Columnists 3.8.2017 04:01 pm

New season set to deliver bundles of joy

Tamlyn Patterson

Tamlyn Patterson

Other women my age equate nine months with swollen feet, mood swings and ghastly cravings.

Thankfully I’ve made peace with the fact that I won’t be having any children of my own, but that doesn’t mean I’m free. My own kind of odyssey starts in just over a week from now.

Late nights, dark rings under my eyes and weekend recording schedules all come into play – welcome to the 2017/18 Premier League and working night shift at a daily newspaper. The last term came to an end just less than three months ago, May 21 to be exact, with Chelsea taking top honours for the sixth time. Not much of a surprise obviously, kind of like knowing the gender of one’s offspring well in advance.

Arsenal on the other hand, ended fifth by a single point and missed out on Champions League qualification for the first time in 21 years. It’s kind of like inheriting that one dreaded feature like a huge schnoz that requires drastic measures to fix. But over the years, being a supporter of any team, you kind of get used to what you’ve being blessed with (or cursed with) and making peace with it all is the only way forward.

The hope will never die and with a new season about to get under way, the aspirations are at an all-time high. Could this be our season? – is a question mulling around in every fan’s mind. Kicking things off next Friday are the Gunners and the Foxes, the 2015/16 champions.

All eyes will be on the latest addition to the nursery, Alexandre Lacazette. Daddy Arsene Wenger has already warned that the 26-yearold Frenchman might need some time to adapt to English conditions. Signs are however promising after the £52 million signing scored in his first appearance at the Emirates last Saturday, helping his new team secure the pre-season Emirates Cup.

The magnitude of his new crib hasn’t gone unacknowledged. “I felt that I was entering a new world. In terms of the players, the technical staff, the football … everything is different. That’s what I was looking for. It is I who needs to adapt as soon as possible,” said the former Lyon player, their top scorer for four seasons.

Despite a 3-0 drubbing against London rivals Chelsea during their pre-season tour in China, things seem to be going well for Arsenal. But there is no time to muck about with the Community Shield set to be handed out on Sunday: the Premier League title holders versus the FA Cup winners.

Then of course, there’s the whole Fantasy League thing. Some eager colleagues have chosen their starting line-ups weeks in advance. But with no actual prize on the line, and only bragging rights on offer, I don’t know if it’s worth all the effort. Talk about a thankless, full-time job … like mommying a bunch of overgrown, spoilt brats.

All things said and done, there isn’t a soccer fan out there not champing at the bit in anticipation of the new adventure, regardless of the outcome in just over nine months from now. As I sit back and enjoy my last few days of freedom, I can only wonder what’s worse than being an avid Arsenal fan … going into labour perhaps?

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