World Cup/Pre-Season Training Begins

Unlike most Gooners I was supporting Uruguay last night. I thought they held their own against a good Dutch side that has swept through the tournament without ever really hitting the heights of which you know they’re capable. In the end though, the suspensions, injuries and tiredness and lack of reserves of emotional energy from extra time and penalties against Ghana caught up with them. The kick one-two in the second half from the Netherlands effectively finished the game. The Dutch did their best to let Uruguay back in it right at the death but it wasn’t to be. Thus Robin van Persie goes to the World Cup Final on Sunday at Soccer City.
Whether he’ll be joined by Cesc Fàbregas will be decided tonight in the second semi-final when Spain plays Germany in Durban. This game is very tight. I wouldn’t like to predict which way it’ll go. If Spain wins it will mean a new name on the trophy come Sunday night.
Both players will need a good break after the tournament. I’d imagine that the manager won’t have them back until the week of Monday 9 August, only six days before our League opener at Anfield. I’d imagine that the boss will do without them both for that game rather than rush them back. That assumes Fàbregas will still be with us by then of course. My only comment about the continued speculation is ENOUGH ALREADY!! I was sick of it a month ago. I’m rapidly becoming homicidal.
Back to things directly Arsenal, the players reported back yesterday for pre-season training ahead of our first friendly at Barnet on Saturday week. Amongst then was our new signing Marouane Chamakh. Nicklas Bendtner has also had to return to the club for analysis and treatment of a continuing groin problem. The season hasn’t even started and the injury gremlins are still stalking us. Oh dear. Let’s hope that can be sorted out soon.
I confess to being worried by our lack of signings in key positions. Whilst Big Bad Bill Gallas definitely did us a turn as a quality defender, his attitude off the park was and is pooh. I can’t say as I’m terribly sad to see him go although we’ll miss him at the back. Mikaël Silvestre has also been released and is now a free agent. I don’t think too many Gooners will miss him, me included. Although Philippe Senderos has also left he hasn’t really been in consideration for us since that catastrophic performance at Anfield in the Champions League quarter-final second leg a couple of seasons ago.
It looks like Sol Campbell may also reject our offer of a further year. Celtic is courting him. I hope he re-signs. He’d be good experienced cover and an excellent influence with the younger players I believe. Let us also not forget that Johan Djourou will also be available to us this season unlike last. I still believe we need at least one further central defender and two if Campbell doesn’t re-sign. We also need a top-class goalkeeper. We’ve been linked with about every keeper on the planet this summer. I just hope we manage to land one a bit lively. We’ll also need a replacement for Cesc if he goes, although that would be a VERY big ask.
Keep the faith!

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