The last 32 days was a real mix of emotions for us Arsenal fans.
It went from slightly losing patience, to annoyance, to anger, then hope and
Coming into August was
the first time the strong majority of people were really beginning to start to
panic about signings. We had been told to be patience and that something
big was on the horizon but the fact that we were just two weeks away from the
start of the season and nothing had been done, was making people feel
It was probably the
first Summer where there was no doubt that Arsenal had money to spend. No big
players were leaving and all the other top clubs had managerial changes.
This was our chance but we had acted slowly and fans were starting to question
whether there was any real strategy to Arsenal’s summer business.
We then had the
Emirates Cup, which in all honestly just brought further annoyance. The games
weren’t great, we lost the trophy to two goals from old nemesis Didier Drogba,
we had to witness Gonzalo Higuain in a Napoli shirt despite being heavily linked
with him all summer and we had no one new to cheer.
As the month went on we
continued to get linked to the controversial but brilliant Luis Suarez yet Liverpool
were adamant they were not selling to a club they saw as rivals.
We then drew Fenerbahce
in the Champions League, which I will remind you that most people predicted to
be a very tough draw and some even said there was a strong possibility that we
would go out.
Just before the now
infamous Aston Villa game at the Emirates we got a morale boosting victory
against Manchester City, comfortably beating them 3-1 in our last pre season
match in Finland with Aaron Ramsey giving a glimpse of what we could expect to
see from him for the rest of the month.
By the time the Villa
game came around I think most were just ready for the action to begin. It had
been three long months since the last game against Newcastle United and
transfer talk was beginning to frustrate the life out of everyone. It was good
to get back to the football, well at least that’s what we thought until the
Despite what anyone
says, Arsenal were unlucky to lose the match. We suffered from bad injuries,
bad luck and some poor refereeing decisions. However at the end of the match
there was large discontent and grumbles around the stadium which was perfectly
The fans actually
clapped the players off as they realised they put in a decent effort and were
unlucky in the game. It was the management and board that felt the vent of the
supporter’s outbursts. They could not understand that in a year where we were
promised so much in terms of new signings and players that we had only brought
one player in on a free transfer from Ligue 2. Spend, spend was the outcry and
what followed was two or three very uncomfortable days.
The club was on a
negative spiral, Suarez now committed to Liverpool, we had lost the opening
league game, rivals investing well and a crucial Champions League game which
some argued was the most important game of the season and one ,which could
possibly shape Arsene Wenger’s future.
However, the boys in
true Arsenal spirit demonstrated what they were about. They showed they had
more mental toughness then people thought, went to Turkey under lots of
pressure and completely outplayed Fenerbache, defeating them 3-0.
It was just what the
club needed, a massive weight off their shoulders. Champions League
qualification pretty much guaranteed and surely meant they could go and attack
the latter stages of the transfer market and put things right.
After the Fenerbahce
game came what on paper looked like a tough early afternoon game at Craven
Cottage. In spite of the difficult conditions I thought we played very well,
probably the best we had played for a long while, including our 10-match
unbeaten run since last season. Our football was quick and fluid and we looked
ruthless on the counter attack. Lukas Podolski also showed his worth to
the team with two lovely finishes. I can’t understand how we could have
considered selling him. Yes he is sometimes completely out the game but I still
maintain he is our best finisher and is a very efficient player.
We finished the job
against the Turks, with a comfortable two nil victory. Aaron Ramsey scored the
two goals and for the third time in a row was given Man of the Match,
highlighting the sort of form the Welshman was in.
Once Champions League
Qualification was confirmed, we turned our focus to the transfer market. After
links to Yohan Cabaye, Marouane Fellaini and Luiz Gustavo, it was Mathieu
Flamini who was signed for the central midfield position. It’s fair to say most
the fans felt disappointed and underwhelmed. With all the money in the
bank we had gone for another free transfer and someone who turned their back on
the club after what was his only excellent season in his career.
Nevertheless a player
had come in and we needed to forget about transfers for a few days and turn our
attentions to the North London Derby. Tottenham Hotspur fans were full of
confidence. They were letting arguably the best player in the League go in
Gareth Bale but they had brought very very well. Not only have they got in some
very good players but many of them were signed early and their business seemed
to be done properly.
