Barnet v. Arsenal Preview: it's just a friendly but it'll have to do

He's not human. He's like a piece of iron.

Whelp, here we are, the brink of another season and the Arsenal find themselves facing a familiar opponent to kick off the pre-season friendlies; Barnet. After that, Arsenal will string together a series of matches 3-4 days apart as Arsene Wenger puts his team through their paces and prods the players to see where they fit best. All the while bringing along a smattering of youth players to test their mettle against these, let’s face it, lesser teams.

But first up, Barnet, those pesky bees. Well, they haven’t been all that pesky to be honest, more of like a cute little bumblebee bumbling along from clover to clover. But they are a gracious host and as evidenced by their web site, they love having Arsenal come out and play, even if they do lose pretty much every time.

Leading up to the match, nearly every Arsenal player has been interviewed (Arshavin, via Gunnerblog) over the last few days and they are all really excited for the season and ready to kick this year off better than last (Almunia, via the dot com). That’s perfect, I think they lost focus at the start of last year and overlooked teams like Fulham so, making sure that they are all on the same page and up for the task from the onset is absolutely crucial if Arsene is going to see this youth project of his pay off. A good win tomorrow will send a very clear message that Arsenal are focused on the season.

The club announced the squad today, and I’m excited for the opportunity to see Thomas Vermaelen in his first action for the club. There’s been a lot of speculation that he’s going to be Arsenal’s midfield hard man and given Arsene’s track record in transforming players I wouldn’t be surprised by that at all. Still, if he just plays at center back then that too will be just fine: top quality depth at that position was lacking at the end of last season with injuries forcing Wenger to use Silvestre in crucial matches and that proving fatal to Arsenal’s season. So, even if he’s just cover for Gallas and Toure and he’s half the quality that Wenger usually spots, then he will be a welcome addition indeed.

The other player that everyone is talking about is Thomas Rosicky. Our little Mozart has been out for what seems like a dog’s year but he’s supposedly ready to go. Cesc gave an emotional interview in which he described Rosicky as a great footballer, a great friend, and a man with nearly unparalleled perseverance. I say “nearly” because I think Eduardo would give him a run for his money in that category. I am absolutely stoked to see Rosicky back in action, his width on the right, crosses, and ability to get by defenders was missed last year. Welcome back, Thomas, here’s to you being 100%.

Also included is Andrei Arshavin and I’ll be expecting a cool dozen goals from him; William Gallas, and I’ll be expecting an on-camera chat up of the players from him; Manuel Almunia, and I’ll be expecting him to have a union jack tee-shirt on under his kit; Johan Djourou, and I’m expecting him to be tall; Jack Wilshere, who I’m expecting to be fast and stuff; and Nacer Barazite, who has scored in the last two of these friendlies so, I’m expecting that Arsene Wenger will switch him to holding midfielder or something equally bizzare.

On a serious note, the squad is a bit odd, with no less than 6 youngsters named in the squad who the dot com says, or I have seen, play the holding midfield role: Randall, Cruise, Eastmond, Coquelin, Emmanuel-Thomas, and Frimpong. Admittedly, I don’t read the blogs about the youth teams because that seems just a little bit too obsessive. So, I have to go by what the dot com says. I do know that Wenger has spoken highly of Coquelin and Frimpong, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see one of those two start next to Wilshere in the center of the pitch.

One cool thing about these pre-season matches is that I get to approach all these youngsters with “fresh eyes” having only seen a handful of them in Carling Cup matches so, it’s exciting for me to see the likes of Jay Emmanuel-Thomas and Jay Simpson on the list.

That’s about it, the only other thing to mention here is that you can only watch the match on ArsenalTV, which, if you get for the rest of the month is only £4. I’m no shill for ArsenalTV but £4! That’s a pint! And for that you get to watch every one of this month’s pre-season matches, plus other incredibly cool videos, like Henry’s goal against Real Madrid, or Tony Adams’ goal against Everton, plus interviews, and old matches… Come on, it’s four quid well spent to get you excited for the season.


If you don’t get the video, you can tune in here, I will be liveblogging the match, and kickoff is at… 7am (PST).

Finally, I’m not doing a gods damn transfer roundup this morning, I’m burnt out on all that shit. I will say this, Carlos Vela’s reported injury is not as bad as, erm, reported which is good. With Adebayor leaving for bluer pastures, we’ll need him healthy.

See you tomorrow, first thing in the AM, here’s to Rosicky scoring 100 goals!

Up the Arse!


  1. Man, I just had to ask my wife for $7 so I could sign up for Dude: HUMBLING.

    But worth it.

    I need a job.

  2. Reports from SkySports have Adebayor at the Arsenal training ground saying goodbye to his teammates. Expect news of the official transfer within the next 24 hours.

  3. I have to say Arshavin has the Midas touch when it comes to interviews, he’s very quickly learned the bullshit that the English press spout and he’s quick off the mark with responses, all of them spot on and even humourous.

    A lot of good news today Tim and it makes a refreshing break from the endless transfer shit. I can’t wait to see Rosicky come back and I hope he has an awesome game tomorrow, to be honest though, his return will not have the same impact as eduardo’s ( I nearly cried when he scored that first goal ) and Eduardo had thousands of fans there to share in his triumph and sing his name, I can only imagine how that felt for him and the impact it would have had on his confidence.

    I’d put money on Rosicky being selected as penalty taker for the match.

