As the season draws ever closer, I find myself tugging at my testicles with increasing gusto (sorry for the graphic detail – I am just very excited).
Although today doesn’t quite mark the start of the season proper, it does hold a special place in my heart which, for me at least, signifies the end of pre-season. Today may be a glorified friendly but it is certainly an opportunity to make a marker on the season ahead. We certainly have a chance to lay rest to some of the niggling doubts about our ability to play against the so-called bigger teams. Whilst the result may not matter as such, we can use this game as an opportunity to give us a positive platform for the season.
Today is also an opportunity to get ready for the upcoming season in a meaningful way; top opposition, fairly competitive and what is essentially an opportunity to see how we may line-up next week.
And how might we line up? This question is somewhat trickier to answer given the sale of club captain, Thomas Vermaelen to
for a reported £15m fee. Not bad
going, business wise, considering this is a player that fell out of favour
majorly but this leaves us numerically very short at the heart of defence. The
centre back situation is further complicated with the absence of Per
Mertesacker due to his holiday and subsequent return to fitness. It is unlikely
that he will be ready for the start of the season which leaves us with only
Laurent Koscienly, himself working towards full fitness. Barcelona
As you can see this is quite the area of contention and needs swift remedial work. I expect a centre back to be bought, certainly by the close of the transfer window, but ideally before the league opener next week. Who that may be? Well we can speculate as much as we want but I suppose we will have to wait and see.
Back to immediate matters and one would expect as close a line up to next week as fitness allows. I expect the team to look like this
It is an exciting opportunity to see how the new signings will fit in to existing systems and also to experiment. As you can see from above, I am half expecting Alexis to start up front by himself. This is in part due to Giroud’s fitness but also I can imagine this being the case for some of the bigger games.
The result doesn’t matter so much but gaining much needed fitness is imperative because from next week there is no margin for error. For now though, we can perhaps enjoy with much less stress than we are otherwise used to.
I am certainly looking forward to today for a number of reasons. I am excited. Very excited. Beer is cooling. Meat has been ordered. Tugging. I think I am ready.