a 1-0 win over Sunderland capped our season yesterday. Due to the fight for the title and battle to avoid relegation it was impossible to find anywhere to see our game. Instead I and the Man from East Lower had to endure a pub full of United fans being very happy. I would say we clung to each other for comfort and warmth but that would be a total lie. It was a lovely day in Dublin yesterday and we clung to each other simply because we wanted to. That’s also a lie. There was no clinging.
Our goal came courtesy of Theo Walcott after a lovely pass from Gilberto – clip here – while youngster Mark Randall had a goal ruled out for offside. From the brief highlights I saw on Match of the Day he can feel somewhat aggrieved at the decision.
Beyond that I can’t tell you very much about the game at all. What I do know is that we finished on 83 points, just 4 behind winners Manchester United, and you have to credit the players and the manager for that. It’s very difficult to step back and look at it objectively, the pain of losing a title I think we should have won is still quite brutal, but you can’t say we need wholesale changes when we’ve amassed such a points total.
No doubt some things can be improved but it’s not the disaster some people might suggest. You can’t help but think back to that sequence against Birmingham (haha), Boro, Wigan and Villa. Wins against the first three, which we were more than capable of, would have seen us win by the league by two points, despite the defeats against United and Chelsea. And that’s how close it was. A season of what might have been but one from which I hope we’ll learn and come back stronger. Afterwards Arsene said:
There was very little difference between the three teams who fought for the title. Man United finish with 87, Chelsea 85 and we finished with 83. There is disappointment. We don’t fight and work as hard as we did all season to finish third. But there is hope for the future if you can make 83 points with such a young side.
What the ‘young side’, which now has plenty of experience, really needs is proper strengthening this summer. Add quality to this group of players, provide competition for places, and there’s no reason why this season’s 83 points can’t be added to. If we get more than 83 points next season we’ll be champions, in my opinion. We’ve made a significant improvement this time around, 15 points is not inconsiderable, and at the start of the season nobody was expecting us to challenge for the title at all. We can’t overlook that, hard as it is. I think had we been trailing just behind most of the season people’s outlook would be slightly different, perhaps a bit more understanding – that we managed to lose a 5 point lead is what leaves the bad taste in the mouth.
But fuck it, I don’t want to make this a miserable post. I thought some of the football we played was fantastic to watch, and I’m not suggesting for a second that pretty football makes up for the lack of trophies, but there was a great deal to enjoy about this campaign. Cesc’s early season screamers, Adebayor’s emergence as a top player, the arrival of Theo, Bacary Sagna and Gael Clichy proving themselves the best full backs in the league, the win in Milan, Emmanuel Eboue … erm … but you know what I mean.
All we can do now is get ourselves through the summer and look forward to doing battle with the forces of evil next season. And they are evil. Truly, despicably, unspeakably evil. How we combat them and with which personnel remains to be seen, but that is blog fodder for the weeks and months ahead.
In other news Tomas Rosicky says he is enduring the worst time of his career. He’s set to undergo surgery for the complaint that has ruled him out since January and even then there’s no guarantee it’s going to fix the problem. While the fact that he was injured was no real surprise the seriousness of his complaint certainly was, his dodgy hamstrings were problematic rather than career threatening. Fingers crossed he can get over this.
And that’s about all the Arsenal news there is. As you’ll probably have gathered by now Arseblog has moved so you can update your bookmarks to http://arseblog.oleole.com
Please take some time to look around the OleOle site, the Arseblog profile is here, everything else should be working as it was before, some parts have had a lick of paint (like the ANR section), but if you see anything that looks wrong or doesn’t quite operate the way it used to please let me know – email to blogger @ arseblog.com
Cheers to David and Denis for all their hard work in helping the move go so smoothly. I know there was some arses and forum downtime but that’s inevitable when trying to shift a site the size of Arseblog. Hopefully there weren’t too many withdrawal symptoms and as I said, everything should be back up and running now.
So, another season over. It flew by, didn’t it? There are now approximately 100 days until the first game of next season. Let the countdown begin.