So Saturday's Premier League matches are done and dusted as the 2015/16 season kicks off and I must say, I'll take that. Chelsea have not looked the powerful well oiled machine for a while now and after a dodgy pre season they only managed to pick up one solitary point at home to Swansea City. One more than us last season mind but let's leave that there, we are a different proposition now.
I love the fact that Courtois now misses the Manchester City game next Sunday. If fate was fair then new boy (man) Asmir Begovic would fumble one into his own net in stoppage time to gift City the points. I mean just look at that absurd run last season where they picked up points for three games in a row following opposition goalkeeping errors. Anyway well done Swansea City and if we are to be title challengers for real this time, we should mini celebrate all Chelsea dropped points during what is to be a long up and down marathon.
So to the greatest team, the world has ever seen. Ever.
Arsène Wenger will have been preparing his troops for the West Ham match at the Emirates stadium. What pricked up my ear was Arsène's comments about needing to focus on starting quickly and imposing ourselves. If that has been the mantra over at Colny then hopefully the chances of watching us strolling through the first half is unlikely. Our best home performances almost always come from matches where we have flown around the pitch shutting down opposition players at speed and then passing the ball quickly to our talented midfield and attacking players.
The type of display I am thinking of is the Liverpool 4-1 smashing at home last season
If we can go at West Ham in similar fashion then, well.. I think we'll be ok this afternoon.
But what of the players themselves?
It is hard to look past the team that beat specialist in being an atrocious human being's Chelsea at Wembley. Alexis won't be ready yet, I'd even be quite surprised to see him on the bench let alone start the game. So I guess the only real question is Giroud over Walcott but I'm not sure it will happen like that. I think if Theo is starting a brand new season after signing a big contract, I think Arsène will give him the chance to grow into the position, unless of course some business is completed in that position before the window closes but that as we know, is difficult for the caliber of player needed and wanted.
The rest of the team pretty much picks itself, especially with Jack's worrisome ankle issues returning. Fingers crossed he is not out for too long and can come back stronger.
Mean Lean's Predicted Line Up:
If we do line up the same, I'd be interested to see what happens to both Aaron Ramsey and Santi Cazorla within that team. Against Chelsea it looks as if Santi was nudged into a wider position than all of last season. Who knows, it might be a position for players to rotate into as the game develops. We saw against Chelsea that Mesut Özil often drifted into that position, as would Theo Walcott if playing centre forward. Almost like a spare round-about on the left hand side of the pitch allowing for players to switch position and pull defenders out of position before gifted talents such as Mesut or Santi can produce a moment of brilliance to create or score a goal.
I hope Oxlade-Chamberlain has a good afternoon, in fact I am going to predict an Ox wonder show. He will be the one to lead West Ham a merry dance. Sorry, it's something I wanted to say for a while now. But yeah, I want to see a step-over here a burst into the box there and some good old end product as it looks like he has been working on that part of his game this pre season and prior.
As I said in my season review of sorts, I am intrigued to see our defence play with some conviction and determination. In some years past it has almost felt as if our back four were purely a foundation for our attacking football where as it looks like an experienced unit that wants to fight for clean sheets. Cech helps that without question but arguably the best central defender in the league in Koscielny (yeah I'm biased, what of it?) and the intelligence and leadership of Mertesacker give that defence the platform it needs to be the best in the league for the first time in donkey's years.
As for the Hammers, I think I better mention them a little somewhere. They have had an up and down pre season as far as I can see. Ok one win in 5 is probably more down than up but I am pretty sure they played a pretty inexperienced team in their Europa League qualifier, so we may just face a different West Ham United team at 1.30pm GMT. Having said all that I fully expect us to up the gears and show our superiority.
It's all pretty obvious stuff but I would love a strong, convincing, technical, ruthless game and let us send that statement that so many speak of. Let the statement read something like the following.
'Dear the rest of the Premier League,
You all chuckled and giggled at us during the early part of last season, you smirked as we failed to get our attacking game together, grinned when we dropped points against lower placed clubs like Tottenham Hotspur and chortled when we lost player after player to injury. Well I hope you enjoyed your fun because you won't get another chance to do that for a long while. We have been slowly building this squad after tearing up the Santos, Bendtner, Gervinho team. I don't know how but we have managed to slip under the radar until now. Picking up a footballing freak like Mesut Özil who has already read five steps ahead of your first thought on the pitch. We picked up a South American whirlwind in Alexis Sanchez and now we have one of the best goalkeepers in Premier League history.
This on top of the collection of well watched and trained technical experts in the PL. Players like Laurent Koscielny, Santi Cazorla, Aaron Ramsey, Theo Walcott et al. And the funny thing is that you are not yet ready to know about Gabriel, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Bellerin and countless others who are patiently waiting for a chance to grab a place in the squad as Francis Coquelin did last season.
You thought you were rid of us during the stadium move, you thought we had no plan to get back. Well you were wrong, the sooner you admit it the better it will be for everyone.
We will cut down on sloppy errors, we have the best people working day and night on our injury problems and we will throw all we got at every team we face from now until May, so let's be havin ya!
Arsène, Bouldy, Shad and the gang xxx'
Now watch West Ham beat us 1-0 from a set piece. As if, I just remembered my future vision of the Ox so it's ok. You can't have Ox playing the way he does and lose the match so we will be fine.
Pre and post match stuff later.