Saturday, 10 September 2011

The season starts at 3pm -Chu Young awaits visa decision -AOC on standby

Morning Gooners.

I have to admit to being rather excited about the game today. I think that excitement has been created by a number of factors. Today we'll get to see our five new August signings in action for the first time, if the manager decides to pick them. We'll also not have the negativity surrounding the club caused by the transfer window being open.

This is our chance to get behind this team 100%. There will be no chants of "spend some effing money" - the manager can't what with the window being closed. I thought against both Udinese and Liverpool sections of the crowd completely backed the the team. We knew they needed us - much like the away supports unequivocal backing of the team in Manchester.

I know we are taunted because of the atmosphere in our ground by other supporters but I think we've turned the corner this season or that's what I hope. Last year I remember an electric atmosphere against Chelsea and Barcelona and I really hope we can reproduce that level of noise every week. I think all too often fans go to the Grove expecting to be entertained. We've not seen the level of performance that will rise to the heights that previous Arsene Wenger teams have produced in recent years for some months.

And that's why I believe the relationship between the fans and the team has changed. We're in for a scrap this season, I don't believe there is any doubt about that. And because we can all see that, many more fans are joining in the singing at the ground and getting behind the team.

Hopefully the new faces brought in by the manager can help reinvigorate this squad. We've got six international captains as the manager has been keen to point out. The dynamic of the squad has changed. The profile of the new signings is more experienced.

The manager has said he's been to hell this summer with what's gone on. And I think all Gooners can relate to that what with the start to the season we've had. But it all starts afresh now. It really is a clean slate. No Samir Nasri, no Gael Clichy and no Cesc Fabregas. We've also shipped out everyone's favourite scapegoats Denilson, Eboue and Bendtner.

But we've added quality in Mikel Arteta, who every Arsenal player is raving about after watching him in training. We've added the experienced Yossi Benayoun who will add depth to the squad. A commanding central defender who reads the game... no problem. Per Mertesacker is your man. A left back with international experienced signed - Andre Santos. And also a hard working forward, step forward Park Chu Young.

We shouldn't forget the signing of Gervinho who has looked good in his opening appearances. Plus the promising starts from Carl Jenkinson and Alex Oxlade Chamberlain.

The manager now has to get these players performing as a team. And I don't expect them to instantly click this afternoon. I think that is an unrealistic expectation considering many of our players have been away from London Colney and they've only had two days to train together. So what I'm not expecting is a big score line today. However it would lift the mood if we did bag a few.

Team news is that we're without Diaby, Wilshere and Vermaelen with long term injuries. Song, Gervinho and Jenkinson complete their suspensions today. Rosicky and Squillaci will also missing today along with Ryo Miyaichi because of short term injuries. Andre Santos is lacking match fitness but should make the bench. Park Chu Young was in Paris yesterday awaiting a visa decision but is included in the squad. Alex Oxlade Chamberlain is on stand-by to take his place if the Korean is unable to travel. And the good news is that Theo Walcott and Kieran Gibbs are fit and should both start.

I'll post my team preview in a few hours, along with my betting selection.

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