Weekend Friendlies/Goalkeeping

The first team won their friendly by almost a rugby score at the weekend 6-5 against Legia in Warsaw. Meanwhile a young reserve team lost 2-1 to AFC Wimbledon away.
I haven’t seen a recording of the whole first team game in Poland but I’ve watched the goal highlights. Woeful, woeful defending yet again. We can only hope that the team weren’t fully switched on. We’ll get stuffed if we defend like that next weekend at Anfield. I’m afraid Lukasz Fabiański had another poor game. I really don’t think the bloke has a future at Arsenal I’m afraid. I’m sorry to say that he appears to have turned into another Alex Manninger, never fulfilling his early promise.
Whilst the first team were in Warsaw I attended the reserve team game at AFC Wimbledon. Apart from the result a thoroughly good day out it was too. Our team featured our recently arrived young signing from Fluminense of Rio de Janeiro, Wellington Silva and young Japanese triallist Rio Miyaichi who is also interesting Ajax apparently.
I don’t know what the work permit situation is with Wellington Silva but he’s certainly got talent, as has Miyaichi. Both got little change out of new AFC Wimbledon full-back Andre Blackman. The lad is a really gifted young footballer but has been a bit of a “wild child” apparently. Miyaichi and Wellington switched wings midway through the first half. Neither had much success against Blackman, who looks a class act and a real find for the Conference side.
The first half was very even; we could have been 2-0 up at half time with more clinical finishing (sound familiar?). We made four substitutions at half time which disrupted organisation at the back. It took its toll, gifting two goals to the home team before we managed a consolation goal right at the death. Off the field a very pleasant day was had by the travelling Gooner Nation. I had the pleasure of being in the company of David Court, Steve Bould and my Arsenal King of Kings Liam Brady after the match, which made my day.
I’ve been asked by the nice people at AFC Wimbledon for feedback from those Gooners who were there about their matchday experience and in particular the new caterers they’ve just contracted. Comments would also be welcome on service in the two bars and the service and food in the carvery for any Gooners who took that pre-match option. Just post your comments below and I’ll make sure they’re passed on.
As we rapidly approach the serious stuff in this coming season it’s looking increasingly unlikely that we shall have a new goalkeeper between the sticks. If this turns out to be the case I think it’ll be a REAL mistake. I don’t normally comment on the avalanche of transfer speculation but I’ll break my habit to comment on the reports linking us with Liverpool keeper Pepe Reina. If you believe the tabloids we’ve made a bid of around £23 million for him.  I hope this rumour isn’t close to true. I don’t rate Reina nearly as highly as some seem to. I certainly wouldn’t pay anywhere close to £23 million for him. An absolutely ludicrous amount of money in my opinion for a player who is third choice for Spain.
I hope this is just one of those rumours that fly around at this time of year. He hasn’t been selected for this Wednesday’s friendly against Mexico in the Estadio Azteca in Mexico City, unlike Cesc Fàbregas, who only returned to pre-season training from his post World Cup holiday last Thursday. A great opportunity for him to play in one of the world’s iconic stadia but less than ideal for our pre-season preparations.
If fit and selected Cesc will also face another long-distance transatlantic journey with Spain for their friendly with Argentina in Buenos Aires in September. The perils of having world-class players in the ranks I’m afraid.
I said some time ago in this blog that I doubted that neither Cesc nor Robin van Persie would be selected for the opening League match at Anfield. I’m even more firmly of that opinion now that Cesc faces two long flights across the Atlantic this week. If they are selected I’d imagine they’ll only be amongst our seven substitutes.
Finally, congratulations to Kieran Gibbs, Jack Wilshere and Theo Walcott for their selection for the senior England team to face Hungary at Wembley on Wednesday. Likewise Henri Landsbury for his call-up for the England Under 21 side to play Uzbekistan at Ashton Gate tomorrow night.
Keep the faith!

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