|| May 17th 2016 | Next >|
Second place but plenty to ponder
Arsenal managed to get the job done against Aston Villa, while Spurs were well and truly thumped at already-relegated Newcastle to throw second place away on the final day.
Finishing above our fiercest rivals for the 21st consecutive season seemed almost impossible a few weeks ago after the Gunners dropped points against Crystal Palace, but the team have capitalised on Spurs’ dejection at falling short in their pursuit of Leicester at the Premier League summit.
We did not have to get out of second gear to dismiss Aston Villa with ease, with Olivier Giroud choosing the right time to show his critics that he is the striker to lead the club forward with a well-taken hat-trick. It was also great to see Jack Wilshere get just under 70 minutes under his belt following an injury-hit year, and while he may feel he should have scored with the chance that came his way in the second half, it was an encouraging performance that bodes well for next season.
It was pleasing to see the team keep another clean sheet, particularly as Aston Villa actually threatened to have a go on rare occasions but have been down and out long before now. Another blank has put Petr Cech in pole position to win what would be a thoroughly deserved Golden Glove award; he is certainly a reminder of what happens when Arsene Wenger is willing to pay for the quality of player we need. He will have to wait until David De Gea has finished the same, with Manchester United’s game against Bournemouth called off due to security concerns at Old Trafford.
Coral may install Arsenal amongst the favourites to dethrone next season, but while finishing second ahead of Spurs should provide great enjoyment, we have to look at the bigger picture. Being without Welbz for nine months could prove to be a big miss, while we will wait to see if the likes of Theo, Flamini and The Ox have a future at the Emirates.
Many fans have already had their way on whether Wenger should stay or go. We can all say whether the banners are appropriate or not, but there has to be a realisation that Wenger intends to see his remaining year on his contract out. Furthermore, Kroenke has unwavering faith in the manager, so the “Wenger Out” brigade is unlikely to get their wish.
Finishing second should not paper over the cracks that we have witnessed this season. The same things that have cost us a shot at the title in recent years have reared their ugly head again – complacency, tactical stubborness and failing to perform when we are expected to put in a big display.
We can all look forward to a summer of football betting with Coral throughout Euro 2016 in which many of our players will look to perform well. The tournament may prove a good opportunity for Wenger and the scouts to take a close eye on potential targets, as it cannot be understated how much we need reinforcements this summer.
Wenger will hope that none of his players report back for pre-season training with any injuries, but we would like to see a few high-profile players arrive alongside the players that the club decide to keep. Rosicky may be joined by Flamini and Arteta in leaving Arsenal, while Theo may also need to move for the best interests of his career after failing to impress this season.
The rumour mill will inevitably throw up a whole host of names that will be arriving at the club, but we would represent good value in the football betting odds if top quality players are added in the right areas. Zlatan and N’Golo Kante would be names that instantly spring to mind as players we would love to see in Arsenal colours, but our summer (and the 2016/2017 itself) could be defined by whether Wenger and the club are willing to spend big money on quantity and quality.
More later reader(s)…