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Saturday, 1 August 2015

More than a friendly? Community Shield preview 2015

Same again please boys
I can't go to Wembley tomorrow. As with last year I am missing out because of work, such is the life of the shift worker. I also don't have BT Sport so I can't even record it. By the time the game is loaded up to Arsenal Player I'll be fast asleep ahead of another early shift on Monday. Whichever way I look at it I seem destined to not watch the game. That said, BT Sport are showing the game again at 10pm tomorrow night so maybe I'll watch that on my dodgy app and be a zombie on Monday morning. If we win I know that I'll do just that. If we lose, then sod it I won't bother. In my absence my eldest is making his tenth trip to the new Wembley Stadium at the age of only nine - I can't imagine he knows how lucky he is to support Arsenal (he's also been to see an England game and two Olympic football matches there which makes up the ten).
The thing with the Charity Shield (I can't get used to calling it anything else) is that it actually means nothing apart from a nice Wembley day out for the winners. When all is said and done it is a pre-season friendly and you can make a large number of substitutions etc, putting it some way below a genuine competitive fixture. Until Sky got hold of it in 1993 you didn't even have to have a winner as the prize was shared in the event of a draw. In an effort to beef up the apparent trophy cabinets of certain clubs Sky have started recording it as a "major trophy" which is utter nonsense. Until recently it wasn't even counted as a first-team "appearance" in Arsenal's official records. But tomorrow is a little bit different...
There is a lot riding on tomorrow for Arsenal. Psychologically it could be absolutely massive for the Manager and the players alike. It is well documented that Arsene Wenger has yet to win a game against the classless Portugese chav from Stamford Bridge. Win tomorrow and, pre-season prestige friendly or not, we will know we can beat them. Lose and it simply widens the gaping wound of Mourinho laughing at us and getting all his media mates to rub it in on his behalf. By the same token, his friends in the press will be only too keen to point out our failings should we lose, regardless of any prodding from that idiot Jose (mind you, if we win they will be directed by Mourinho in the "it's only a friendly" type commentary). In that regard Arsenal can't "win" as such.
With all this at stake we have to see Arsenal taking things more than semi-seriously on the day. Chelsea will be fired up to do the business by the cretin in charge and he will be desperate to get one over on Petr Cech. The transfer of Cech to Arsenal has seriously undermined his authority at Chelsea. He didn't want Cech coming to us but Abramovich basically seems to have told him who is in charge over there. If Cech can be instrumental in an Arsenal win it would really grate on the odious little clown. Losing Cech, a hammering to Arsenal at Wembley, and a slightly slow start to the Premier League season might even see him taking his "special one" crap and naffing off back to somewhere in Europe. Wouldn't that be nice?
The training pictures from today show Alex Iwobi and Jeff Reine-Adelaide still training with the first-team. Tomorrow could be a great day for them if they are involved with the squad for a Wembley occasion. It looks like Chuba Akpom is heading away to Hull (never believe a word Arsene Wenger says) so he is less likely to be part of things tomorrow. I expect Cech to play, though Wenger might be tempted to give David Ospina a game ahead of the season, especially as he didn't play any of the games at Wembley last season. Having said that, Cech surely needs some game time with his new defenders. In midfield I'd like to see our strongest line-up with Ozil turning it on like he did against Villa in May. I'd also start with Giroud and give him specific instructions to match Terry physically. If we can start the season on the front foot then we could be in business early doors. A nice win at Wembley against the (no) history boys would be a great way to start.

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