ATAFC is now 2 years old, which is crazy to me. The 2 seasons have just flown by and the blog is still going, which brings me joy. To coincide with this Happy Birthday I had the pleasure of experiencing my first spout of online abuse this week. 2 years in and a man hiding behind an egg avatar on Twitter felt the need to direct racism my way. I was minding my own, tweeting about England v Russia about the big decision that Roy Hodgson had to make on whether to bring off Kane and Sterling or not, which led to the quite insightful reply of “I didn’t know India were playing mate”. If that wasn’t enough the mans behind the egg didn’t even believe he was being in any way racist. I’ve mentioned it many times before and I’ll say it again, social media has truly given a platform for morons to exercise their obviously uneducated guff. But abuse is a part and parcel of what it is to have a presence online and any opinion will be scrutinised and lambasted with or without cause so I take it as a compliment more than anything. Anyways onto the football…

We’re here. ‘Silly season’ has arrived. Click bait is rife in today’s online world of transfer info and the ‘itks’ are out in full force. Guillem Balague is out there knowing every move that will happen this summer and is so close to tweeting his “I told you so” message. John Cross, the ‘insider’ at Arsenal knows that we won’t do anymore business, but when we do, the Mirror will be the ‘exclusives’ on the story. All that and more will fill our summers…oh and the football of course. Something about some Euro competition I believe.

In terms of actual transfers for ourselves, we’ve brought in Granit Xhaka who looks a decent player with Arsenal like attributes in terms of distribution and old Arsenal like attributes in terms of fight and desire. Something we’ve been crying out for since a the days of Vieria & Gilberto. We’ve also gone in for Jamie bloody Vardy. I have no doubts that as a footballer he will do well for us if he arrives but on a personality level I simply don’t want him anywhere near our football club. Any player can commit a misdemeanour that can, in the main, be forgiven, however racism is not something that anyone can partake in accidentally. Vardy’s racist comments within a casino towards a Japanese gentleman were quite disgraceful and he was reprimanded for doing so. Some portions of the media refer to it as meme-worthy as simply a ‘normal’ misdemeanour, which is also a disgrace. The British media will do and say whatever it takes for excusing one of ‘their own’ be it someone of their country or someone that they simply love. Prime examples are Mourinho, someone they just love and are infatuated with as well as any Leicester player simply due to what they have achieved this season gone by. The love-in is strong and because of it things like racism are glossed over. I really don’t want Vardy at our great club because of this. He, and any others who fall into this category, such as John Terry and Luis Suarez should be nowhere near a football pitch. They are role models and give the youth of today the lesson that racism is only worth a 3, 6 or 9 game ban. It puts a ‘price’ on it and gives people the subtle impression that it’s ok so long as you do the time for it. No. Absolutely not. Racists and bigots should be banned for life from the football pitch and should not be allowed to compete. If this tosser joins us and scores plenty left of goals and last minute winners vs Sp*rs & Chelsea etc I’ll be cheering yes, but not for the man, for The Arsenal. I’ll absolutely never sing his name or excuse his behaviour as many fans do and have done of the aforementioned players above. The only positive to take from all of this is that we seem to be acting early in the market, which is great to see…

In other areas it looks as though the hunt for a wide forward is on (bye Theo…) with interest in Mahrez and Mkhitaryan apparent. Bringing in a striker, a wide forward and a centre back of established quality alongside the midfield monster we’ve just bought and it will have been a really successful window. I would love to see a first XI reading: Cech, Bellerin, New CB, Koscielny, Monreal, Xhaka, Cazorla, Ozil, Mahrez, Alexis & Aubameyang (let me dream will you!). We’ve got a lot of work left to do to achieve that sort of line up but it feels like we’ve made the steps forward to at least try and get there. Trying is something we’ve done in the last few windows but this time it has to become a reality else there will be mutiny. Tim Stillman wrote a great piece on how the manager has been trying to rectify the Thierry Henry shaped hole in our strike force season after season without success. Think of the strikers we’ve had leading the line; Adebayor, Van Perise, Eduardo, Bendtner, Vela, Chamakh, Park Chu Young, Podolski, Giroud, Sanogo & Welbeck. These are the what we would could out and out strikers that we’ve used as the focal point of our attack and it’s indicative of Wenger having tried. There were also the Higuain, Suarez and Benzema sagas that almost took place so the ‘want’ for a new man up top is there. This summer is the time to make it happen.

In terms of the Euros thus far, it’s been a really enjoyable competition to watch. The England result aside, the performance was at least something to take positives from. There are some big decisions coming up for Hodgson as in the lead up to the competition all the talk was of whether Rooney would work in midfield. It has done. He looked good (all be it against a dour Russian side) but the main conundrum now is whether to play Kane & Sterling with the likes of Sturridge, Vardy and Rashford waiting in the wings to take their place. I think that Sterling is likely to retain his purely because none of the alternatives are natural wide men but Kane’s place is more under threat simply due the natural alternatives.

The best game I’ve seen up until now has been the Belgium v Italy game. Some brilliant end to end football and Italy winning it against the odds was great to watch. I just love how emotion every single player is within that squad. It’s always been the case and again it showed with their celebrations for the 2nd goal. Even Buffon was getting involved! Great tv. Belgium have a great collection of individuals but they just don’t look like a ‘team’. I’m not sure the manager is the right man for the job there, but in international management you just never know who or what will work. It’s never quite as clean cut as transferring a trophy winning manager from club football to the international stage (see Phil Scolari…).

England play Wales this week and that will be the talk of the town. Wilshere (if he plays!) v Ramsey, Bale v I don’t know, Rooney I guess although the gulf in class is apparent!

Have a great week folks. Oh and it’s Liverpool at Home for the first game of the season. Nice and spicy.

Follow me on Twitter @MiteshLakhani1.


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