By Tony Attwood
“Never let a trophy get in the way of the constant knocking.” That could well be the Daily Mail’s basic rule of thumb as Martinez, Holding, Tierney, Bellerin, Xhaka and Lacazette were each given six out of ten for their performances in the cup final. “Just above average”.
It seems a bit daft, and indeed even the Guardian, which still takes the rampant anti-Arsenal negativity that so marked out their writing about the club for many years as a general guideline to its commentary, are softening a bit. They give David Luiz, Granit Xhaka and Hector Bellerin 7 out of 10, while Kieran Tierney and Ainsley Maitland-Niles each get 8.
Dani Ceballos gets 9 along with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, of course. What does the poor guy have to do to get 10?
So that’s it, and before we return to the rather odd things happening in European football which finally threaten to take Fifa apart, (while leaving most of London’s finest football journalists still trying to find the exit from the Topple Bollard public house, where they have been celebrating another fine season of inaccurate reporting) here are a few dates, and a bit of an update on transfers.
We’ve now got a break of six weeks before the Premier League season begins on 12 September. Except for Manchesters City and United, Chelsea (who apparently recently appeared in a cup final) and Wolverhampton W. They won’t start then because they are playing in a tournament in Lisbon between 12 and 23 August to decide who wins the Europa League and the Champs League.
As for next season the proposal is for some spectators to be let in, but much depends on our all-knowing government who have a clear vision of the future. Apparently the five subs rule will be available for leagues and competitions who want it.
The international transfer window continues until October 5, and after that there will be a special extension until October 16 in which Premier League clubs will be able to do deals with Championship clubs, but not with PL clubs, or clubs from outside England.
And of course we absolutely must squeeze in all those wonderful international games so that players have an even greater chance than ever of being injured or getting a virus by travelling around Europe. So having just started the Premier League will stop again for the weekends of 8 October and 12 November. And just to increase the chance of injury and infection, each country will play three games in each window not two!
I suspect a lot of the youngsters lurking on the edge of the Arsenal squad are going to get extra games as a result of the number of matches in such a short space of time.
Meanwhile no clear rules have been laid down by the government of the UK or the FA concerning future regulations for transfers in of non-UK citizens and the new format that “home grown” rules will take. The UK has already left the European Union, but the full impact of this will not be felt until the deadline for the trade deals which may or may not be the end of January.