The Emirates Cup. What’s it all about then?
Well, it’s the first get together of the season at The Emirates. Four teams playing two games each over two days. A competition in its seventh year, it begins at 14:00 today with Valencia playing AS Monaco, followed by Arsenal taking to the field against Benfica at 16:20.
It’s a fitness sharpener, a chance for mates to get together, and it will be the weekend when many of the next generation of supporters get their first taste of seeing The Arsenal, and we all remember that day.
It will be the first glimpse of our new signings, and fans may well see Sanchez, Chambers and Debuchy, while Ospina is definitely ruled out.
I will be particularly interested to see how Joel Campbell performs now that he’s back in the squad.
For those going, there’s a sense of “thank God, the summer’s over”. Hour upon hour of pretending to be in interested in some bloody awful sport to fill the gap. “Ok, I thought, I’ll really get to grips with the Tour de France as that’ll occupy me for two weeks. Then the English bloke fell off after ten minutes. Athletics? Oh blimey, no Usain Bolt, forget it. Synchronized diving? Nope.
Today, however, the wait is over. Fans get to see their second home again. Some can even get there early to see the wonderful new posters hanging around the ground on their elegant galvanized steel posts. Something for everyone today.
Most importantly, the sacred turf. Ahhh…sigh. Many of us mow lawns, and many of us do the Arsenal Head Groundsman Stadium thing. You know damn well what I’m on about. The lines one week, wide ones, narrow ones, little circles the next. For me the highlight of any seasons’ first game is that first glimpse of the green carpet laid out before you as you enter the arena. The promise of so many memories that will be forever engrained in your memory over the coming season. Hope. Expectation. The unknown.
I won’t do any kind of team sheet, as it would be purely guesswork ahead of two days of change, but if you are going, enjoy seeing your chums, getting back into the familiar surroundings of your pre-match routine, and knowing that finally, all is once again as it should be.
Our weekends are back, and they start today.