Arsenal Need To Impress Tonight

As I write this, we are just under 3 hours away from Arsenal’s final game of this pre-season, which will see The Gunners take on Benfica at the Estádio da Luz in the Portuguese capital.
Yesterday, Arsene Wenger and his 19-man squad landed in Lisbon, without both Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri. The futures of the two still remain in doubt, in a hazy summer mist that’s suggesting that the duo will leave for Barcelona and Manchester, respectively.
Anyway I’m sure, like me, you’ve had enough of the Cesc and Nasri sagas. So I’ll move on and sing a new song.
Fans often label games like the one tonight, as “another pointless friendly”. From a professional point of view, this couldn’t be further from the truth.
Every team and player, of whatever level of ambition, should take pre-season very seriously, as it’s a hugely vital part of the year.
Unfortunately, a successful pre-season isn’t going to win a side trophies, but ultimately, a decent pre-season will give you the edge over your opponents. The quicker you start, the sooner you’ll be at the finish line.
Every championship winning side has started off well, due to having a quality pre-season. In such a demanding sport, players need to get back into the groove as soon as possible, if they are to achieve in the end.
To say last weekend’s Emirates Cup was disappointing, would be a colossal understatement. Even for a friendly tournament, it’s certainly taking me some time to get over.
Although, I do admit that my excitement for next weekend’s game at Newcastle, is helping me get back in a good mood for next season’s Premier League campaign, which is quite literally just around the corner now.
Excitement aside, I will admit that I can run from the fact that it appears that again, we’re going to become victims from our own seemingly-inevitable mistakes – despite that the fact the season hasn’t even started yet!
The New York Red Bull’s were awarded the Emirates Cup, because we failed to shut out our opponents, twice – a problem that’s cost us multiple titles in recent years.
At moments of late pressure, it sometimes seems impossible for the side to keep composure and see our opponents off.
We cannot let this happen again to us tonight. Yes, it’s only a friendly. Yes, we’re not going to win any trophies tonight. Obviously.
But I cannot stress enough how important it is for us to end our pre-season on a high, by winning against Benfica tonight – at least!
We also need to play well, at both ends of the pitch.
I hope Arsene Wenger sees the light and starts Thomas Vermaelen with the armband. Even if Cesc stays, I still believe Vermaelen should be given the captaincy
Although, based on recent years, I wouldn’t be surprised if Robin van Persie is given the armband. Don’t get me wrong, I love watching van Persie play. He’s a lethal striker that’s one of few players we have, that we need to perform, if we are going to win  the league. But he’s not our best player to be captain.
Listen to me, Arsene. Let Robin score the goals. Let Thomas lead the team.

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