As we move closer to the English Premier League season, which kicks off on the August 16, it’s evident that certain fans are already considering their teams favourites to win the league this time around.
But what is really misleading, is the fact that fans are basing their arguments on results from pre-season friendlies! The pre-seasons have seen mixed results with Liverpool beating Manchester City after a penalty shoot-out and Arsenal losing to New York Red Bulls. We’ve seen Manchester United totally destroy LA Galaxy and Chelsea keep their confidence up by beating small teams all over Europe.
The fact is that pre-season matches aren’t played to be won; they are played for managers to gauge their players and to bring up their fitness levels after the summer holidays.
The games are used to try out new players and see which players they can get rid of. They look at positions that need to be filled and yes ultimately, they make sure their strikers can score goals. This is the squad that started for Arsenal in our game in New York: Szczesny, Jenkinson, Hayden, Monreal, Gibbs, Arteta, Wilshere, Zelalem, Ramsey, Cazorla and Rosicky with the following players on the bench: Martinez, Miquel, Bellerin, Coquelin, Diaby, Olsson, Toral, Flamini, Akpom. Considering literally all the subs played; that tells you exactly if manager Arsene Wenger was going for a win; or not.
The Frenchman was testing his squad for the new season and despite losing the game 1-0, he is wiser now as he makes his selection for this weekend’s tournament.
The Emirates Cup kicks off tomorrow and with Benfica, Valencia and AS Monaco participating, this will be slightly more hostile than the friendlies. Arsenal must win this weekend as the testing period is over and it’s time to see how we will really fair against serious opposition. I’m quite excited about this.
Now there’s something really disturbing on my mind about the organisation of Harambee Stars.
Three weeks ago, we had a secret friendly with Burundi that many fans didn’t know about which is why the stadium was so empty on the day. I tweeted on Tuesday about Sunday’s return leg qualifier with Lesotho being held at Nyayo Stadium and not Afraha as some journalists had dreamed up; and the response I got was worrying. Many fans didn’t even know we were hosting an AFCON qualifier this weekend.
No publicity had been done and I had to jolt the federation into action to run some promotions on Radio Jambo. We need a full house on Sunday to ensure the Stars feel the home advantage. Since the federation won’t do it’s job, let’s do ours. Tell a friend who’ll tell a friend, who’ll tell another friend to be at Nyayo Stadium at 4pm on Sunday to cheer along our Stars. Since no ticketing details have been released as I write this; please check on my social media pages today and tomorrow and I’ll update you.
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