I’m trying to focus on my pre-season preparations.
Four minutes before half-time Everton thought they’d equalised after Kone’s deflected shot only to see the linesman’s flag raised for offside after a Luke Garbutt free-kick that Steven Naismith had headed onto the bar. Until perhaps now.
However, the FA Cup holders should be at full strength when they face Premier League rivals Everton in front of what is expected to be a sell-out crowd at the 55,000-capacity National Stadium.
Walcott has become Arsenal’s longest-serving player since Abou Diaby left at the end of last season, and anxious to make up for time lost to a serious knee injury in the last 18 months.
Arsenal had easily beaten a Singapore Select XI to reach the finals, while Everton needed penalties to reach the final.
“You don’t want to dwell on it. I won’t let that delay the way I’m going to be playing this season”. Walcott will clearly move across the attacking positions and similar flexibility will be demanded from Danny Welbeck, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Tomas Rosicky and, for certain tactical scenarios, perhaps even Mathieu Flamini, Mesut Ozil and Mikel Arteta. It is important for players to re-acclimatize themselves with the competition and a lot of teams have been travelling far and wide to get their players prepared and Arsenal are no different.
And Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger praised his side for the part they played in what he labelled “a great advert for the Premier League“.
After one foul too many, the Everton boss confronted referee Craig Pawson and urged him to remind the opposition that this was still a friendly. This was particularly remarkable due to Arsenal having no recognised defensive midfielder on the pitch until Francis Coquelin came on.
He needs confidence, and should be played further forward where he can express himself and not have to worry so much about the dirty work that he’s not cut out for. Everton have also reportedly rejected an offer from Chelsea for young defender John Stones, while Martinez has denied making a bid for Manchester United’s Jonny Evans.
But he says he is willing to play hard ball and kick-off the new season without agreeing new terms.
I don’t think either Moyes or Martinez have quite known what to do with him and England’s manager seems just as bemused. That is not the result of a few warped set of judgments but rather the natural consequence of there being quotas about home-grown players in what is the richest league in any case.