I am a happy camper right now. Everything is on track for Arsenal to have a more improved season next term to what we have seen over the past decade or so. And the pre-season is going well for us. We won our first game against a very weak team but it was a nice warm-up match. It was also great to see 16-year-old Chris Willock run out for the Gunners and manager Arsene Wenger says he could be the next big thing to come out of Emirates. I just hope we hold onto to him.
The only sad news in that first pre season game was that Abou Diaby played for 45 minutes and looks likely to feature for the Gunners next season. I just hope he’s learned something about football in his months off.
The guys now in The Big Apple are set to play Thierry Henry’s New York Red Bulls. The game kicks off at midnight on Saturday and will be live on Supersport. So I guess that will be a long night in our household. Manchester United and Liverpool have also chosen the USA and Canada for their pre-season friendlies, and even though United boss Louis Van Gaal complained about all that travel ahead of a season that comes just after the World Cup, he didn’t seem too disappointed with the way his boys stomped all over LA Galaxy yesterday morning. The 7-0 win was an impressive result but I wouldn’t get caught up in such results if I were a Red Devil – heaven forbid!
The MLS is a weak league altogether which is why players from big clubs in Europe go to play there after passing the age of 35. There’s a lot of money in the MLS and it’s a good insurance plan. But choosing USA for friendlies is a wise move. The Americans are still caught up in the “Soccer” wave after their team reached the second round of the World Cup; and they are ripe for being marketed to. A club like United needs a lot of money given they won’t be in any European competition next season, but with a fraction of the 300 million Americans buying United jerseys and memorabilia, it’s not a bad place to look for finances.
Arsenal only have one game in the USA before heading back to play our own Emirates Cup against Benfica, Valencia and AS Monaco. I’m feeling pretty confident ahead of next season. Wenger says he will not buy a striker and I’m not too worried about that because we have a host of midfielders who can score right now. The Frenchman is finally realising that he has to adapt to the rigours of the English Premier League which has changed since he last won the league in 2004. All this Van Gaal talk for me right now is just hot air. Does he have a great plan? Of course! He is building a great team. But I agree with him that we shouldn’t expect United to win the league next term. That is reserved for Arsenal, but we will allow the Dutchman to have a shot the following the season. Talk to me on @CarolRadull on twitter or www.facebook.com/CarolRadull