In this fixture last
season we beat Spurs for the second time in a row 5-2. This game was very
different! It was a hard thought match, we had to defend very well and be brave
with Carl Jenkinson calling the last five minutes more of a battle then a
football match. But battle we did and through an improving Olivier Giroud’s
fourth goal of the season we got a classic one nil to the Arsenal. Last seasons
5-2 win was great, especially for bragging rights but for me there’s not a
better feeling then hearing the final whistle, after coming out on top, of a
tough close match against your biggest rivals. I looked around and the Emirates
was full of smiling faces, such a contrast to two weeks ago. Where I sit there’s
a couple of people who let’s just say have a few different views to me and
that’s fine. But at the end of the game we were all singing together and giving
each other hugs and that is what a derby win can do. We can sometimes
forget that despite everything going on we are all Arsenal fans and one big
We had moved up to
fourth in the League and things were now getting better but the club knew that
the transfer deadline day was going to be a massive test. No signings just
simply wouldn’t have been accepted by the fans and bargain deals for decent
players would have also seen them come under criticism from basically all
There was hope as the
Gareth Bale to Real Madrid deal had finally been confirmed and there were
suggestions that this could trigger a few moves and some potential big
players. By the end of Sunday night it was reported that we had a £42m bid
for German superstar Mesut Ozil accepted.
I went to bed in the
hope that we could get this deal done but I had my doubts. We had been
reportedly close to so many players this window and Ozil was arguably the best
one we had been linked to.
I woke up to the news
that Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain had both come in for Ozil at the
last minute and I went out thinking yet again we weren’t going to get our
marquee signing. So it was a big suprise to me about two or three hours later
when I got a text from my Mum saying Ozil was having a medical at Arsenal.
I wanted to believe that this was true but was just a bit worried that she had
some how got confused so I logged on to Twitter and had it confirmed. I have to
say I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a buzz of excitement about a bit of news.
I got home, switched on
Sky Sports News and waited and waited and waited for it to finally be confirmed
and when it was it was a fantastic moment. An established world class player
was going to be playing for Arsenal and we had finally smashed our transfer
record set when buying my old favourite AA23.
One of the first things
I did was text my Spanish Real Madrid supporting friend Oscar as I wanted his
view. His reply to me was: “I’m very annoyed. We have just signed Bale
and this has taken the gloss of it. Ozil was our second best player. Imagine
signing Ozil and they selling Wilshere a day later, well that’s how I
I think this goes to
show the quality the guy has. Ivan Gazidis said he’s one of the best young
players in the world. The young is not needed, he’s simply one of the best
players in the world and will be playing for our football club. Those who say
he is not what we needed have missed the point. This is the breakthrough
signing for us, the one that will make others join in future markets and the
first big signing is always hard but we’ve done it now. You can imagine other
top players in Europe thinking well if Arsenal’s good enough for Ozil then it’s
good enough for me. And importantly we get to watch and enjoy a brilliant
player for us who will no doubt improve the team.
I’m not going to lie I
still have mixed feelings about this transfer market. As exciting as deadline
day was I would have much preferred us to have made our moves much earlier in
the market. At the start of the Summer I thought that our main signings should
have been a proven goalkeeper, a younger and quicker version of Arteta and a marquee
centre forward and we haven’t ended up with any of them which is disappointing.
(I don’t know much about Emiliano Viviano but heard he’s more of a backup then
first choice) I think everyone was in agreement that a top striker had to come
in so for no forward to come in meaning we have to welcome back Nicklas Bentdner
is quite upsetting but can hopefully be put right in January.
The flip side of the
argument is I am almost certain that Mesut Ozil would not have been available a
month ago and for us to get him in is a massive coup. We have made the best
signing of the market in my opinion and in the North London Derby Flamini
showed that he might be the shrewdest purchase. I loved the energy and
commitment he showed and to see him bossing people around and showing some
leadership was a great thing.
But I’ll finish the
blog on Ozil as I simply cannot wait to see him play in the red and white shirt
in a couple of weeks. It’s a massive lift for the club. You saw the
players tweet after he came how buzzing they were to have him. A signing like
that can give them confidence and improve their game. I bet Theo can’t wait to
latch on to some of those through balls.
Not only to the players
but it gives confidence to the fans. When you sign a player for around £10m
from the French League and they say “I want to bring trophies back to this
club” you think well okay then. However when you sign one of the best
players in the world from Real Madrid for over 40 million and they say “I’m
determined to win trophies for the club” then you really believe they can do it
and his signing as well as the Spurs victory means, after a difficult start to
the month, we are going into the international break feeling very