This season has been a stark contrast to last. Last season our end of season collapse was becoming an “Arsenal thing”, and from the lofty heights of fighting for the league, we plummeted to fourth in the table.
This season however, we were 17th after 6 games and with 8 games to go, we’ve catapulted ourselves into 3rd. We’re now clear of both Sp*rs and Chelsea and we’re favourites for 3rd.
So what is better? A good start to the season and a faltering end? Or a bad start and a good ending? Well, the real answer is neither… a good start and a good end are what we need. But that’s cheating, because it wasn’t one of the choices! In reality it matters where you are in the moment in time, where do you enjoy the success – at the beginning means you have hope for the season, but at the end means you are in the “here and now”.
We’re in the “here and now”, now… and it’s good. 7 wins out of 7, who can ask for more? Well, 15 out of 15 (i.e. win the next 8)… but in reality, it’s a good feeling to be finishing so well. The team are starting to gel very positively and the future seems bright.
Le Boss knows the difference first hand between third and fourth…
“We have come through a very difficult period. We have learnt from that and must keep our feet on the ground and focus on the next game. It makes a massive difference [to finish in third] because fourth place is a qualifier and third place is really the Champions League. I would prefer not [to have to qualify], as would everybody, but if we have to do it, we do it. And don’t forget, it’s after the Euros so we might not have all of our players.”
I’ve definitely enjoyed the return of Rosicky – the emergence of young Oxlade Chamerlain – and the odd defying return to form of Theo Walcott. It’s amazing, three players who are really on top of their game. Mikel Arteta has slotted into midfield as if he has been at the Arsenal all his life.
PS, Happy Birthday Mikel!!
The future holds what we want it to. We’ve been in this position before. A good end to the season, a hope that we may strengthen in summer. Rumours of signings already, murmurs from the manager about next season.
Will it really be any different? Who knows. But, we do have an excellent platform to move ahead with. Our first XI is really something special now – even the back five. And with Wilshere to come back in too, we’ll be even stronger. So what do we need to do in summer?
Well… first of all, get rid of dead wood. Players like Almunia, Squillaci, Chamakh and sorry to say it, but Benayoun, are a little past it in terms of playing for the Arsenal. Secondly, improve the strength in depth. Players like Park Chu Young, Chamakh etc, just don’t cut it. If a player like Van Persie or Song gets injured then we are left with gaping holes, poor players coming in and an unbalanced team.
Arsene made one vital statement yesterday:
“We want Podolski here and if we can find world-class players, we will.”
The potential signing of Podolski is a step in the right direction, for sure; but we do not need to stop there. Back up for Song, back up for the central defensive area, a better goalkeeper in case Szcznesy gets injured and a world class winger… and hey presto, you’ve got yourself a title winning, champions league winning team.
All that is left to say is “Happy Monday”… a week off for the team, time to relax and enjoy…