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 seasonâ€™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 whoâ€™s prone to pass judgement on our chances after a game, youâ€™d suspect that having drunk another potion of neat Arsenal from the cup of pure Arsenal, weâ€™ll spend the season hallucinating undistilled Arsenalness all the way through till April. Then weâ€™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, itâ€™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 weâ€™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 heâ€™ll fit in well. Eat that Dennis Bergkamp, with your seven fallow games with no goals! (No, Iâ€™m not sure where Iâ€™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, heâ€™s a bit slow, and no, he doesnâ€™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 Giroudâ€™s happy and wants to stay that thatâ€™s the end of it. Because in Giroud, Walcott, Welbeck, Lacazette and Alexis* there are a lot of goals and thereâ€™s a lot of variety. Thereâ€™s room for a break and thereâ€™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 thereâ€™s still three weeks of transfers to go. I know we all like to have everything nailed down and ready to go, but thatâ€™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, Iâ€™d be amazed if our squad doesnâ€™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.
Itâ€™s good to be back. Good summer, everyone?