So another summer has gone already and we can get down to the real business of club football.
As usual, the vultures have circled and we’ve lost some of the key elements of the team – though not, most importantly, Cesc, who is surely the lynchpin of everything that goes on at the club.
Last year, few mourned Thierry Henry’s departure – his prancing and staring and distinct lack of pace and effectiveness compared to the sublime heights he’d hit the season before suggests Arsene Wenger definitely kept him a year too long. But who could blame him with a new stadium to fill?
I guess it was too much to hope that Wenger would be able to keep his entire staff as was his stated intention, but is it all bad?
Yep, Mathieu Flamini was an inspiration last season, but that was the case in his last year at Marseille as well. ‘Earn a new contract’ syndrome I call it.
As others have said, quite rightly, if Adebayor hadn’t scored 30 goals with the number of games and chances he had, he didn’t deserve a place. With Robin Van Persie and Eduardo fit, we’d have won the title. I’m sure of that.
But apart from the screamer against Tottenham early on in the season, most of Adebayor’s goals were the sort you would expect a forward to score. He is not a loss, as long as we sign someone else with a goalscoring pedigree, such as Huntelaar or someone obscure who Wenger can turn into a diamond without delay.
So Samir Nasri comes in to replace Alex Hleb? Hopefully Wenger has signed a player whose impact we’ll feel sooner rather than later. It took Hleb two years to start playing as we expected him to, and even then his goalscoring ration left something to be desired. Nasri has to get off to a flying start.
So we face Barnet in the tradtional pre-season curtain-raiser this weekend and hopefully, it will be a nice run-out, no injuries and a chance to see some of the new faces.
Aaron Ramsey must believe he has a chance of playing in the first team this season – and after his cameo against Portsmouth in the FA Cup, no one can doubt his potential. How he and Carlos Vela perform tomorrow will be fascinating. I have high hopes for both.
But, while I am certainly not going to condone anyone who believes Arsene’s powers are on the wane, one thing is certain – we HAVE to win something this year.
Wenger admited today that the title is his main focus again this year: "It is important you fight for the championship and to win it. All the other trophies are more of a consolation than anything else.
"I will try to achieve my best to develop the players, to fight in every game. I am more motivated than ever to achieve that. For the rest, you have to accept that it will never be be good enough. People always want more - that is normal."
Looking back in years to come, I don’t want this era to be remembered as that when Arsenal dominated the Beautiful Game – but had nothing to show for it. I’d like to leave that moniker with the Holland team of the 1970s thank you very much.