At 12:35 today, we play our first proper pre-season game of the season against Atletico Madrid in some sort of glorified competition that only the likes of Tottenham and Liverpool would celebrate winning.
We play in The 2018 International Champions Cup (or ICC), the sixth edition of a series of friendly association football matches.
I do not really know how it works, or how a winner is crowned. It just seems like a glorified way to say Arsenal are playing Atletico Madrid and PSG in Singapore.
After thrashing Boreham Wood 8-0 and a couple of behind closed door games, Atletico will represent the real opportunity to see how this new Arsenal is taking shape under Unai Emery.
The likes of Mesut Ozil and Mohamed Elneny are unlikely to see any game time as they have only just joined up with the squad and are still training separately.
There have been some interesting quotes to come out of the pre-game press conferences.
Firstly Petr Cech spoke about his future:
I have a contract with Arsenal. I am concentrating on this season, on the competition between the goalkeepers because we have plenty of options. I’m doing my best to show to the manager that I can be in the starting lineup when the season starts. That’s my aim and as for the speculation, I don’t really follow it.
Then he spoke about Aaron Ramsey:
That’s a private matter for the club and the player. Obviously we would like to keep all the best players with us. Hopefully his situation will be sorted out as quickly as possible. It’s more for the player that he has the feeling that his situation is resolved and he can purely concentrate on the game. It’s been two or three weeks since Aaron started training, he’s been in top form, working really hard, so we can see it doesn’t affect him at all. As I said, it’s better for him if the situation is resolved quicker, we will see.
His final thoughts were around the Mesut Ozil situation, which can be found here. Perhaps most interesting is the question surrounding Ozil being named captain…that would put the cat amongst the pigeons.
Unai Emery also had his say on transfers:
I am very happy with how the club is working and we are working every day on how we can improve. I am with the players and those who have arrived this week, I am very happy with and I said at the last press conference that if there is an opportunity to try to sign one player, then we are looking.
We saw the odd transfer of Malcolm about to sign for Roma before joining Barcelona for £45m. Arsenal were heavily linked with him in January but the deal went cold.
I still would not be surprised to see Arsenal make one more signing before the end of the season, filling that skills gap between Alex Iwobi and Henrikh Mkhitaryan.
In other news; Liverpool really are a snivelling little bunch aren’t they?
Yesterday they were “celebrating” it being 5 years since Arsenal tried to sign Luis Suarez for £40m+£1 and john W Henry tweeted “What do you think they are smoking over there at Emirates?”
I guess the reality is in the last 5 years Liverpool fans have not had much to celebrate:
- Luis Suarez left 12 months later
- Liverpool have won 0 trophies in the last 5 years
- During that time, Jurgen Klopp took Liverpool down to 8th
- They signed Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain for £40m
There was a time when Liverpool used to win trophies. They used to be the most successful team in the country. In the last decade or so; they have been about as successful as Spurs with 1 League Cup a piece.
Liverpool are actually morphing into Tottenham.
In recent weeks I have seen them celebrate their “progression” and “finishing top 4”.
Whilst I am comfortable in saying that Arsenal have not been brilliant over the last 5 years, we have still won 3 FA Cups. The Liverpool fans are reduced to celebrate not selling a player and finishing 4th, whilst thinking they have been ultra successful shows just how deluded they have become.
1991 was their last league title. There will be grand parents in Liverpool born after this date.
Finally back to Singapore.
Or man JW is out there and writing blogs. Ensure you keep up with his travels by following the JW Diaries.