Pre Christmas, Arsenal were serious relegation candidates. Then on Boxing Day, Arsenal produced an excellent performance to stun Chelsea. The media too.
Remove the glaringly obvious errors made by officials pre and post Christmas and I’m convinced we’d have finished the season in one of the two main European Football spots. The loss at Wolves was down to two things I think. Arsenal’s inability to kill the game off in the first half followed by strange choices. Luiz for giving the ref a decision to make, the ref for making himself the post match talking point. I don’t know anyone who truly believed Luiz deserved to be sent off or should have been.
Fans have one of two options going into the new campaign. Dwell on the rubbish we saw pre Christmas or use the post Christmas stats as a reason for optimism. Our defensive record after Boxing Day was much better, third best in the PL I read. The results improved and if there was such a thing as a half season League table, we’d have been second. I know, there isn’t one so it’s irrelevant but it does show we got better as the season went on. Results wise that is and sometimes, after Arsenal have huffed and puffed their way through a game, it’s easy to forget that football is a game driven by results.
I’d like to think that as Mikel Arteta continues to add better, or different, and I think different is important, kind of players to the squad, the style of football will make better viewing. Personally, I find watching Man City boring but thoroughly enjoy watching a Leeds or Leicester City game. Invariably their games are fast and furious, end to end football. Watching a keeper release the ball early and with it creating the opportunity to attack the opposition at speed is what makes football great I think. Isn’t that the very same kind of football which brought Arsene Wenger so much success?
I don’t think Arsenal are that far off having a squad similar to the ones which Arsene won trophies with. Certainly like for like style of players. Before anyone slaps me down for my opinion, I did say in style, not quality. There’ll never be another back five, six including Cole, similar to the one Arsene inherited and then added to with Lauren, Sol Campbell and Toure. There’ll never be another Petit or Vieira but in Partey we have an excellent midfielder who just needs a settled partner who’ll allow him the freedom to attack in a way Petit did for Vieira. There’ll never be another Gilberto, Henry, Wrighty or Bergkamp but we do have ESR, Saka and Pepe. Balogun too who might just take to PL football like a duck to water.
Rob Holding seems to be the first choice central defender now with one Mari or Gabriel being his partner. Will Saliba come back to the club, or will he be sold? If rumours on NN about Arsenal being in talks for Edmond Tapsoba are true, perhaps he’ll be sold.
That’s the thing with Arsenal right now, barring a ‘handful’ of players, I’d imagine the club would be open to selling anyone if the right offer is made. As a friend once said to me, it’s not always about who leaves the club, it’s about who joins the club and I think that’s often true.
Certainly would be in the case of Willian if he really does want a return to Chelsea.
See you in the comments.