the best shape we have been in for a long, long time. However, here’s how I think we will line-up:
Debuchy Chambers Koscielny Gibbs
Sanchez Ramsey OX
Due to the BFG’s lack of match fitness, I feel the Wenger will trust young Chambers with the responsibility of handling the always dangerous, and absolutely prolific, Marouane Chamakh. The rest of the back four pretty much picks itself, and due to his promotion to captaincy following the departure of the Verminator, I feel Arteta has to start. Does he fit the bill in the long term? We will know come deadline day. Furthermore, I feel that the absence of one Mesut Ozil will benefit Jack Wilshere due to the intense media spotlight he has been subjected to in recent weeks. The German’s absence will allow Ramsey to push further up, giving Wilshere the reigns to control the centre of the park, a position he made his own just eighteen months ago. I also feel that the Ox will be given the nod over Cazorla in the left-wing position, as I feel that Wenger has realised the impact that direct play and pace gives to the team. As for Sanchez, well I think we can agree when I say just simply sit back, watch, and enjoy.
Our chances in this game have been further boosted by the breaking news of the departure of Tony Pulis, which means that his palace side may not be able to produce the incisive, Barcelona-like football they usually play with; a real shame for the neutral. In reality though, this game will be no-walkover. Despite being manageress, Palace has an array of talents and are extremely well drilled and will no doubt be hard to break down. With the like of Frasier Campbell and Jason Puncheon up front, they are also able to break quickly, meaning the role of Arteta I especially crucial today in breaking up the play.
Although the first game, this is a must-win. To set a benchmark and to prove to ourselves that this year our title challenge can be sustained until the very end. Ramsey and Oxlade-Chamberlain to score,
COME ON YOU GOONERS!