Evening all and welcome to a brand new month on TremendArse.
I’ll keep this very brief today as it’s Saturday night and hardly anyone will be reading, seeing as though Newsnow want at least six months of posts out of me before they consider linking to my site. And trying to drive traffic to a fledgling Arsenal blog without them, is a bit I guess, like attempting to stand out as a tw*t in the Chelsea dressing room – I mean there’s just so many.
Anyway, first up (and maybe last) is Arsene Wenger and his admission that whilst most of the footballing world lounged around, topping up their tans and spending precious time with their families, he spent the vast majority of his summer break at our London Colney training ground.
Joking that he couldn’t go to the beach during his holidays out of fear of ending up splashed across the back pages – as he found himself following his sea-side showing in Brazil last summer – he said:
I had no break at all. I recovered at the training ground. I had a few days off, but I spent most of my summer at the training ground. Not the whole holiday, but most of it. When I go on the beach I am in the press the next day. Where do you want me to go? So I go to the training ground.
Now I would say I feel for the boss, and that the intrusion into his privacy during his well-deserved downtime is a tad unnecessary, but he clearly loves what he does so much that he probably sees taking a break as more of a chore, than a chance to recharge his batteries. If Alexis Sanchez needs tying down to prevent him from over training, then the same can surely be said for Arsene and his managerial duties.
Anyway, workaholic Wenger has also been discussing his belief that although his current team may have the best blend of youth and experience in a decade, they must prove their title credentials through performance, particularly as restrengthened opposition lies in wait.
Before, we always lost big players and then everyone would quickly question us. This is the first time for a long time we have all had confidence in our environment. Certainly the most experienced (Arsenal team since the Invincibles). We have always had talented teams but most of the time, after 2006 when we moved into the stadium, they were very young. We have the better balance between talent and experience now. And when you go into April you need that experience. Have we enough talent? I believe so, yes. And the expectations are very high. You cannot win the Cup and finish third in the league and then say: ‘Look, next year we want to do nothing.’ So the ingredients are there but I am long enough in the job to know we have to prove that with points. Chelsea were dominant last season. Manchester United are very active on the transfer market, Liverpool as well and Manchester City have bought [Raheem] Sterling and will certainly buy more.
Finally, the manager had a few words of praise for new signing Petr Cech and, not for the first time, revealed that Arsenal were on his case before Chelsea signed him in 2004, thanks to a recommendation from one of his assistants’ sons. He said:
One of my assistants Boro Primorac has a son who was playing in Rennes and he had told us they had a very good goalkeeper. So we knew about him. Before he went to Chelsea we were interested and the guy who brought him to Chelsea, one of the agents, was a good friend of mine. He told me there was an exceptional keeper at Rennes. But I think Chelsea were a bit quicker than us. He is very serious, he trains well. He has a good combination between quality, agility and size and he always looked like he was built for English football. I think he is a very bright goalkeeper as well and he has an intimidating presence, that is for sure. He makes the goals look small. That’s the kind of charisma he has.
Here’s hoping that Cech makes our goal look minuscule at Wembley tomorrow afternoon, whilst Thibaut Courtois makes their’s look as big as Frank Lampard’s gargantuan belly.
Back tomorrow and also, COME ON ARSENAL!