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The Gunners

You hear that? That’s the sound of the shutter from Stuart MacFarlane’s camera as the official team photo for the season is being done. The photo shoot means that means all players are present. Those who have not played this season, those who are injured, those who were on international travels this past week and perhaps some of those whom we can’t believe are still in this picture.

This is the team that will wear the red and white for this season. These are the players whom will go out onto the pitch and do battle for us. While some of the make-up of the team could change come January, it will generally remain pretty much the same. This will be the team we will be cheering on and giving them the best support we can provide. Just so we are clear on the respective duties on both sides.

Something which is more clearer is the absentees for this weekend. Lukasz Fabianski came back injured from his time with Poland but Wojciech Szczesny returns to full fitness after staying back with us for the international break. Go figure. Meanwhile Theo Walcott will spend more time under the covers of his bed sheet as he continues his recovery from his virus. Wonder if he’s reading his own autobiography while in bed. Of the immediate ones, Abou Diaby is rated as 50/50 but with Arsene Wenger also mentioning the proximity of the upcoming games, I doubt any risk will be taken with him.

However, there are better news. The longer term absentees are showing good progress with their recovery. Emmanuel Frimpong will start training on Monday while next in line should be both Jack Wilshere and Bacary Sagna with the last one, Tomas Rosicky not very far away from these 2 either. It is a very low probability for us to have the full compliment of the squad, even for just 2 weeks but I’m not giving up hope on that yet. Rest assured, each and every one of these players will get a tremendous applause in the first game that they come back in.

Without doubt, I’m sure Wilshere will receive the loudest cheer of them all. A player who came up through the ranks at Arsenal academy and rising to the top. A player who has the touch, the control and the vision. Someone whom we can clearly see is the best player at the club when truly fit. Wilshere is someone who has all the technical capability but warms our heart with his doggedness and desire. I won’t be able to take it if there’s a setback with his return.

Coming back a little to the player who could share the same return week to training, if not the return to competitive match, it’s Sagna. His name was raised in the press conference that Wenger held yesterday. Every reporter and journalist in the room was eager to hear Wenger’s response to Sagna’s remarks about being disappointed with the departure of 2 players this past transfer window. Here is where the story heads for a different direction.

The one on the official website states all the understanding part. That what came out wasn’t best detailed to what he had in mind. That Sagna loves the club and only want what’s best for the club. The media are reporting the same thing with an additional comment. I’m just picking one from Guardian but everyone has the same story.

I believe any player or any employee always has to defend the company he works for.And if he is not completely happy with it, then he has to go somewhere else. That is basically what I think. That is what I say to everybody.

That’s fair enough for me. All well and fine that these players are professional. Here to do a job and take the money home, of course trying their best to produce what they are best capable of. However, I’m sick and tired of the games we played every single start of the new campaign. Campaign that doesn’t begin with the first league game in August, but a campaign that starts in June concentrating on player retention.

The management which is lead by Wenger (still) will outline what is required and expected of the team. If any player feel that the road that we intend to take does not match their directions, then by all means please leave. That’s on the side of the harmony of the team. What we don’t want is divisions within the team. Players who are onside with the manager and players who aren’t. That scenario will never end in the right way.

However, the next question is whether these so called “directions” are ones which us fans can accept. Ultimately, we are what makes the club. Without us, there will be no possible manner for Arsenal Football Club to sustain themselves unless the billionaires continuously pump their own money in. Without fans, no sponsors will give their money to Arsenal. No television will want to broadcast our matches in an empty stadium. Us fans, have every right to be in alignment with these directions.

That said, I doubt the entirety of the fans think in the same manner. Some demands for Champions League trophy every season. Some, the same with the Premier League. I want us to challenge every single season and if we fail, we improve on that the following season. What’s yours?