We finally got a little taste of competitive action over night, with the FA Community Shield being played out in front of a decent crowd at Wembley on a fine Summers day. As I spoke about in Fridays blog, the game probably has little meaning for those not amongst the rank and file of the two competing teams. For the rest of us, it was a nice little London derby that served as a preview to what lay ahead in the league and a chance to get one over on our rivals while claiming another piece of silverware at Spurs temporary home ground.
That’s exactly what we went out and did. Chelsea appeared to have continued their tactic of diving, hacking down and elbowing opposition players at every opportunity, at one point even mistaking one of their own for one of ours and eventually found themselves a man down. Cahill was lucky escape without so much as a reprimand for his flying elbow, which caused The BFG’s head to crack open like a tin of Campbell’s soup – his day ended in the first half. Funnily enough though, it was the man who replaced him and new cult hero, Sead Kolasinac, who scored the goal to send the game into a shootout. What the fuck was with the order of that shootout anyway…? Mental. I never did like ABBA.
In the end we got the win, we got to laugh at new Chelsea boy, Alvaro Morata, who scuffed a penalty so horribly I almost felt like the ref should give him another go. Alas, this is not the U/12’s and he will need to put his big boy pants on if he wants to get anywhere in this league.
3 pre-season shields in 4 seasons and another win at the ground where Spurs will fail miserably this season. Good times indeed!
We now look forward to the first league game of the campaign but before all that business, we are going to take a look at the playing squad and break down some expectations for each senior player for the upcoming season. Starting today with our Shot stoppers.
Our undisputed #1 comes into the new season with an absolute wealth of knowledge and prowess in between the posts. Shook off a bit of a calf issue during last season to maintain his position as Wengers preferred option. Should play the same role as last season, taking the gloves for league encounters. As a pure shot stopper, Cech is one of the Premier Leagues all time greats. It may be a bit much to ask but at 35 years of age, he still needs some work on getting down low to his near post and is yet to save a penalty in an Arsenal shirt.
Take a look at some of his best work from last season here.
Was involved in all that early window speculation around a move away from the club, but given the sale of Wojciech Szczesny, now finds himself satisfied to again play usurper to Cech. More than adequate when called upon, he played throughout our cup campaigns and held his place ahead of Cech to be a part of the team that won the FA Cup. At a great age for a goalkeeper, he should retain the role he played last season with the odd league appearance sprinkled in for good measure. Distribution can be a bit iffy at times and he does seem a bit awkward at pulling down the aerial ball, but we like him and expect him to be ready to challenge for the #1 shirt throughout the 2nd half of the season.
Enjoy some of the best saves from the Colombian here.
Wojciech Szczesny – Juventus – Transfer in the region of €10m after two seasons on loan at Roma.
Emi Martinez – Getafe – Season long loan for the 24 year old as he looks to gain valuable experience.
You would be hard pressed to find two better choices at any club in the league. Both players have a fantastic amount of knowledge at both domestic and International level. At 35 this may be Cech last season as outright #1, but with Ospina there to support him through another long campaign, he should be able to stand in-between the sticks for most of our league games. Expect another solid showing from these two. Our only concern would be any injury troubles that start to impact either man for longer than a couple of weeks. Matt Macey is still at the clubs U/21 level, but let’s keep fingers crossed we wont have to throw the youngster into the fray just yet.
Got any thoughts on our goalkeepers? Send us a tweet or comment on this post to kick off a discussion!
We’ll be back tomorrow with a look at our Defence!