Every year I try to take a step back and form an objective opinion on the season that has just finished for Arsenal and also form some expectations for the season ahead.
This year has been particularly difficult for me. I will make no secret about the fact that I am a firm supporter of Arsene Wenger and have been through the recent, relatively turbulent years. However, even I have to start asking myself some serious questions about what I am expecting this season.
Let me be clear, I have no time for ‘fans’ protesting during games and being counter productive at times when our team needs support the most. Let me also be clear that I am not suggesting that fans should get fed garbage and like the taste of it… It’s just that there are ways & times to do things and what I saw last season was not how to treat the manager that has, through his trail blazing management, set our expectations so high.
For the first time, I am at a crossroads in terms of the manager. I am not necessarily in the camp that thinks we should have walked the league last year because Leicester City won it. If it was that easy, why did everyone else also not walk it?… Our neighbours were hailed as a magnificent outfit who are showing the way forward with high tempo play, the next big thing in terms of manager, blah blah blah… We finished above them… Again! That is no measure of success, of course, but should provide some context. There’s no doubt that it was a missed opportunity for us but the level of criticism is unbalanced in my opinion and the inconvenient truth that we finished second is forgotten.
I always try to remain optimistic and take a view at the end of the season. This year, I have concluded that I have to see a real level of intent before the season starts and up to the close of the transfer window. There are plenty of examples proving that throwing money at the problem is not the solution, however there are clear gaps in terms of positions that need addressing… Notably a holding midfielder and a striker operating at a higher level than that of our current crop.
If that statement of intent isn’t forthcoming, then unfortunately it will be with a heavy heart that I will finally have to admit that this year should be the final one for the great man.
The early signs are promising… Granit Xhaka was delivered almost immediately and although the attempt to get Vardy ended with him staying put, at least the intention was there. I’m undecided as to whether he would have actually fitted in but £20m for a striker that scored so many goals in the Premier League last year represented good value.
So that intent that I mentioned seems to be there… If it continues, I will of course be right behind the team and the manager until the end of next season when we can take stock and re-evaluate. If it is another pre-season with only one signing and another season where we haven’t given ourselves the best chance to succeed, then it will unfortunately be, in my mind at least, the end of an era.
Article by ‘LeProf knows more than you‘.