Arsenal are back + predicted starting XI

Good morning (or afternoon if this takes me more than 25 minutes to write and publish).

So we are finally there. the day of the big kick off.

After a brilliant pre-season we are all now chopping at the bit to get things going properly. Do not let me down Arsenal!

The summer transfer window has gone well.

Gabriel Jesus and Oleksandr Zinchenko are oven ready players who will be looking to make an impact from day one. No need for either to require any acclimatisation time.

Due to the pre-season form of Thomas Partey, Granit Xhaka and Martin Odergaard, we can take things a bit slower with Fabio Vieira.

The Portuguese creative midfielder has all the technical attributes to be a star. But perhaps needs to bulk up a little as well as shake off his minor injury picked up in pre-season.

And William Saliba is like a new signing.

Whilst Manchester United and Chelsea are spending big on new centre backs, we have Saliba returning from loan.

The early deal we did with him a few years back and way we have handled his development means we have saved £30million+. When you consider Chelsea are potentially paying for Wesley Fofana, the saving is clear and obvious.

Fofana is of similar age and profile to Saliba. Both came through the Saint-Étienne and Saliba was considered the better prospect.

In 2019, we picked up Saliba for £27million. A year later Leicester City paid £36.5 million for Fofana.

With two years Premier League experience under his belt (although one was massively disrupted by injury), Leicester are now demanding £60million+ for Fofana.

Saliba has established himself in the French team in the last 12 months (whilst Fofana has been out injured). One can only wonder what his current market value will be.

Hopefully we tie him down to a new long term contract which gives Mikel Arteta 3 top central defenders to pick from.

On Arteta, many of you would have now watched All or Nothing.

My early take is it is certainly not the cringe-fest some of us thought.

Arteta comes across as intelligent and genuine. Whilst the likes of Josh Kroenke, Aaron Ramsdale and Nuno Tavares also come across very well.

I am sure fans of other clubs will find something to “mock” and compare some of Arteta’s action to David Brent. But that is football management.

Manchester City’s All or Nothing showed Pep Guardiola employ a similer managerial philosophy.

It is crazy to think that Brendan Rodgers was murcifully mocked for Being:Liverpool. That show was before its time and the likes of Amazon have clearly taken inspiration from it.

Managers no longer “throw the tea cups”.

Arsene Wenger was one of the first to be a “thinker and talker” rather than a “shouter”. I wonder if the old school John Sitton style management would work anymore in the Premier League?

Anyway, predicted team for tonight is not hard. It is basically what has started the last couple of friendlies – and very different to what started against Brentford a year ago:

White Saliba Gabriel Zinchenko
Odergaard Xhaka
Saka Jesus Martinelli

I am off to London Bridge for some pre-game beers.

Enjoy the game (from wherever you are watching it),



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