Arsenal 4-3 Leicester
Do I have the strength to dust myself down and go at it for another year, with diminishing returns, or shall I just pack it all in? I ask myself this question every summer.
But enough about this blog, because the season’s started, and it started with a bang, a crash, several more bangs and a cavalcade of comedy defending. Wotcha Arsenal!
If you were the kind of person who’s prone to pass judgement on our chances after a game, you’d suspect that having drunk another potion of neat Arsenal from the cup of pure Arsenal, we’ll spend the season hallucinating undistilled Arsenalness all the way through till April. Then we’ll come round, wondering why we’re 6th, and stagger off on a run of solid form before resting once again for the summer.
But honestly, it’s a wee bit too early for that. We had just one real central defender available (there are a further four, if you include the unloved Calum Chambers, waiting in the wings) and we duly defended as if we’d erased defending from our minds over the summer months. I forget my work password after a week off – so I can understand how easy it might be for the concept of marking set pieces to disappear in a puff of smoke after eight weeks on sunloungers. Maybe they should just write it down?
It was a day to remember for Lacazette, who showed a real instinct for goal and looks like he’ll fit in well. Eat that Dennis Bergkamp, with your seven fallow games with no goals! (No, I’m not sure where I’m going with this either).
Aside from that, it was a reminder from two oft-derided players of their value. Ramsey got us level with a lovely finish, and Giroud powered a honker of a header over the line for the winner. Yes, he’s a bit slow, and no, he doesn’t always fit in when you want to play at pace and on the break, but how the hell do you replace a contribution like that? Who else scores those kinds of goals for us? It would be nuts to jettison Giroud, frankly, and I hope when Wenger says Giroud’s happy and wants to stay that that’s the end of it. Because in Giroud, Walcott, Welbeck, Lacazette and Alexis* there are a lot of goals and there’s a lot of variety. There’s room for a break and there’s room to chop and change.
*INSERTS GIANT IF-ALEXIS-IS-STAYING CAVEAT
So although we promised to screw things up on day one, we kept ourselves intact for some stern incoming tests. Job done.
August is a strange month, because when the season begins there’s still three weeks of transfers to go. I know we all like to have everything nailed down and ready to go, but that’s never going to happen.
The way things are, with the amount of money still left unspent and some big transfers brewing in Europe that could foment things further, I’d be amazed if our squad doesn’t change some more by 1st September.
In the meantime, we just need to battle through the jittery early stages. And learn to defend a bit – that would be nice.
It’s good to be back. Good summer, everyone?