It feels like I say the same thing every year. I'm looking forward to watching Arsenal play another season in the Premier League and Champions League. But I know they are highly unlikely to win either competition. Despite a growing minority voicing their concerns, Arsene Wenger does not appear to be learning from his mistakes.
Yet again, we have an injury crisis in defence. Our best defender is recovering from the Euros, and our captain is also out for months with an injury. We've known this for a while. Arsene hasn't moved quickly or early to address this problem, and now Gabriel has picked up an injury. For the first match of the season, later this afternoon, either two inexperienced defenders will play together or someone will be playing out of position. Not ideal against what could be a tough opposition.
We're also lacking an experienced striker. With our only fit striker also recovering from the Euros, we don't have anyone up front (as Welbeck picked up an unfortunate injury months ago, probably ruling him out until 2017). We'll probably play Sanchez up there, out of position. Arsene will talk about how Walcott can play up front, but in a decade at the club he's yet to convince many fans and he doesn't seem to know his best position. I think we've given him every chance, but I would happily sell him for the right price on the basis we bring in a better right winger first.
It's not like we're short of money. Arsene has more money in the bank than other Premier League clubs. I'm not one to spend money for the sake of spending money, but when we clearly need a couple of top players and we have the money to make it happen, there's presumably two main reasons why it won't happen: Wenger doesn't want to pay an inflated price even for the right player; or he's approached the players and they don't want to play for him or a club that struggles to win trophies.
His quotes may be out of context, but when you hear him say "If every time you don’t win you throw everything out, it is not the best way to win."
I can't help think he's trying to annoy the fans. We're not asking for him to throw the baby out with the bathwater. We don't want "20 new players". We want you to buy a few better ones (and sell off a few that haven't progressed). Better ones in positions we know we lack depth. That depth, particularly if the players have different skills, can allow Arsene to be tactically adept. He could even try different tactics with his current squad, just to make Arsenal less predictable.
Will we see any new signings before the transfer window closes? Will Arsene change formation for different oppositions? Will he do anything differently to last season? All these questions will be answered over the coming months, but I'm not feeling very optimistic right now.
We might get a new defender. But I suspect we'll still pass the ball around the opposition's box and lose from counter attacks and set pieces. Substitutions will probably occur around the 70th minute. Same old Arsenal. Same old Arsene. I hope this season he does something different and pleasantly surprises me.