So the season opener is tomorrow with the Community Shield (or as I still call it, the Charity Shield). It is always an interesting game. For me, it is nor more than a glorified friendly. A chance to give the players a semi-competitive game before the real season opening next weekend.
Last season, we played 7 pre season friendlies, this season, due to the World Cup and Community Shield, we have played just 4. It makes sense then, to treat the Community Shield as a friendly. Interestingly, last season, our last friendly was on August 10th against Manchester City. The exact same date and opposition as this season.
The status of the Community Shield has changed over recent seasons. The change started in 2001, when Liverpool fans claimed they had won the “Quintuple” – League Cup, FA Cup, UEFA Cup, Community Shield & UEFA Super Cup. At the time, they were laughed at, as they had failed to win either of the 2 big ones, and had added two glorified friendlies.
Since 2001, things have escalated. Due to media hype, the game has grown bigger. Another reason is the rise of Chelsea and Manchester City. Where as Arsenal and Manchester United had won many trophies, the community shield was not considered a trophy, Manchester City and Chelsea fans, with their low trophy count, started to include the Community Shield as a major honour.
SkySports News and other media outlets then started to list the Community Shields under ‘trophies won’ columns, and a little look at the List of football clubs in England by major honours won will see Manchester United are listed as having won 60 trophies, yet it includes their 20 Community Shields.
To put it simply, tomorrow is a friendly, yes, it will be positive to win, but it means no more than the friendly with Manchester City next year.
They were my nightmare draw. A decent team, and a horrid journey. Whilst Arsenal travel well in Europe, I do not expect many to make the 2,000 mile £500+ flight cost journey to Istanbul. We should win, but the away match will be a tricky game. With them having already played competitive Champions League fixtures against Feyenoord, they will be a slightly bit more match sharp then us, and with Demba Ba upfront, they have goals.
An away draw, we should take them apart in London. Turkish sides do not travel well, so I would expect us to not only win at home, but also turnover any potential deficit from the home leg.
So it seems like Thomas Vermaelen is off to Barcelona for £15million. A good deal for Arsenal, selling a player in the last year of his contract for more money than what we signed him. On the other side, we are selling a senior player, once more selling our captain. But at least it is not to Manchester United this time!
As with everytime a player leaves Arsenal, the mud slinging has already begun “he was useless” “he was not good enough” it shows the crass side of being a football fan. It is like being dumped by your long term girlfriend then sitting bitching about her bad points, which you quite happily ignored when you was with her. It’s petty.
Thomas Vermaelen’s Arsenal journey has come to a natural end. He has got himself a plumb move to Barcelona, and I wish him well. If Arsenal play Barcelona in the Champions League next year, I will applaud him, he deserves that.
With the aforementioned Vermaelen leaving us, we are now at least 2 players short. A defensive midfielder and a centre back. Buy one player in the hope of covering both positions would be crazy, especially as our 4th choice centre back is also our right back cover. We need to go out and buy a Vermaelen replacement. Who it will be, no one really knows. We are now 50% there towards having a good summer. We now need that centre back, defensive midfielder and maybe even another striker.