How many weeks have we waited? – its been far too long; like being separated from a lover, knowing that the date and time is set for a reunion, counting down the hours and minutes until we are re-united.
I’ve really missed Arsenal. I’ve watched a lot of football in the last few weeks and although it was nice to have Cesc and van Persie in the World Cup final, to see a whole team in the glorious Red and White, heralding the beginning of our preparation for the new season …. what can compare to that?
This afternoon I’ll be at Barnet FC to welcome Arsene Wenger, Pat Rice and our players, new and old – a mix of gifted reserves spiced with a smattering of first team stars who were spared the exertions of playing in the World Cup. I would imagine some managers (Domenech and Capello) may now be regretting the ommission of Arsenal players who would undoubtedly have performed better than the forlorn figures who returned early in failure.
Friendlies at Barnet can be anything from a thrilling 11 goal celebration of beautiful football to a tepid nil nil.
Having watched the way Spain laboured to win the World Cup 1-0, I’d love to see us bang a few in for fun. Here are the results of the games so far this century:
The Barnet fans always make me laugh. They used to sing about ‘the Highbury Library’ and ‘shall we sing a song for you’ etc etc, but like most Arsenal fans, although I’m really excited about the game it would be a bit pathetic to go overboard as we are playing a team from the 2nd division (apologies to the Barnet faithful). Having said that, I much prefer Barnet to the other team starting with ‘BAR’ who publicly embarrassed our captain in that ‘shirt incident’.
The look on Cesc’s face said it all. Take my word, he will be an Arsenal player next season and he will play with all the passion and conviction that makes him such a great footballer.
This is the 22 man squad as announced on Arsenal.com
Manuel Almunia (GK)
Lukasz Fabianski (GK)
Looking at that list, I would love to to see the new boys, Chamakh and Koscielny get some time on the pitch. It will be fascinating to see which centreback pairing takes to the field against pool for the first game of the season. Today we may get an insight into how Vermaelen/Djourou and Vermaelen/Koscielny combos would work.
It will also be interesting to see Havard Nordtveit. The Norwegian is now 20. He’s grown to 6ft 1 1/2 in. (tall for an Arsenal CB!) and has spent the last couple of seasons playing first for Lillestrøm in Norway and last year FC Nuremburg in the Bundesliga where he was deployed as a defensive midfielder, not a centreback?
Slightly more depressing is the choice of Goalkeepers – Almunia and Fabianski. Although I think the latter can become a good keeper, Almunia surely cannot be trusted to perform under pressure in the ‘big games’. Why on earth won’t we get a chance to see Szczęsny? They’ve been raving about him at Brentford all last season. He’s been playing in the league above Barnet, so surely he could have been given a chance. We know what the other two keepers are like to our cost!
The Bees (Barnet) always put in a spirited performance characterised by pace and endeavour – but let us all pray they don’t forget the ‘friendly’ nature of the occassion and injure any of our boys before the season starts.
A group of ‘Arsenal Arsenal’ bloggers will be at the game and I am hoping that each will write a short paragraph on their impression of the game for a ‘composite’ match report tomorrow.
Come on you reds………..
Written by peachesgooner