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Since today is my birthday, this is going to be a feel good post. Not too feel good until I’m sure that Arsenal will win the Premier League or the Champions League but optimistic nonetheless. The new season is only 5 days away (6 for Arsenal) and everyone starts from nothing, zero points. There is no reason to feel down even before it begins. What have I missed since my last post? Quite a fair bit to be honest.
Our captain stays. Simple as that. Cesc Fabregas is without doubt the best player that we have on current Arsenal books. Robin Van Persie is a great player but even he would readily admit to being second best compared to the World Cup winning Spaniard. The prolong saga of his supposedly imminent transfer back to Barcelona was all talk and too less action. Arsene Wenger and Arsenal stood firm to all the crap that has been spewing from Barca players and their management.
No player is bigger than the club, not even Fabregas. Wenger was steadfast in his reluctance to sell his captain but had Barcelona came in with the right offer, Fabregas would probably have been gone. As it is, the number being touted was far less than what Arsenal value him. This may all restart again next season but who cares about that for now. For now we have retained the service of a midfield maestro with an eye for a pass and the instinct of a real playmaker. We have someone who will fight for everything while still wearing the red and white of Arsenal.
We have players bearing the hurt of last season ending and some who have a point to prove after missing out for their respective countries in the World Cup. In 3 players who is fit and in all likelihood going to start at Anfield, we have players who are capable of holding the fort till Fabregas and Van Persie returns. Samir Nasri, Andrey Arshavin and Theo Walcott had a full period of holiday to recharge their batteries and be up for the new one. They have also the benefit of getting a full pre-season inclusive of training and friendlies. The good news so far is that they have stayed relatively fit (barring Arshavin’s case, of course) and look very much in form going to Anfield this weekend.
Even though in reality we have only signed the one central defender, but actually we’ve recovered another. Johan Djourou spent almost all of last season on the sidelines and only played the final fixture against Fulham. Unless Wenger get someone by the end of the month, Djourou will vie with new boy, Laurent Koscielny to partner the ever impressive Thomas Vermaelen in the centre of defence. Fitness and avoiding injuries are the key here. To many, 3 is not enough. However if they all stay healthy throughout the campaign and Wenger rotates and rest 1 when necessary, I see no reason to fear for our defence. But that is a really really big if.
We have emerging talents coming through the squad. Indication of that is the Jack Wilshere and Kieran Gibb’s call-up to the full England squad. Whether or not they feature against Hungary remains to be seen, but by just being there, they are already being acknowledged as players of worthy quality. To a lesser extent, the likes of Jay-Emmanuel Thomas, Henri Lansbury and Havard Nordtveit will also be pushing their more senior compatriots to be on their toes. Nothing fires up a professional more than not wanting to give way to the younger ones.
All in all, there are cause for much optimism, not only for Anfield but also for the rest of the season. Wenger says that there is only 2 steps to go to reach the summit of English football. The first big step comes this Sunday. A repeat of last season’s opening win is perhaps asking a bit too much but a win is what we should all look forward to. I can’t wait already.
More tomorrow, thanks for reading.