So that's that for pre-season, and now it's almost time to get down to business.
Yesterday we rounded off our warm-up for the new campaign with a 3-1 win over Man City in Helsinki. I have to say I didn't expect anything like that result and the same has to be said for the majority of people I'd seen commenting before the game.
Theo got things going with a fine finish and as I mentioned yesterday on Twitter, he's become a much better finisher when he doesn't have much time to think about the situation. It's those moments where he does have time where work is needed; at the moment I'd not be confident of him finishing the majority of one-on-ones that come his way. A top, top striker puts those away in his sleep.
Ramsey had another good game and got on the scoresheet, and Giroud rounded off our scoring. Both have shown some fine form recently which is encouraging.
It's fair to say that both players have come in for a shed load of stick from Arsenal fans over the past year - unwarranted in my opinion. Ramsey hit a poor run of form playing out of position, but I always recall how influential he started to become in our midfield before that thug Shawcross came along. I'm hopeful he can get that form back because I still think he has a lot to offer.
Giroud for me had a decent first season in English football. I liked his willingness to get stuck in, he didn't seem as lazy as people made him out to be, and although he does spend a bit of time preening on the pitch, I still think he's a fighter. Is he the answer up front for us? No, I still think we need a proven, top quality goalscorer. But I think Giroud is a decent player to have.
After the game, a particular comment from Arsene Wenger has us all wondering / hopeful / puzzled:
"I think what is important is the strength of the squad. Today is one game. We want to play 55 games and we are maybe a bit thin squad-wise to go through a whole season"
Firstly, he is admitting that the squad isn't strong enough. That should mean signings on the way, shouldn't it? We can only hope. As for the 55 games thing, I'm hoping that's based on some kind of average stat over the last few years. Because a full league and Champions League campaign (assuming we *ahem* make the final) would mean around 4 other games spread across the domestic cup competitions.
As for potential new signings, the Metro reported that we'd agreed a £14m deal for Bayern Munich midfielder Luiz Gustavo. Naturally that was pounced upon by everyone and now we have the nationals reporting it too.
Normally a transfer rumour in the Metro would be as watertight as a sieve, but I think we're all so desperate for new signings we'd take Louis Walsh if Luiz Gustavo didn't happen. I'm sure the little Irishman could do a job for us somewhere. When Uncle Ivan's 'Bloggers Inner Circle' starts to turn, you know things are desperate. Quick Mark Gonnella, do some more 'smoothing out' before they rebel even more.
Before the season starts, of course there's another annoying international friendly in the way. I hate these with a passion and seeing Jack Wilshere in England's squad to face Scotland has me a bit concerned. He's hardly played because of injury so let's hope "gweat wesilience, twemendous pwessure" Woy doesn't play Jack for too long. Wrap him in cotton wool and get him back safe.
So it's almost here, people. For all the outrage at another piss poor transfer window and (so far) lies aplenty from Uncle Ivan, when Saturday rolls around we have to forget our differences off the pitch and unite once again, 100% getting behind the boys and cheering them on to victory. As my old mucker Afrika Bambaataa once said, it's all about Peace, Unity, Love, and Having Fun.
Up The Gunners.
"We want to play 55 games and we are maybe a bit thin squad-wise to go through a whole season"