As another match hurtles inevitably toward us at St James Park in its usual inimitable fashion, the guessing games begin and predictions are made.

This time it is the turn of perineal (I know how I spelt it) bogie (I know how I spelt it) team Arsenal to try and dampen the early-season optimism that has swept through St James Park like a Cheryl Vesuvius-Lothario rose perfumed fart.  Without wanting to talk guff too long, it is nice to be an optimist in an optimist’s world once again.

For the first time in what seems like millennia, people are excitedly talking about the forthcoming match.  Not the excitement of discussing how accurate their predictions of humiliation will be (well, not everyone), but genuine excitement at the prospect of settling down at 12.45 tomorrow to see a match we might actually win, against a team who will almost certainly massively underestimate us.

Arsenal have looked a bit…wobbly in the first couple of games, and just as we did in the theatre of old dreams against Louis’ lovies, we might wobble them a bit more, maybe even knock them over.  Weebles they are not.

With Per Mertesacker not willing to take antibiotics for his tit-cough ‘nein, mein body ist ein temple’ (quote spurious) and Laurent Koscielny working on his modelling career, there is a good chance the centre-backs will be Gabrielle, the popular 90’s pop singer, and Calum ‘please don’t push me over’ Chambers.

Never has there been a better opportunity to release the biggest charver to play for NUFC since Duncan Ferguson (Mitrovic, obviously) on the unsuspecting and fragile centre-back pairing, especially with the latest French winger Flo-ing magnificently after giving the Cobblers a shoeing.

Whether we go with Flo, Ayo, Oboe or Rolo, we know that if anything of any quality is stuck into the box then the big Serb will get his nut on it (whether that is the ball or the opposition).

It was also pleasing to see De Jong get through the midweek friendly, and score, because I think he is just the type of player to unlock the Arsenal defence.

The best thing about our squad right now is the proliferation of options.  In the past, the opposition manager could pretty much guess the team and system we’d play because we only had one player for each position, pretty much, but now, now we can spring a few surprises.

Not as many as Danny Blind, but at least we can now all agree that Vernon Anita has turned a corner, and well done to him too.  Also, and it might not be a popular comment, but it is great to see Steven Taylor playing well again.  He and Colo were magic last week, and I suspect he will be the unfortunate absentee from the defence this week, but having competition for the centre back positions is a real boon.

Speaking of which, I was delighted that Willo scored midweek, I really hope he realises that although he may not be admired for his playing ability, his hard work and dedication is appreciated, I don’t buy the ‘sent off on purpose’ bullshit.  Having said that, I am glad we have other options in his position…

So, having waffled uninterestingly for a couple of paragraphs, I’ll get to the point.

I really like the periscope stuff the club are doing at the moment.  Being able to tune in and watch live footage of the team warming up and starting training is a complete 180 degree turnaround from the secretive way things used to be carried out.  It is fascinating too.

st james park

You can really get an idea of the personalities we have at the club.  Mitro argues and complains constantly, Colback gets on with it, Obertan isn’t sure what’s happening and the new boy keeps playing with his hair.

Better still is hearing Arnold Schwarzenegger taking the training sessions, at least I think that’s who it is…it might be Alessandro Schoenmaker.  Either way, it is a reassuring voice, coupled with Paul Simpson and Mr McClaren keeping an eye on things, the former shaking player’s hands and generally excelling with his man-management.

Things like that give me confidence that the guy knows what he is doing, it’s what Bobby would have done.  Speaking of which, there was a slightly mixed response to the video released by the club containing (part of) a quote from the great man (Bobby, not Steve).  It is a stirring and emotionally moving piece of editing, but as I think Mark Edwards pointed out, missing some crucial points about the owners of the club etc…

Anyway, I digressed again.  Arsenal.  We’ll beat them.  I really believe we will beat them.  2-0.

I can’t wait to get back in the stadio sanjaminico and suck in what will hopefully be an exuberant and supportive atmosphere while being impressed by the attacking football on the pitch, and whether we win, draw or lose, knowing the team have done everything they can to try to win the match.

Howay the lads!!

P.S I’ve been wondering how many of those fans who packed in their season tickets have now bought new ones, bought individual tickets to matches, or watched on the telly?

By the way, if you did pack it in, and now want to support the team again, there’s absolutely no shame in doing so.  You won’t hear any criticism from me, just a hearty ‘welcome back!’ #bringbackthenoise

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