So the season has begun in earnest after what seems a slight pause rather than a mid season break. Liverpool off to a poor start with the indignity of a Europa league campaign ahead. Man City becoming a freak show. Sp*rs on the brink with Young Boys. Gallas is still insane-"New Tottenham signing William Gallas believes Spurs have a chance of winning the Premier League this season"-BBC Sport. The usual average teams performing averagelly and the new boys sharing the usual mixed fortunes. Joey Barton is still an imbecile-"Joey Barton has been forced to fend off unexpected controversy over his celebration of Newcastle's opening goal against Aston Villa, with some observers suggesting he made a 'Nazi salute'"-Metro. Chelsea canonised for putting 6 goals past lesser opposition, and Arsenal? well Arsenal have gone to Anfield and salvaged a point as opposed to early last season when we went to Old Trafford and threww two points away. A six goal win at home as opposed to a six goal win away last season. Some new players; Chamakh looks ok, Kascielny looks good and the latest addition Squillaci? who knows?.
The goalkeeping situation is the major issue for me; to continue the season with the current goalkeeper/s will prove catastrophic. Based on some interesting stats presented on 'it's up for grabs' Blog, poor goalkeepers cost Arsenal a minimum of (provable) 12 points last season. Bearing in mind we finished 11 points behind Chelsea this has to be a fact that Wenger dare not neglect. Perhaps there is more going on behind the scenes connected to the arrival of a new keeper than we are aware of.
Hansen continues to opine in the same vein as Chris-Diamond lights/penalty miss-Waddle, in criticism of Walcott. Of course MOTD just presents opinions but is taken as read by a number of football supporters up and down the country. MOTD also continues with it's northern bias and distorted highlights so should be taken with a pinch of salt. All i would say is that Theo seems like a decent young man, he is only 21 (how polished was Hansen at this age) and with some more work on aspects of his game he can and will make a positive contribution at Arsenal.
The Clock returns at the Emirates and a trip up north beckons this Saturday. So far so good (ish). What the season holds for Arsenal is hard to predict. I've given up trying to predict how well we will do. With this set of players and Arsene's well documented philosophies it's anybodies guess. I suppose that makes the season interesting.
Last season, I felt, was a case of Chelsea winning a poor league and other teams not taking the opportunity to take advantage and impose a bit of quality over a consistent stretch of matches. This season with four trophies up for grabs, it's inevitable that Wenger will again focus on two; that's just what he does and unfortunately this won't change.
If finishing in a Champions League place is the stated aim at the Club then we should achieve this, but I wonder how much longer this lack of ambition will be tolerated. I suppose as long as the announcer at the Emirates tells us that "today's attendance, 60,000" every home game it's enough for the board.
In closing I expect that Arsenal will continue to thrill and frustrate in equal measure, little will change with certain players (primarily those whose names begin with the Letters D & A) Arsene will continue doggedly with his 'philosophy' and there will be the usual frustrations. I do feel though, that there are one or two players with points to prove and if fitness does not hamper us like last year, who knows?
I guess that's why I keep renewing my season ticket, keep hoping and keep going because: who knows?