Thursday, 10 May 2012
It's been a while huh? My last post was all the way back in March when we beat Liverpool at Anfield. Since then Arsenal have been on quite the journey. We've been up, we've been down, we've bought Podolski, we've had our new home kit unveiled, we blew the chance to secure 3rd place only to get another opportunity a day later when our closest challengers failed to pounce. So now it all boils down to one final game. Sunday 13th May at The Hawthorns against Roy Hodgson's West Bromwich Albion in his final game in charge before he vacates for the England job. Win this match and Champions League football is guaranteed for next season and in all honesty, finishing in 3rd would be considered a good season when you consider how awful Arsenal have been at times this campaign. They've been wonderful at times too, particularly our irrepressible captain (pictured above), but the majority of Arsenal fans would agree that this hasn't been one of our better seasons (although it's definitely had it's moments). So here are some of my thoughts on the state of the club and all things Arsenal.
It's stating the obvious but still needs to be stressed: we must beat West Brom on Sunday. I can't bear the thought of leaving our position in the hands of Newcastle, Spurs and Chelsea and praying they all lose their final games. If we win, we're in and that's all there is to it. If Arsenal can't beat West Brom, then they don't really deserve 3rd place and that's the honest truth. This squad is more than capable of beating the Baggies but we've been tripped up a couple of times there in the past. It's been said a few times lately but the team really do need to treat this game like a cup final. After the horror show that was Norwich last weekend, the focus must be on executing the basics and fundamentals, limiting mistakes and taking our chances. The pressure will be on van Persie to win this final game but I'd like to see the squad help him out a bit. Despite how amazing he's been this year, we've been far too reliant on his striking prowess and its clear the rest of the team haven't scored enough goals. I'd have an enormous grin on my face if Gervinho and Chamakh popped up with a couple of late goals on Sunday, but it'll never happen.
On the subject of van Persie, the club sound confident that we can sign the captain to a new deal and that we won't have to suffer another awful summer of watching our talisman leave for pastures new. I feel pretty confident he won't leave for Man City or Juventus and that he'll remain our captain for a bit longer. I'd love to say he'd stay at Arsenal for the rest of his career but in today's game you just can't tell. Money talks and it often speaks louder than loyalty. Still, van Persie has always come across as sincere and honest and I believe him when he says he wants to stay at the club for many more years to come. If we can get his signature down before the Euros, I'll be a very happy Gooner.
It's been clear for a while now that van Persie needs some support up front because we can't expect the guy to carry us in every single game. Plus, if the worst happens and the captain goes down with an injury, we really have no one else to replace him up front. So the news that the Podolski signing has been wrapped up before the season has even finished is good news. The experienced German international is in the prime of his career and will only be 27 once the 2012/13 season begins. He's a very good signing and can play up front or out on the left as part of the front trio we like to use so much. Here's hoping he adapts to life in England quickly and can become a dangerous part of our attack. There's been a lot of rumours about the young French midfielder Yann M'Vila and a possible move to Arsenal from Rennes. He'd be a great addition to the team but he will undoubtedly cost a lot of money and certainly more than Arsenal will probably be willing to pay. We already have Song in that position, who I'd hate to replace, even with a player of M'Vila's calibre. Regardless, M'Vila will be one to watch next month at Euro 2012, especially if he could become a potential Arsenal player later in the summer.
Anyway, I'll leave it there for now. I'll be working on Sunday so will miss the West Brom game live, but I'll be keeping an eye on the scoreline the entire afternoon. Keep your eyes peeled for a possible Euro 2012 preview I'm planning too.
Thanks for reading.