Dust the Grove down for the new season

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There’s a football festival at the Grove this weekend, but hoarding my football tokens beneath my mattress as I am, I shan’t be there. Besides, it’s live on Sky Sports, and in the close season I can’t escape the gut feeling that I’ve been paying £37 a month for hundreds of channels of tat and not much else.

So ‘tis time for some satellite payback.

We’re not that far away from the first game of the season now – a mere two weeks. So this is a much-needed ramp-up and it will be the first proper chance I’ll have had to look at the team and the new players. I wouldn’t say I was demented with optimism for the forthcoming season, but nor am I pessimistic. We’ve lost something (experience), but also gained something (two new shirts, one white and one hooped).

Wenger’s playing games as usual with his customarily cloudy quotes. “William has all the ingredients needed to be a captain”, he said, and when confronted about whether Ljungberg would be replaced, all we got was “well not necessarily” and “it is too early to say”.

Has Gallas got a chance? Of course he does – he’s vocal, experienced, a defender and a good enough player that other players don’t mind being told off by him. On the pitch, that works.

Trouble is, he has earned a reputation for speaking his mind off it (diplomatic speak, that is).

So my money would be on Gilberto or Kolo.

And finally, it’s heartening to see that Henry has still not scored from open play for his new club.

45 minutes in a Barca shirt and just the sole penalty to show for it.


Arsenal since about 1979. Thick, thin and all that.