Hello and welcome to this week’s round-up.
First up this week is the tragic end to a season we were all just getting into. We saw the introduction of a new attacking front in the shape of Santi, Giroud and Podolski and while there were teething problems, the team found its stride and finished the season on an impressive run of results, by any measure. In brief, we started the season in a very uptight and defence-focused fashion. It was working from a defensive point of view but the balance was wrong. Despite many good performances, our forwards were in at the deep end and struggling to find each other. In these tougher times, Theo Walcott can take a lot of credit for turning up with some vital goals. We climbed the table but were still off the pace with our rivals. It took the week of weeks to turn our season around and, despite only winning one of three huge games, it seemed to be the slap in the chops that the players needed. We lost to Bayern at home, we lost to them, and we went and beat Bayern in Munich. We were out of the Champions League but we took from it the confidence to believe. Sixteen unbeaten games later and we’re dining at the top table for another season.
37 games in and we were just a point above the spuds and and two behind the chavs. We had to go to Newcastle and the game was as tense as any of the scoreless draws from early in the season. The passing and movement were restricted by fear of failure and creativity was the ultimate casualty. Mikel Arteta had started the game but didn’t see out the first half due to injury. For a moment, if you forgot the crushing weight of history supporting the contrary, you might have thought that Champions League football would be beyond us. Thoughts like these, of course, will pass and be proven as nothing more than irrational nonsense. When Laurent Koscielny decides it’s time to qualify, we qualify. Kos scored with an audacious volley which managed to make the keeper look a bit of a tit on his last day in the job. Then came a deluge of fuel for the fire that is Tottnum’s never-ending embarrassment. Word went out across White Hart Lane that we had conceded and Michael Dawson was on his knees. Daniel Levy had tears in his eyes. These are moments to savour. You grandchildren will one day turn to you and say ‘Tell us the one about the time Newcastle equalised on the last day’. As expected by most, all three contenders for the two qualification spots won their games. So, by a point, we have achieved the goal which may have once been the minimum requirement but became an apparently insurmountable task. The players who had been labelled as flops did what they could to directly answer their critics by celebrating in the tiniest of pants. This is not something of which we approve, over here at the Round-Up HQ. Certain staff members have spoken of feelings of inadequacy.
Several players have been speaking about their ambitions for next season. Olivier Giroud’s desire to progress further in Europe, coupled with Theo’s desire to push for domestic success, are just harmonies over a symphony of positivity and ambition coming out of the club. Even the most pessimistic fan can only find disgruntlement in which of the world’s best strikers we may sign. Again, I don’t like to speculate on baseless rumours but I couldn’t resist this one. There is talk that this will be the first transfer in which we don’t hear that Arsene Wenger is a “long-time-admirer” of Solomon Kalou. We haven’t won a trophy since those lies were published this potential non-link should be seen as the clearest sign yet that Arsenal are ready to push for glory next season.
Arsene Wenger spoke this week about Santi Cazorla’s season and was very clear in his views that he should have been selected in the Premier League team of the season. Wenger’s innocence on the matter is, while endearing, extremely naive. If Santi was to be selected, then Mikel Arteta and other Arsenal players would also expect to be considered. Santi represents the thin end of the wedge. You let one in, before you know it, the Premier League XI are wearing red with white sleeves for convenience.
And finally, the enigmatic little genius that is Andrei Arshavin has bid farewell to the club. As a free agent, the Russian will be free sign for any club lucky enough to catch his eye. Not everybody liked Arshavin, but then not everybody likes The Beatles or Fruit Pastilles. Some players work hard while others work smart and Andrei spent the majority of his career in column B. From his four goal thriller in Anfield to his delicate cross to set up Thierry’s goal against Leeds, Arshavin entertained and will always have a place in the hearts of many Arsenal fans. Good luck, little dude.
That’s all for this week, thanks for reading.
Up the Arsenal!