I was a real half-assed Arsenal fan for awhile. It wasn’t until I moved to New York in 2003, after graduating from WCU, that I became a “must see every match” kind of guy. I was working some shitty jobs and an unpaid internship, so I really had to stretch those bills. Luckily there were a handful of bars in Greenwich Village and the Lower East Side that catered towards the American and ex-pat Gonner, and most importantly, these watering holes offered the likes of Yuengling, Rheingold, and Brooklyn Lager for prices that I could afford.

And it was one hell of a season. Theirry Henry led the league in scoring, Jens Lehmann was masterful as keeper, we didn’t hate Ashely Cole yet, and guys like Patrick Vieira, Fredrik Ljungberg, and Dennis Bergkamp were still at the top of their games. The Invincibles. You may have heard of them.

Tomorrow begins a new season, one that could usher in another era of greatness…or could see the team fall flat onto their ass. Right now, I’m leaning towards the latter, but I’ll be quite happy to proven wrong. Their sights are set on the top 4, and anything else beyond that would be gravy.

Alex Song is likely peacing out to Barcelona and Robin van Persie was transferred to Manchester United for £22m. Replacing RVP, last year’s top scorer in the Premier League, will be hard.

Although three big names have entered the fold – Santi Cazorla (Real Mallorca, £16.5m), Olivier Giroud (Montpellier, £12m), Lukas Podolski (Cologne, £11.9m) – the jury is still out on whether they can play well on one of the top clubs in the top league in the world. At least one of them needs to come up big, and right away, and that’s not even considering the fact that Theo Walcott finally needs to be the Theo with all of the potential that’s been talked about for years. In a way, he’s Arsenal’s Domonic Brown.

Finally, Jack Wilshere needs to return from the dead.

This could be a very fun season, or a very long one.

Arsenal open their season at the Emirates against Sunderland Saturday 08/18 at 10am eastern.

The Lineup:
Starters: Szczesny; Djourou, Vermaelen (captain), Mertesacker, Gibbs; Song, Ramsey, Arteta; Walcott, Podolski; Giroud.
Bench: Mannone, Diaby, Arshavin, Gervinho, Santos, Jenkinson, Cazorla
Injuries: Frimpong (hamstring), Rosicky (calf), Sagna (broken leg), Wilshere (ankle), Oxlade-Chamberlain (ankle)
Tests: Walcott (thigh), Koscielny (calf), Cazorla (probably will play)

P.S. Here are some of RVP’s top goals if you’d like to relive the glory.


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