For many of us fans, preseason is a time where we finally can relief ourselves of the boredom after the season has ended. Football has finally returned and it once again brings us the joy of watching the Beautiful Game.
But what is the significance of a preseason ? Many rival clubs use the time to travel half way around the world, just to earn a few million. But Arsenal FC has always made their annual trip to Austria and played in friendlies against strong opposition closer to home. Austria is the base which which our season is based on. It is the first real test after the holidays the players had. Fitness levels are built up and the basics are done.
Then come the friendlies. The Emirates Cup gave us a huge eye-opening this year. We could see what we lacked and what were the team’s strong points. I’m sure Arsene Wenger even learned a few things — particularly the emergence of Jack Wilshere. Last season the Emirates Cup proved a successful tournament for us and the club even managed to generate healthy sales. Remember the van Persie goal against Inter Milan ? Well, it was a sign of things to come. That was until van Persie got injured in October and never fully recovered. We even entertained the idea of playing Eboue as a right midfielder, because he did impress there during preseason but us fans know exactly how that turned out.
But on the brighter note, Flamini was a revelation. His good form started in preseason and that was what prompted Wenger to give him his chance. I read from one website that Wenger intended to start Diaby alongside Fabregas but he was injured so he gave Flamini the chance. And my, what a change that turned out to be.
Now we come to the final preparations of the season, that of the Amsterdam Tournament. Last season, Arsenal beat the likes of Lazio and the hosts Ajax with some of the mentioned players in great form.
This season the difference is the teams Wenger had played in the Cups. Last season, he played his first team in all the games. This season he used the Emirates Cup to help his youngsters gain experience, as demonstrated in the game against Juventus. But as well, he has now placed the importance on his first team by starting them in the Amsterdam Cup.
One thing we can definitely confirm now is that if a defensive midfielder is not bought, Denilson will start the season with Fabregas. Bendtner and Walcott will get more games and Nasri will start in the absence of Rosicky.
William Gallas has been given the captaincy again this season and Wenger has hinted that if he does not perform up to the standard required, he will be stripped of the armband and subsequently shipped out.
So fellow Gooners, this is a season to be excited for. Every season is a new start and this is no different. The only difference we want is a trophy to show at the end of the season. So have faith, and the players will take care of the rest.
By the way, we still have Rosicky and Eduardo yet to be back while van Persie is yet to show his full potential. That said, we still have the hope of Denilson doing a Flamini and Nasri showing what he is all about.
What do you think the new season holds for Arsenal? Have your say at TheGoonerForum.