The Premier League is back. Or if you’re being a little fussy, the Barclay’s Premier League is back. Not sure why, BPL is not something that stuck with me. Much rather the EPL than the BPL. Anyway, I’m digressing and how you or me prefer to call it makes no difference of any sorts. Football is back and we can say goodbye to the seemingly endless weekends that was a much duller times to live in than any time between August to May. It’s endless servings of football, from watching live matches continuously from 7:45pm till roughly about 3am, the next morning. Not forgetting the reviews and goals on the next morning before repeating the same on Sunday night.
Lots of players have been brought in by all the other title challengers (we – Arsenal are one too). No particular team stood up with a purchase who can be argued to be a better player than those that we got. No, the little prick at Chelsea is not better than his former Barcelona team mate who’s currently with us (may, or may not be the pride of me talking). Still a good half month to go before the transfer window close and most likely more business to be had between now and then. At the moment though, we are easily amongst the 3 or 4 teams who looks capable to last the pace.
And it starts tonight against Crystal Palace.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain illuminated this game last season with his goals and all-round display in midfield that made a fair few people sit up and listen to that Arsene Wenger comment about how The Ox will probably end up as a midfielder. The match tonight is already looking less tough compared to last season, mostly because they will not have a cap-wearing, trainer-adorning mad man on the bench. Tony Pulis has left Palace and I dare you to say that a Palace with Pulis isn’t a tougher proposition than a Palace without Pulis.
What Pulis did last season with Palace was rather remarkable and the admiration he got from his peers on the fine job he did in steering Palace away from the relegation zone was just reward (urgh) for his work. He made them tougher to beat and installed into them a working defensive shape which teams found hard to break down. Only Brade Hangeland and Frazier Campbell are players of any note brought into Palace this season. Which hardly makes them infinitely better than they were last season.
On our front, the best news came as Wenger confirmed that Laurent Koscielny should be able to feature tonight. We definitely do not want to underestimate Palace and think that Nacho Monreal should be fine for this game. Having a recognised central defender available to partner one who was primarily a right back before, does calm the nerves more. Calum Chambers has impressed in pre season and should be given the nod (Miquel should weep at this) to start his first competitive game at Emirates Stadium.
The rest of the team should picked itself and somehow, I doubt we’ll run too much away from the 11 that started at Wembley last week. Perhaps Olivier Giroud could come in ahead of Yaya Sanogo but this is a doable game to use Sanogo from the start and bring Giroud on, if necessary. First, let me make it clear that this doesn’t contradict my earlier statement as Sanogo isn’t someone playing out of his position, if selected.
Szczesny, Gibbs, Koscielny, Chambers, Debuchy, Arteta, Ramsey, Wilshere, Sanchez, Cazorla, Sanogo
After what happened in the corresponding first fixture last season, we definitely do not want to see a repeat. If anything the stands are definitely in a much mood than it was last season. A defeat won’t derail us or create a poisonous atmosphere asking for heads to be culled. However, it’s also vital that we start on the front and right foot, to build on the wonderful last 2 matches in which we’ve added trophies to the cabinet. As I’ve said last week, being on a winning run helps. Psychologically, it does wonderful things to the mind and body.
With the important Besiktas away game on Tuesday, it is vital that we get the job done and get the job done without incurring any setback, injury wise. A couple of quick early goals should be able to kill the hopes of a team that’s currently rudderless. Personally, I’m rooting for Jack Wilshere to have the season that Aaron Ramsey had last season. Maybe not in terms of goals but the quality of performance and all that rising to the top kind of thing. That would make my season …….and trophies of course.
Here’s to a very good campaign. Up The Arsenal.