The last good blog of the year and a small Spanish town

Good morning,

it’s an odd Monday given that tonight is New Year’s Eve and we’ve got a game against Southampton tomorrow. We don’t seem to have much in the way of team news for that particular game but it didn’t look as if we picked up any problems against Newcastle so fingers crossed we go into the game with the same relatively clean bill of health.

The fact that we played on Saturday means there’s bound to be some measure of rotation although it must be tempting for the manager to stick with the same side that so comprehensively beat Pardew’s team (hahaha). Olivier Giroud’s two goals will surely have given him some pause for thought but Walcott’s hat-trick will surely mean another start up front, this time against his former club.

And it’s interesting, as reports come in that Demba Ba is tickling Chelsea’s fancy, that Arsene Wenger has compared the two, saying:

He is a similar type to Giroud and you will see Giroud develop into that kind of player.

Which, I suppose, rules us out of a move for him, which is disappointing in one way and understandable in another. If we do add another striker – and I sincerely hope we do – then perhaps adding a bit of variety to the squad is the way to go. That said, Ba is a very impressive player and would add a lot to our squad, but he’s not the only striker in the world and I’m told we do have our eyes trained on a couple of players.

What I also hope is that Theo Walcott’s recent performance doesn’t mean we turn around and say our striking deficiency is sorted. If Saturday’s game against Newcastle showed us anything it’s that with two or three decent additions this squad would be hugely improved and far more competitive. The win was fantastic, the goals were great, but let’s not forget it’s the same group if players that couldn’t perform against the likes of Swansea, Norwich or Manchester United.

There are issues with squad depth which have to be addressed and a couple of decent performances from a guy with 6 months left on his contract doesn’t change that. And of course there is that elephant in the room every time Walcott is discussed. I have no desire to go over it again but making the assumption that he’s going to stay would be a dangerous one and we have to work around that.

And it’s not just up front other, with Johan Djourou seemingly on his way out of the club we may well need a signing, or a promotion (Ignasi Miquel), at the back to prevent more Squillaci when we inevitably pick up some injuries, and a midfielder with some physical presence wouldn’t go amiss either. Arsene said he was going to be busy, let’s hope that’s the case. The window opens tomorrow, we ought be to queuing overnight like those mad people who take tents and deckchairs to get the first bargains of the January sales.

Other than that it’s pretty quiet but as it’s the end of another calendar year it’s normal to look back and pick some moments that stood out. While it hasn’t exactly been vintage, on reflection there are some that are etched in my brain.

Sagna’s header – at 2-0 down against Sp*rs his ‘fuck you, I am not losing this game’ header signaled a turnaround in the game, and in our season, and was the start of:

Sp*rs hilarious collapse – we’ll mind the gap all right, mind it right in your stupid faces. It went right to the wire though and we saw:

Kieran Gibbs late tackle – against West Brom on the final day of the season which led to:

Arsene Wenger clinging to Pat Rice – desperation, fear, anxiety, helplessness, all the things we were feeling watching that game.

Pat’s farewell lift – it was only right and proper that a man who had given so much to the club got to go out on a day when we managed to qualify for the Champions League. 3rd place is not a trophy but it felt good that day, nobody can deny it.

What else? Arteta’s goal against Man City at the end of a great performance last season which showed that if this team could find consistency they’re a match for anyone on their day? The long awaited return of Jack Wilshere? Per’s first goal for the club as we beat Sp*rs 5-2, again?! The signing of Santi Cazorla?

What stood out for you? Have a yap about in the arses, and while there have been moments we want to forget, above all else it’s worth remembering the good times, the beers you had with your mates, and all the good things that being a supporter of this club brings.

Whatever you do tonight, have fun, and I wish you and yours a very happy, peaceful and successful 2013. Until next year!

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