On a day when Manchester United claimed a – I’m cringing as I say this – deserved tenth Premiership crown Arsenal’s youngsters did their club proud by securing a 1-0 win against Sunderland at the Stadium of Light.
Whilst I did not see get to see the game, something which seemed consistent among the Arsenal blogging community due to the understandable media focus on United and Chelsea, I thought I’d comment on the result and the final outcome of the season as whole from past/present/future perspective. As always, let me know what you think.
The win over Sunderland brought Arsenal’s points total for the season up to 83, 17 higher than last season’s effort. Over the course of a 38-game season that is a substantial improvement. Given that the exit of Thierry Henry in the summer lead to an almost universal expectation that Arsenal would fall out of the top four in 2007-08 you have to say that 3rd place and improvement of 17 points is a huge sign of the strides that this squad have made over the past year.
In Cesc Fabregas Arsenal have one of the world’s most sought after players; hard-working, creative and 100% dedicated to the Arsenal cause. Nearly every football observer will point to the Spaniard as the club’s most important player over the entire campaign but the likes of Emmanuel Adebayor, William Gallas and even Eduardo da Silva all took turns at being the most important performer at Arsenal this season.
Add to that the ultra-consistency of guys like Bacary Sagna, Gael Clichy and Manuel Almunia and the eventual return to action of Tomas Rosicky and Robin van Persie and this is a group of players that is not reliant on one or two to carry the load.
Mathieu Flamini is gone, Alex Hleb may be following him, but there is little doubt that the future still remains bright for the club. Speculation linking Hatem Ben Arfa with a move to the club is a huge plus, as are Arsene Wenger’s recent comments regarding the need to bring in a strong central defender and creative playmaker to improve the squad for next season.
Add those signings with the undoubted threat that Theo Walcott will pose from day one of the next season, the return of Carlos Vela from Spain and the emergence of Alex Song as a regular first teamer and there is definitely reason to be optimistic about improving on this season’s result.
Wenger knows what he wants
Speaking of the future, there was some unusually candid transfer news from the manager overnight. Obviously wanting to minimise the media predicting the downfall of Arsenal after the exit of Flamini and the speculation surrounding Hleb leaving, Wenger has reassured the supporters of the club that he knows what he wants and is very close to getting it.
“I know what I want and I am very confident. I hope to turn that around in the next two or three weeks. But the fans should be reassured by what they see.”
“It would be better to buy someone who has played in England because they are less risky. But it costs more money if they are from the Premier League, so maybe I will try to do both.”
Based on the manager’s comments I can see Ben Arfa as well Nico Kranjcar coming in. Gareth Barry is probably an outside chance as is Samir Nasri, while I’ll still keep my fingers crossed that Diego comes in. Defensively I would be looking at someone like Christoph Metzelder but as no central defenders have really been linked it’s hard to say who Wenger might have his eyes on.
I think the key is that Wenger gets moving in the transfer market sooner rather than later and he seems to be doing that. I get the feeling it’s going to be an exciting few weeks before Euro 2008 kicks off.
What do you think?
Have your say on Arsenal’s final day or the transfer speculation by leaving a comment.