Morning all.

The penultimate fixture of the season is here, an away match against Nottingham Forest who are not yet 100% sure of Premier League survival. In other words, they need a win. I read that Forest brought in 29 new players this season which is staggering really. Steve Cooper looked on the brink of being sacked not long ago when his team couldn’t buy a win but rather than take the easy option, the club gave him a new contract which was/is a clear sign of belief in him. Patience is needed when a manager has brought in many players of his choice, something we’ve seen at Arsenal really. Mikel Arteta had his struggles not that long ago but like Cooper, he signed a new contract at Arsenal which sent out a message to all of us. Arsenal’s plan really is long term and Arteta is the man to deliver it.

The Spaniard hasn’t had the luxury of signing 29 new players in one year, not that I really believe those kind of numbers solve anything, but the Arsenal board have certainly backed him since he took over from Unai Emery. Another summer transfer window looms large and it’s an important one, possibly the most important one after coming so close to winning the League. I really like this from Arteta:

I think everybody would describe the situation (our season) with different words. But probably the same people who thought that we were going to finish sixth or seventh in the season are now saying that finishing second would be a failure. You have all the answers in that.

Of course we’re all disappointed that we faded away a bit over the last few weeks, at least I know I am but those pundits etc who are saying we bottled it, failed or whatever other negative term they choose to throw our way, really should have a word with themselves because if anything, perhaps Mikel Arteta’s players have overachieved this season.

Anyway, back to today’s game – both clubs have a number of injuries ahead of tonight’s game but for us, both Martinelli and Zinchenko have joined the injury list so it’s about next season for both, as it is for Saliba, Tomiyasu and Elneny.

It’s about next season for all of us really although for the players who are fit, there’s still a job to do. There are fans to entertain and a responsibility to finish the season well.

Out of all the Arsenal headlines, this one caught my attention the most.

What a sweetie ‘Win’ is.

Mikel Arteta:

We always talk about family, and being connected. A big family like we are at the club, and I feel like we are a family, we need a dog to represent that family. I think there are still things at the club that can be done to connect with people. To be more caring with people, to show love. I carefully chose the dog and in my opinion it’s the perfect representative of who we are right now. Her name is Win, we all love winning and Win needs a lot of love. So the love for Win, that was basically the feeling. The reaction from the players and the staff has been incredible, she is one of us. She is going to be on this journey with us together. It’s something that changes your mood like this [clicks fingers]. She gives you all the love and suddenly you feel the energy of the place. It’s just beautiful and to me those things are very important.

I bet Win can run rings around Vieira on the training ground…..

Anyway, here’s the starting eleven for today’s match..