Liverpool Preview, Arteta & More
And here we are, approaching the weekend after another week full of turbulence in the football world.
Harry Maguire, United captain (the fridge... yeah, him, that guy) and England darling, was charged with aggravated assault & resisting arrest (amongst other things) - got convicted, then appealed and landed himself a lovely BBC interview that he could explain himself in, as well as the public backing of the England manager - a privelege I’m sure Raheem Sterling or any other non-white footballer would have been afforded had the shoe been on the other foot. Right? Right guys? *taps mic* This thing on?
In other news, Paul Pogba and a whole host of other players tested positive for Covid-19 as the dystopia rolls on... Chelsea signalled that project youth is over, Messi appears to be about to enter a legal battle with Barcelona to leave and finally... finally... Arsenal announced the deals we've all been waiting for in Cedric Soares and Pablo Marí.
In all seriousness, and based off comments in Arteta’s presser yesterday, Gabriel and Auba’s new contract seem imminent - photos of Auba in the new away kit at the Emirates leaked during the week (although I saw conflicting reports that it could be someone recording their music video) and the Gabriel stalking continues with plane tracking, amid scattered reports of medicals and “total agreements” anywhere from 1 day to 2 weeks apart from eachother from various tap in merchants online. It’s almost like these ITK journos don't know as much as they appear to. Couldn’t be true.
Anyway. Onwards, and as a certain someone says: “HERE WE GO”: the curtain raises tomorrow on a new Premier League season with the classic opener, as the Gunners face a Liverpool that have won their first title in thirty years, even with some poor results at the back end of their season. I wouldn't expect to see a classic. As we collectively stutter to the starting line due to the ongoing effects of Miss Rona, I expect to see some weaker XIs. You’d presume neither want to risk any injuries to unprepared players in a ceremonial match before what could be considered the most important season in years. Arteta even admitted the players had had just two sessions this week. Due to the financial implications of having no fans and no match day sales, your top players being available matters more than ever. But - you never know in football.
As an Arsenal fan, of course I want us to win - but I’ll be happy if we let some of the younger players get a run out and we don't get thrashed by a side that has run our defence ragged in years gone by. But... given the end of our season... I must say that I’m quietly confident of snatching a result. It will possibly also be a good indication of which of the 8 (nearly 9) centre backs we have might be staying, though with injuries to Chambers and Mustafi it’ll be interesting to see how we start, and how we set up, as discussed on the pod.
Some more news on the incomings and outgoings came in his latest press conference, as Arteta tried to shed some light on both the Guendouzi and Maitland-Niles situations. He said he “really likes” Ainsley as a player, an opinion played out as he started the two most important games of last season. And on Guendouzi, only that he had spoken to him during the “off season”.
“What you did two weeks ago or two years ago doesn't really matter. It's what you are able to contribute to the team now.” So, maybe we will see the young Frenchman stay after all if there are no suitors - but perhaps it’s just Arteta protecting the asset.
Well, that’s all for today. Looking forward to the match tomorrow, and look out for a new pod on Monday.
Til then, feel free to get in touch on Twitter @DiffKnock with your opinions or any stories you want us to cover.
Have a great weekend folks,