Solid preseason over – now for the real thing

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Two cups under the belt, eh – we may as well just pack it all in.

Last night’s game was just about the most physical pre-season game you’re ever likely to see, littered with yellow cards and highlighted by a personal duel between Robin van Persie and Ajax’s Thomas Vermealen. Robin van Persie won on points courtesy of his late goal, but it was a gripping spat. He could start a fight in a tea shop could our Robin.

I wouldn’t be so bold as to say we created silky chance after silky chance, but what stuck out for me was the togetherness of the team. They fought tooth and nail and that’s a great sign. You could see it at the end with them all doing that strange shoulder-touching thing footballers do to ‘bond’.

The first-choice back four – which is surely Clichy, Gallas, Toure and Sagna, I agree with the Playa on that one – looked mostly solid, Clichy being the pick as is increasingly the case. His lung-busting run led to RvP’s goal. Where does he get his energy from? One run up a pitch like that and I’m jelly.

I’m glad Nigel Flamini stayed too. He might not be an eye-catching player but he’s powerful and has the proverbial ‘big engine’. It’s like a V6 injection turbo or something (whatever that means – I still haven’t found the latch that releases the bonnet on my car. Rumour has it there’s an engine in there, or so I’m told).

So Nige is well worth having in the squad, especially given he can cover at left-back if needs be.

What else? Sky Sports reports Wenger is in talks about a new deal, which we kind of suspected anyway. And Gilberto is a £10m target for Valencia if you believe all you read. We can’t afford to let his experience go, so it won’t happen. And supposing the story was true and supposing we agreed to the sale (there’s supposition all over the place here), then it would put us into the black in terms of summer spending. That would please old spendthrift Arsène. He’d raise a glass of Chablis to that.

So anyway, there we have it – six days till KO. [I’m hoping that’s kick off and not knockout].

I’m really excited; rather too much for a man toppling towards the wrong half of his thirties.


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