New season,a renewed hope and for the first time in a decade that trophy monkey is off the back. Arsenal kick off their campaign against London rivals Crystal Palace, who have sacked their manager on the eve of the new season. It comes as a bit of rude shock that Tony Pulis has been sacked although I am far from being downbeat, this was the man that managed Shawcross, so no love lost from my side. Having said that Arsenal shouldn’t approach the game with a laid back attitude, the Aston Villa debacle is still fresh in the mind. Palace will be organised, tough to break down and physical. However if Arsenal play to their strengths, it will be a long evening for the Eagles. Arsenal fans are eagerly awaiting the premier league debut of their new signings especially Alexis Sanchez whereas Palace fans must be wondering what on Earth is going on at the club. It is these sort of knee jerk or rather bizarre decisions that jeopardise so many clubs makes me realise how lucky we are to have Arsene.
No Germans, No Walcott, No Diaby yet Arsenal have enough firepower and confidence to annihilate an unsettled Palace. The feel good factor from the FA cup has been carried into the new season. A raft of exciting signings as well as the Community Shield win has rocketed expectations and it will be interesting to see how Arsenal play in a serene atmosphere rather than a poisoned one. I believe we will utilise the same formation we used in the Community Shield, 4-1-4-1, Wilshere and Ramsey deployed as the advanced midfielders ahead of El Capitan Arteta. Koscielny is available after an Achilles strain and that is a massive boost. With Per short of full fitness and Vermaelen no longer at the club, it is imperative that we sign a new centre back. All eyes will be on Sanchez and how he performs, it is an entirely different challenge for him, one I strongly believe he will pass with flying colours. Debuchy and Chambers have so far seamlessly adapted to the Arsenal way and I hope they can deliver when it really matters. Up front I won’t be surprised if Sanogo is selected ahead of Giroud and equally unsurprised if he fluffs a chance.
Hardly the ideal preparation if the club’s manager is sacked on the eve of the new season, it throws all the plan and preparation into disarray, sucks the confidence out of the players and in general a negativity surrounds the club. But these guys are professionals and it would be a great deal of professional injustice if they don’t pick themselves up and move on. Is it just coincidence that we will have to meet a managerless Eagles for the second time in as many years?. Crystal Palace miraculous survive was largely based on their miserly defence and even a point would be a bonus for the troubled side. Last season in an almost identical situation they made us to work hard for all the 3 points and it won’t be different this time around. Chamakh will be leading the line and the inspirational Jedinak at the centre will have to be at his best to thwart Arsenal.
It’s been quite some time since we won on the opening day, if I am not wrong it was on Goodison Park 5 seasons ago, a repeat of that performance would surely see us win the game.