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July 28, 2011
Posted by Sam Limbert on 07/28/2011

After matches in Malaysia, China and Germany, Arsenal fans in England will get the chance to see how the squad are shaping up for the new season first-hand, with the annual Emirates Cup.

Since its introduction to the pre-season calendar in 2007, I’ve always been a fan of the tournament, even if it leads to other fans joking that we had to make our own trophy to win something. Whereas our friendlies so far have seen wholesale changes during the game, the Emirates Cup line-ups will have longer on the pitch to show how they’re looking ahead of the season. It’ll be more competitive than previous friendlies and will give a better indication of the fitness of the squad.

Whilst the weekend will give fans a good chance to see the team in action on the pitch, off the pitch, the transfer rumours of both ins and outs continue to dominate national newspapers and the internet. With no new centre back signed, and rumours flying around about Juan Mata, it’s still hard to know who will be in the squad by the end of August. Questions also remain over the existence of Cesc Fabregas, Samir Nasri, Manuel Almunia, Emmanuel Eboue and Nicklas Bendtner as Arsenal players.

July 18, 2011
Posted by Sam Limbert on 07/18/2011

Arsenal’s first tour of Asia in over 10 years is complete, and undoubtedly will be considered a success off the pitch. However, questions remain on it about certain members of the squad. Realistically, the on field action wasn’t going to be the most important aspect of the tour, and the results weren’t as important as gaining match fitness, however some performances won’t have eased some fans’ fears ahead of the new season.

There was good news on arrival back from Asia as there was the shock news of Arsenal finally completing a major signing. Gervinho is now officially a Gooner, a week after it was confirmed that an agreement was in place. With that deal now put to bed, most Arsenal fans will hope and expect Arsene Wenger to focus attentions on signing a much needed centre-back.

In Asia, pre-season was kicked off by a 4-0 victory over the Malaysian national side, with Aaron Ramsey, Theo Walcott, Carlos Vela and Tomas Rosicky getting on the score sheet. That was followed three days later by a 1-1 draw with Hangzhou Greentown in China as Vela made it two goals in two games.

July 11, 2011
Posted by Sam Limbert on 07/11/2011

Crisis? What crisis? After all the doom and gloom surrounding Arsenal, we’ve finally had a day with positive headlines for the fans to read. With some writing the club off before a ball had even been kicked in pre-season, some of that negativity can actually be put behind us as the Gunners kick off their friendlies this week.

In his first press conference as part of the Asia Tour, Arsene Wenger said that he expects both Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri to be at Arsenal for next season. Obviously that doesn’t necessarily mean that they will stay, because clubs chasing the players won’t give up, but it is pleasing to see Arsene Wenger being confident and defiant about keeping our best players. It would be all too easy for Wenger to just accept that Fabregas will finally go back to Barcelona and decide that it’s better to sell Nasri before he runs his contract down, however he knows as well as anyone that the Arsenal squad will be worse off without Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri.

Given how a large number of supporters had just accepted that Fabregas and Nasri would leave, if one of the two stayed, that would be considered a boost. However should Wenger’s defiance result in both pulling on the red and white shirt next season, optimism would increase massively amongst supporters. That piece of good news was then complimented by Arsene Wenger confirming that we’ve finally made a major signing.

July 3, 2011
Posted by Sam Limbert on 07/03/2011

As usual, the close season has sent transfer rumours surrounding Arsenal into overdrive. After last season’s failure, the obvious need for changes means there is even more speculation about who Arsene Wenger is, or isn’t, going to bring in this summer. It’s difficult to read much into all the tittle-tattle as Arsenal tend to keep very quiet about their transfer dealings.

After the initial post-season flurry of stories about arrivals and departures, there seemed to be a lull in the frenzy of transfer rumours. However, since reports have emerged of Barcelona bidding again for Cesc Fabregas, speculation about dealings with Arsenal have gone crazy again.

This has been a difficult post to write due to the constantly changing stream of information about potential transfers. It seems that one day Cesc Fabregas, Samir Nasri and Gael Clichy are staying, but then another day they’re all leaving. I’d prefer any sales of players to be finalised quickly, so we know what areas of the squad need strengthening. Obviously I don’t want to see those three players leave, but it would be detrimental for transfers to be drawn out over the summer before individuals are eventually sold. It is better for all involved to have sales sorted quickly.

David Young Sam Limbert: My retirement as a football player came at the age of 14 due to being rubbish, it's fair to say I was more Kaba Diawara than Thierry Henry, so I turned my focus to writing about the game. I'm a lifelong Arsenal fan and have been lucky enough to watch the team across England and Europe. My favourite Gunner of all time is Dennis Bergkamp, and the 2004 Invincibles is the greatest side I've ever seen in English football. I try to be positive about the Arsenal as it's the hope that keeps us going! Follow me on twitter @SamsMatchReport.

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