The Grove Cup was great viewing

Despite somewhat stop-start viewing – I watched the first half of yesterday’s game on my phone and the second half late last night – the Grove Cup was, as ever, enjoyable. It’s the first proper chance as fans to see new signings and other returning players, to parade the excellent new home shirt, and unless your name is Almunia or Fabianski, it’s almost entirely pressure-free.

But it doesn’t tell us much really, with players missing and others not yet match fit.

It’s perhaps not surprising at the tail end of a summer in which England flopped, but a lot of the headlines this morning go to Jack Wilshere, man of the match yesterday. Despite generally cautious praise from Wenger, he did not rule out Wilshere being called up for England.

“In 2012 he will be 20, so why not. You cannot rule it out, but it is down to performances.”

Personally, I’d rather he got more club experience before England even considered him, but if he continues to improve as he is doing, the call will come sooner rather than later. There’s no doubt he’s a very bright talent, an Englishman who likes to both win and keep the ball, and with an eye for pass. Very exciting for Arsenal fans.

Wenger was quick to lump Frimpong (aka ‘The Frimster‘ – now lodged in my mind, thanks for that blogger) in with the same praise too, and he was certainly the pleasant surprise of the tournament.

Walcott and Gibbs both looked hungry too, giving us more genuine British options this season than we’ve had for many a year. If Ramsey comes back in late autumn (and we’re all desperate for him to), then we will have four British players good enough to nail down first team places, with some exciting reserves (Jet, Frimpong, Eastmond etc). The bottom line is that if they are good enough, Wenger will play them, and this lot are our best crop of local youngsters for a long time.

This week we get Fabregas and van Persie back, and with Wenger challenging Cesc to break radio silence, the focus will be on him once more – not that it ever wasn’t. But we need it to stop, one way or another, because a) it’s a boring pantomime and b) we need it to be ‘behind us’. Sorry.

Other than that, the boss admits we need “at least one” centre back and that as far as keepers go, “we have two more weeks to decide what I will do”.

So no change there then…


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

This Post Has 11 Comments

  1. Mark c

    Any awake.

    Two weeks until Liverpool.

    Come on cesc
    Let us know what you will do.

  2. Govindraj Umarji

    Couldn’t agree more. We have some exciting talent waiting in the wings. But that has always been the case, I feel.

    Anyway, I believe that the “noises” (ahem) we are hearing from Wenger and our dressing room are similar to the ones we have always heard at the pre-season. Whether they can be converted to appropriate decibel levels on the playing field is another matter altogether!

  3. Scooch

    The one thing that the last two games had that I missed from last season was a reintroduction of our “exciting football”. Towards the end of last season we were grinding out results (or not!). But seeing the squad playing intricate passing moves is something that I missed for most of last season.

    You can’t really take the results of the weekend as meaning anything (other than don’t make six substitutions in the second half of the match). But set pieces are obviously something we need to concetrate on in pre season.

    In all I’m happy with the way we’ve started and the way the squad looks (obviously I think we still need a couple of signings), but I think the doom mongers are being, well, Doom mongers.

  4. Daryl Booth

    Aside from the `usual` defensive frailities and the failing to nail a couple more goals instead of passing away from goal it was a good game.
    Jack & Nasri looked very good. If they stay fit who know…
    Oh and here are some clips of the Celtic pikeys enjoying a day in the sun

  5. RH

    Doesn’t tell you much nah??

    Tells me our defending is even worse that last season. Tells me there isn’t a cat in hells chance of winning the league.

    But hey, we’ve spent 2.5m net on summer transfers – guess that’s all that matters….

  6. RotorGoat

    I don’t think you can judge our defending yet. We were chopping and changing defenders in both games and both halves for a start. And Koscielny/Djourou need time to bed down.

    Not saying it was perfect but it’s too soon to jump on their backs if you ask me.

  7. Goonesque

    You get the impression Arsene is deliberately tempering his enthusiasm over Wilshire to avoid creating an overhyped media circus around an exciting young English player.
    Thought we looked excellent going forward yesterday: lots of inventive movement, snappy passing and kept a good shape.
    As for the defence…hmmm… really loathe the prospect of going into the new season with the current crop of goalkeepers. We can’t expect a our back four to perform with confidence until that perennial issue is settled.

  8. Booland

    Looks like both Frimpong and Wilshere could start the first league game as all four Song, Denilson, Diaby and Fabregas would not be ready for the start of the season.

  9. PD

    I’m still horrified that the goalkeeping situation hasn’t been sorted out. It’s just incredible that someone of Wenger’s intelligence has left us in this situation. Even if we buy someone now (& it really looks to me like we’re not going to) he will have one game (if even that) before we go to Liverpool. It’s just shockingly poor management. If we go into this season with either of Almunia or Fabianski as no.1 all the other arguments about whether we have enough cover in other position are basically irrelvant – we would not have a snowballs chance in hell of competing for the title.

  10. Tommy

    Sort this keeper shite out ASAP or FO Wenger.

    Needs to be said

  11. Yikes

    I’d call him our Frimpommel. He’s that aggressive! It really shows what we are missing in terms of adrenaline and aggression with both Gilberto and Song (and Denilson). Both are interceptors, not tacklers. Neither worry the opposition unduly about holes in their calves or thighs. With Frimpong they’d be worried, to our benefit.

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