It is always good to have something to play for and it has been a long time since Arsenal approached the end of a Premier League season in a position where the results do not really matter. We have seen from teams in mid-table however, when they are safe from relegation but with no chance of Europe, how players can drop their intensity and the results often falter accordingly.
So it is a good thing for Arsene Wenger that his players have good reasons to keep up their performance levels. Because the Frenchman feels that a strong finish to this current season will have a knock-on effect for the next season, as explained in an Arsenal.com report, when we are all hoping and expecting to make a real tilt for the title.
The Arsenal boss said, “That’s our challenge, to finish well and take that strength into the next season. The start of the season is linked with belief as well. We can just strengthen the belief by finishing well.
“Manchester City had ups and downs and started stronger than us, so they were a long time in front of us. Manchester United are a bit like Arsenal, they had a slow start and became stronger in the second part of the season.
“I think our slow start was down to post-World Cup problems and to the fact as well that we had to play the qualifiers for the Champions League. It always takes a lot out of you but overall I believe that we’ve found a better balanced team during the season as well.
“If you ask me if I am happy with the depth of the squad I say certainly yes because I have many international top quality players who are not even in the squad on Saturdays when everyone is available. That has not been the case for many years.”
So it is clear that Wenger believes but also that he knows that Arsenal cannot afford another poor start to the next campaign. He mentioned the Champions League play-offs and the fight to finish higher than fourth is therefore very important and that is one of the things keeping our players focused.
We also have the prestige of a place in the starting line up for the FA cup final at Wembley, so nobody will want to lose form now and those two incentives could be just what the Gunners need to finish this season with a bang, starting with the visit to Hull on Monday.
Where do you think we will finish and do you expect a strong start from Arsenal next season?