We have a whole lot of newcomers to the blog this season. Welcome! For those of you just joining us, or even if you've been here a while, a reminder: we have a couple simple rules as far as match previews and game threads go.
First, it is against SBN and TSF rules to advertise or link to illegal broadcast streams. For every match, we will provide legal broadcasting information; if legal means do not work for you, please do not mention where you found the match, either directly or obliquely.
First-and-a-half: The Premier League says it is going to crack down on people posting animated gifs/vines/instagrams/whatever of goals and game events. So maybe don't do that any more, which sucks.
The second rule is: be excellent to each other. Game threads can get heated, and that's fine; we're a lot more lax in our policing of game threads, because game thread emotion is a thing. We just ask that you don't call people names or attack people, which is never acceptable.
Also, swearing is cool here, motherfuckers. See what I did there? Shit!
NOW ON TO YOUR REGULARLY SCHEDULED PREVIEW!
As of today, Arsenal are top of the table, as they are at the start of every season. Good thing there's not an Aardvark FC in the Premier League, eh? Get it? Aardvark...alphabetical...Hello? Is this thing on?
As you can see, unlike Arsenal, I'm still rounding into ready-for-the-season form. Arsenal, though, are coming off a nice, tidy 3-0 win in the Community Salad Plate, which as a predictor for the season means nothing (David Moyes won it last year), but as a little confidence boost has to be a nice launching pad into the first proper game of the season.
Unlike the last few seasons, Arsenal's dealings are mostly done (there's still one position that some fans want to see a player brought in for, but I can't for the life of me remember what it is), they've all had most of a preseason to prepare together, and overall I think we're all hoping for a much better start to the season than last year.
If pre-Wenger was Arsenal 1.0, Wenger's early years through 2005 were Arsenal 2.0, and the TROPHY DROUGHT years were Arsenal 3.0, we're about to embark on Arsenal 4.0 - flush with cash, ready to challenge for titles, and in a fantastic position to keep both of those statements true for a good long while.
New boys Alexis Sanchez, Calum Chambers, and Mathieu Debuchy will all start, presumably, while the Germans rest their World Cup-winning laurels for another couple weeks. Kos is carrying a minor knock and faces a late fitness test, but otherwise the cast of characters is pretty much set.
Crystal Palace, meanwhile...wow. Tony Pulis fell out with the board over transfer funds yesterday, and is now gone, so Palace will be coached by assistant manager Keith Millen while the club look for a new boss.
Palace finished 11th last season, and this is exactly the kind of game Arsenal don't want to make a habit of dropping points in; on paper, this should be pretty straightforward, but how straightforward it is will give us a few clues as to how Arsenal will work this season.
So. No more talking, no more projecting what the team might look like, no more stressing over transfers - time to see Arsenal 4.0 in action.