    All in all today has been a good day, I have faith in our three summer singings, (rocky, dudu and vermin [really need to come up with a better nickname for him]) we’ve also secured some of our key players and their loyalty to the club inspires confidence in me. Thats kind of why its even more important Ade goes, I’m sure Bendtner will relish the opportunity to take his place, nice revenge for that headbutt, with rocky back theo can start playing down the middle and be an amazing super sub, can you imagine what it would do to the tired legged defence of an opposing teams moral to see a fresh legged theo walcott come on as a striker in the last 20 minutes? We’d have 10 minutes stoppage time too from all the stoppages due to cramp.

    1. Bongo said, I’d put money on Rosicky being selected as penalty taker for the match.

      Good call Bongo.

      vermin [really need to come up with a better nickname for him]

      The Verminator.

      1. @Tim, How about the VerMailman, Big V, T-Verm, TV, ActuallyANewSigning, V for Vermaelen, Know What I Mean Verm, V-Mail, Ver, Vermey ok too many pain pills

  4. Vermin is good enough, sounds tough and mean. Picks up all the scraps and devours them. lol

  5. At last, some action, away to Barnet, and then a whole series of matches to put the team through their paces.

    Like everyone I am looking forward to seeing Rosicky back in action, along with Dudu, just like new signings, as everyone keeps pointing out. Also expect Diaby to turn out looking like I.Hulk, after his extra training, and a trunk load of steroids.

    I see we’ve signed another youngster, from Cheltenham, guess he’ll be straight in to the first team along with Igor’s understudy from Montenegro.

    Seriously the youth outfit is a force to be reckoned with. Many of these guys are on the fringe of EPL class. Although it is hard to make comparisons, they are probably one of the top youth teams in the world. This is one hell of an asset, brought about by a very astute management team.

    Hope I can get to the Valencia match next month, in the meantime, Viva!

  6. What? Rosicky’s width on the right, crossing and ability to get past a man?

    He always played on the left with us. We missed his combination play, passing and shots from the box.


    1. @Jordan, He’s right footed and though he has played all over the pitch, Hleb was dominantly the left sided player and Rosicky the right.

      Though I will admit, on reflection that he actually got central a lot. Sometimes too much!

  7. 4quid for a pint.. bloody hell where do you live!! lol ..however.. yeah it is well worth it!

    Can’t wait !

  8. Rosicky like a new signing, adebayor going even better news, shame he counldn’t swop places with John Hartson.

      1. @Gareth26GOONER, I take your point although would argue that when anyone ever gets a terrible disease/thing happen to them or one of their family the natuaral instinct is to think “Why me?Why couldn’t it be someone else? I know this because it has recently happened to 2 people I know, one of which was not so lucky. Sometimes you would rather something bad happen to someone else. JH is a top bloke and I was maybe inappropriately blowing off some steam, I am not a prat. Adebayor on the other hand is a cunt!

        1. @Gareth26GOONER, remember that article I wrote, about how I think he’s getting bad advice?

          If these rumors are true then “bad advice” is the only option.

          I also think it’s a foregone conclusion that he’s moving on, but I’d bet his valuation ends up closer to the £12m I think he’s actually worth.

  9. im getting a million text messages saying the same thing, we will end up getting 10 mil for him. knew this was too good to be true….just pray City wrap it up by monday

  10. Wow haha, we should keep him, no definitely, he’s definitely the man for us now. How could we sell such an under-handed bastard. We need that kind of attitude to poison our dressing room and ruin our team.

    To be serious though a move to chelsea would be beyond perfect can you imagine the dressing room with him, Drogba and Anelka? Chelsea would be destroyed, please God I have never asked you for anything before (that toy of slimer from the ghostbusters I wanted for xmas when I a kid doesn’t count) but please, please let him go to Chelsea and if you can see it in your almighty heart to make it a straight swap for Essien, well that would be just swell.

  11. the game is not on Arsenal TV its on Arsenal TV Online, two seperate things, Arsenal TV are not even showing highlights

  12. Hey there guys. Any of you have an idea if Arsenal TV will work on a crappy 256Kbps connection? Because that’s all I have at home, and I don’t really want to pay for a service that I wont be able to enjoy properly. Plus, over here it’s like 10 pints, not 1 LOL

  13. Oh, what the heck. I subscribed anyway. I’ll try it for a month. Hey Tim, have you thought about adding a chat room to the site? It would be cool, at least for the coming friendly games.

  14. Hi Tim! I was not able to see your post yesterday and wondered what could have happened.

    Anyway, we are all excited about the pre-season. I am most happy at the prospect of Rosicky’s return. Hope all goes well for him.

    As for Adebayor, I hope that the whole thing is concluded with the minimum of fuss. I certainly don’t want it dragging on and on.

  15. The latest Adebayor news and what makes the most ‘sense’ is the Guardian piece from today that has Adebayor flying to Man City to complete the 25m move. Whew. Maybe it is finally over. The Chelsea BS is a day late and a dollar short IMO. The 2m loyalty payment is just too funny.

    Blanc says no Chamakh bid. This tells me that Wenger make just ‘throw a bone’ to his ‘dogs’ (strikers) and see who come out on top this preseason. Just like he did w/ DM last season after Flamini left.

    Report out of AC Milan says that Leonardo is working the troops much harder than in the Ancelotti years. The lack of intense training was a criticism that was use againt Grant by some of the players. Chelsea could become interesting again for its internal friction.

    Dudu and Senderos are not in today’s lineup. Neither is Adebayor:0

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