After Arsenal’s opening three defeats and then one solitary goal against relegation favourites Norwich City it is no wonder that us fans are very pessimistic about getting in to the Top Ten this season, never mind winning anything at all, so I thought I would look to see how we were feeling on the exact same day last year.
Due to the lockdown the season had started later than usual but as we had beaten Chelsea in the FA Cup Final one month earlier, we had won our place in the Community Shield and duly beat the Champions Liverpool on penalties at Wembley, and we had just won our opening game of the season at Fulham, with Willian the star in our 3-0 win and Gabriel had scored on his debut as well.
Paul Merson was even gushing about the Brazilian on his Sky Sports column: “I can’t believe Chelsea let Willian go. I know they’ve gone out and get special players, but there’s nothing to say they’re going to hit the ground running. In Willian, you’ve got someone there who is ready-made. I like who they’ve signed, but they cost a lot of money, and their wages are probably the same as Willian.”
Arsenal were boosted by Aubameyang announcing he had signed his contract extension and everything was rosy with a home game with West Ham coming up. The bookies had us priced at just 25/1 to win the title, whereas this season it is more like 150/1.
Even Arsene Wenger was confident that life was looking good for the Gunners. Wenger said in the Guardian: “I think there is a good team spirit and they have a good chance to do well. I believe it will not be very difficult to improve on the number of points they got last season. But I’m convinced Arsenal can be in the top four, if not more. Why not more? They can be the surprise package for me this year: they bought well, they strengthened the defence well…..
The only downside of the day was Dan Smith lamenting that Arsenal had gone for the cheap option by bringing in Runar Runarsson, and that turned to be correct in the end.
What a difference a year makes, eh?