Saturday, 18 July 2015

Arsenal Face Everton In Singapore And Sanogo Joins The Master

After easing to a 4-0 victory against a Singapore Select team on Wednesday Arsenal will play Everton later today in the Asia Trophy final. It's only their second pre season game and the result means very little, but the pressures of the modern game means every game is pored over and judged by one and all. For me the most important thing is for the players to continue on the path to match fitness and come through the game unscathed.

With that in mind it's probably just as well that Everton managed to dispose of Stoke on penalties on Wednesday as Stoke have a nasty habit of injuring Arsenal players. Without even going into Aaron Ramsey and Ryan Shawcross there was Charlie Adam getting away with a wrestling hold on Alexis Sanchez in the game in Stoke last season. If I'm not mistaken Mathieu Debuchy picked up his second bad injury of last season at home to Stoke and the Stoke players went unpunished on both occasions.

The game on Wednesday was a personal triumph for Chuba Akpom who bagged himself a hat trick. These games count for very little, but scoring three goals can only be positive for him and it looks like he will stick around for the rest of the pre season and maybe even the start of the season too. He still has a lot to learn, but the signs are positive at the moment and hopefully he will continue to progress.

Speaking of progression Yaya Sanogo has joined Ajax on a season long loan and he could certainly do with getting some game time. Since he joined Arsenal a couple of seasons ago he has spent far too long on the treatment table and he needs to log some serious game time if he is going to progress. A real positive for Sanogo will be the opportunity for him to work with Arsenal legend Denis Bergkamp during his time at Ajax. Hopefully the master can teach Sanogo a thing or two and help him to become the player we all hope he can be.

The transfer rumours still abound and most of them involve Arsenal signing a striker or a defensive midfielder. While Arsenal may have good players in those positions already there is still a gap in the squad and Arsene Wenger had said he will bring a player or players in if the right ones become available. I would be surprised if Arsenal started the season without any more signings and even more surprised if the transfer window closed without any arrivals.

Today's game kicks off at 1.30pm BST and it's live on sky Sports 1. In fact all of the pre season games are on the TV, but I won't get to see any of them after today as the other three games are on BT and my subscription doesn't include BT. A trip to the pub to watch the Coomunity Shield against Chelsea in two weeks time might be called for and the fact that it's a Bank Holiday weekend makes it an even more attractive prospect.

As usual this season my fantasy league is up and running again and it's open to all comers with a €50 prize (out of my pocket) to the winner. You can join up by using the league code 48497-14043 after you have set your team up here and good luck to all who play. There were over 1,000 teams in my league last season and I'm hoping for even more this season.

I'm also running my Predictions League again this season and it's very enjoyable even if there's no cash prize for the winner. The code for my league is FD757-ARR after you have signed up here and of course both games are completely free to play. 

That's it for today.

See you tomorrow.

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