Another day, another PSF announced. And the identity of the mysterious Premier League club is….
Yes, the Arsenal. Well, a Gooner XI anyway, because the “proper” team is playing Legia in Warsaw at the same time. So no Arsene Wenger, or Cesc Fabregas, or William Gallas for people to point at. Though given his form at the end of the season, Fabianski might be in goal against us.
So, what does this all mean? Firstly, it’s a decent coup for the club anyway – it will have a good crowd, and you can bet the commerical department will be milking this. I seem to remember Arsenal was mooted last season, and even got into the upcoming fixtures section of the OS (before getting hastily torn down). Although at the time of writing, it doesn’t seem to have made the official Arsenal site…
Secondly, it’s going to be a damn good test for us whatever XI turns up. We’ll have to wait and see whether it’s the actual second string (ie early Carling Cup round) turning up, or whether it’s some weird youth-reserve hybrid of a team. One would hope it’s the former, because it would be interesting to see the gap between a reserve Prem outfit and a just-gone-full-time Conference one.
It should be a decent enough Arse side. It’s effectively the last PSF before the season starts properly, and with pre-season being a very important time for clubs anyway, to play that late means you’re fine-tuning the players and team. Don’t forget that “early” PSFs are getting the players back up to match fitness, which is why they’re good for social events but nothing more.
You can always guarantee that a Top Flight XI side in early July will either be younger than the Family Enclosure or more disjointed than us playing at York City. Either way, you know it’s going to suck. But with a week to go before the new season, we ourselves should be a lot fitter and with more of an idea of who’s going to start. One hopes Arse have the same idea.
All of which now leaves us with one PSF to be announced (at least, according to the calendar on the OS), which is the away fixture on the 24th July. Cheekily, your editor has looked at various London/SE clubs, and noticed that QPR, Leyton Orient, Barnet, Brentford and Dagenham haven’t announced anything yet. In fact, only the Hoops and Orient have got round to doing any PSFs for this upcoming campaign, and neither haveÂ earmarked anything for the 24th.
Come to think of it, a lot of teams below us haven’t sorted out their pre-season campaigns, if their websites are anything to go by. Woking haven’t announced anything, neither have Chelmsford. Or Ebbsfleet. Whether that’s all down to upheaval on their collective part, or whether we had an idea of who we wanted straight away is unclear, but even our pre-season of 2002 was better organised.
Mind you, Palace haven’t sorted anything out either. Although that could be down to having to secure Croydon Athletic’s ground as a home base for next season…….