It seems a ridiculous concept that 4th position in the league could cause such happiness for the Gooner faithful. However it wasn’t just 4th that we were able to celebrate yesterday, it was also St. Totteringhams Day. Arguably the best day of the year.
It wasn’t a remarkable performance yesterday from Arsenal. There were no spectacular 30yrd goals nor any incidents which left pundits and fans alike bawling in frustration. What we saw was a professional, albeit nervy performance from Arsenal. We played a tight game, not over-committing going forwards and did what was required to seal the three points and 4th.
Arsene said that there has been a great spirit in this squad and I cannot fault that analysis. When we lost to Spurs it asked an awful lot of questions about the quality of these players and they were not found wanting. It hasn’t always been extravagant, classy football but it is a results-based business and we got the results we needed. 11 games, 9 wins, 2 draws – not bad for a team in a negative spiral. Thank you AVB for that ill-judged comment which will have galvanised that shell-shocked Arsenal side.
Several Arsenal players have commented that it took a meeting between the Arsenal players to sort out our lack of cohesion and defensive frailties and it was a successful enterprise. It shouldn’t be rocket science and perhaps it should have happened sooner, but I am delighted that the players took the responsibility to sort it out themselves. The manager can only tell them what he wants them to do, during games they have to act on their own initiative and the players had to sort it out. Far too often we have conceded goals when we shouldn’t, we have dropped point and crashed out of the domestic cup competitions well before time.
Has it been a successful season? We have achieved the minimum requirement. We have reached the qualification stages of the Champions League and most importantly we have once again reminded Spurs that Arsenal are and will always be the Kings of North London. North London is Red.
I have to say, I like this new, mature, composed and determined Arsenal. The players have built a real platform to kick off from next season. We have to take the belief and confidence into next season and strengthen the squad further. Transfer rumours are flying around already and I really like the idea of Yaya Sanogo, so I hope some business can be concluded there. There have been mentions of him being injury prone, but a broken leg and a torn abductor in two years isn’t a sign of a injury prone player, just one that had a couple of untimely injuries, so lets hope we can sign the talented forward. 9 goals and one assist in 11 games this season speaks for itself, he can finish. If Amaury Bischoff was “a bit of a gamble”, I would suggest that Sanogo could be considered “a dead cert” and I would be delighted if we could convert the rumour into reality. Arsene has said we are in the advanced stages but nothing is completed yet, but perhaps this could be some early business concluded. Contracts generally roll over on the 1st June, so unless Sanogo has signed a pre-contract agreement, then don’t expect any announcement until then.
Most would argue that we need more than a striker, so I hope Arsene is already contacting clubs to start negotiations. We need to be sharp and our recruitment activities need to mirror last season which saw us complete early purchases for Giroud, Podolski and Cazorla. Importantly Arsene has said that the instability of previous seasons where players “were half in and half out” certainly affected the pre-season preparations, but there will be no such distraction this year, with the only notable speculation regarding Vermaelen, side-lined for much of the second half of this season due to the excellent form of Koscielny and the BFG and of course Bakary Sagna who only has a year left on his contract.
I would prefer if we could keep both, but if there is money to be made then I cannot see any reason why we couldn’t sell Sagna or Vermaelen provided sufficient replacements are promoted or purchased. Corporal Jenkinson is looking better and better, but he will need challenging in the same way that Gibbs has been forced to perform by the purchase of the excellent Monreal.
So much still to talk about following this season, but for now – it’s just great to be a Gooner.