Arsenal, expectations and the problem of being pre-season champions


Is back! The best league in the world to say it’s the best league in the world returns to our orbit Friday night, and The Fiver is ready. We’ve lined up the essentials – tin hat, tin – and we’re going to forgo the non-negligible pleasure of George Clarke’s Remarkable Renovations at 4Seven so we can watch Crystal Palace v Arsenal. There has been a notable renovation – pick that sequence – at Arsenal. According to our cheerful and occasionally decipherable nephew #5r, they’ve already won preseason. We think he’s referring to Gabriel Jesus and Oleksandr Zinchenko’s bargain buys, although he also swears by Fábio Vieira’s FIFA ratings.

Arsenal are at the top of the Premier League form table, or would be if Bournemouth didn’t insist on calling themselves AFC Bournemouth. Arsenal have won six of their seven pre-season games, scoring 26 goals in the process – compelling evidence that The Fiver have lost the plot and now appear to be using friendly results as a guide to what will happen when the real thing starts. But these are optimistic times in the Emirates, even by traditional opening weekend standards, and we wouldn’t be doing our reliable job half @rsed if we didn’t recognize so much. Arsenal have the most exciting youth squad in the league, and their likely Palace eleven includes just two players over the age of 25. reach the promised land of fourth place.

Related: Mikel Arteta confident Arsenal ‘ready to go to a different level’ with signings

His coach, Amazon Video sensation Mikel Arteta, shares the optimism. “We’re ready to go to a different level,” he said, revealing plans for Werner Herzog to direct the second season of All or Nothing. “[Breaking into the top four] It’s not going to get any easier, so we can just focus on what we’re trying to do, what we can do, because we can’t do everything at once, and we’re confident that we’ll be able to do it,” he continued, as a confused Fiver looked around. desperately for an “Arteta” dropdown in Google Translate.

This season is Arteta’s best chance to refute the perception that he’s a high-class coach trapped in David Brent’s body. He is understandably excited about the signings of Jesus and Zinchenko from Manchester City, a rare example of a team selling out to their food club. “They have been inspired by top players, top professionals, relentless winners for many years… and now it’s their turn to do the same. We want them to inspire our younger players… and show them what it takes to win, and the level of detail, hunger and dedication you need to keep winning.”

It doesn’t matter if you win – one of Arsenal’s challenges is to start drawing. Last year, they missed 13 league games, more than Manchester United’s most absurd team in decades. One was against Palace, a 3-0 rout in April that fatally undermined their confidence. Friday night is a chance for Arsenal to show that now that they have found Jesus, they are a different proposition.


Join Rob Smyth at 8pm BST for up-to-the-minute live updates at Crystal Palace 3-3 Arsenal. Yes, we are feeling optimistic.


August 3: “Contrary to inaccurate reports from various media this evening, no deal has been reached with any club to sell Marc Cucurella” – Brighton released a statement insisting that no deal has been reached with Chelsea for the left-back.

August 5: “Following reports from various media this week, we can confirm that an agreement has been reached with Brighton and Hove Albion for the signing of Marc Cucurella” fantastic mockery will define Todd Boehly’s era at Chelsea.

£62 million though?

£62 million though? Photograph: Chelsea FC


“Surely PSG would be the ideal club for Cristiano Ronaldo at this stage? A club that allows him to leave work early every year, usually ending the league in April and often ending his Big Cup campaign even earlier. A club representing the city of the Sun King; and a club where stars are stars and coaches are optional. Bon Voyage!” – Justin Kavanagh.

“I know this doesn’t fit the Fiver narrative, but I have to object to Ed Taylor winning the letter of the day subtly suggesting the Premier League hasn’t attracted new fans. I think Sky Sports is giving teams £5 billion to provide TV coverage to the same people who were watching the First Division in 1992” – Graham Haslam.

“The Big Website’s analysis of Premier League teams’ chances this season was interesting but wordy. The season can be boring but succinct, predicted as follows: Manchester City – winners; Liverpool – near-winners; Manchester United – losers; Arsenal – Arsenal; Spurs – Spurs; Chelsea – Focus on the Cup; Last season’s races too – aiming to be this season’s races as well; New boys – hoping not to be the old boys of the next season. All a little obvious, but at least this season we have a break while the best players sweat buckets in a hot place.” – John Lawton.

Send your letters to [email protected] And you can always tweet The Fiver via @guardian_sport. Today’s winner of our no-prize letter of the day is… John Lawton.


Martin Tyler apologized after appearing to link the Hillsborough disaster to vandalism. The Sky Sports commentator, speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today program about the Premier League’s 30th anniversary, referred to “Hillsborough and other issues relating to hooligans”. He later apologized and said: “There is no connection between the Hillsborough disaster and the vandalism – I know that, and I wasn’t implying that there was.”

Nottingham Forest were charged by the FA for trespassing late in the playoffs semi-final against Sheffield United in May.

Eddie Howe has shown he can multitask by painting his name on a long-term contract with Newcastle, while also warning fans that the FFP will put the brakes on club spending. “We don’t have the free rein, the free hand, that maybe was noticed in the media,” he stopped, as he scribbled furiously.

Pep Guardiola has admitted that Bernardo Silva could be on his way to the Etihad door marked Do One. “If he stays it’s perfect and in the end if he has to leave it’s because football is like that; the player has a wish,” he sighed.

Maxwel Cornet is set to swap Burnley’s claret and blue for West Ham’s claret and blue, who have fulfilled the striker’s £17.5m release clause.

And Bournemouth signed goalkeeper Neto from Barcelona.


The Premier League is back – and our 10 things to keep an eye on on the blog, baby!

The Premier League’s power is in danger of being overshadowed by yet another season of flow, Barney Ronay toots. As David Hills looks at the new (and sometimes weird) things coming in the upcoming Premier League season.

Aston Villa’s Leon Bailey chats with Ben Fisher about his crooks Usain Bolt and Raheem Sterling, his childhood in Jamaica and his work under Steven Gerrard’s eyes.

Our last two previews of the Premier League pre-season, before it stops being pre-season, feature Jacob Steinberg at West Ham and John Brewin in charge of Wolves.

David Hytner on Tottenham, Djed Spence and what the young rogue’s takeover tells us about Antonio Conte’s ambitions.

Eric Devin on the intriguing things to watch out for among the other 19 non-Qatar clubs this season.

And if that’s your case… you can follow Big Website on Big Social FaceSpace. AND INSTAGAT, ALSO!


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