Post Season View – Arsenal F.C. 2009-10 Pt. 1

We have finished in third place. The big question is whether we have improved or not. By looking at the table – and they say that table doesn’t lie – we have improved by finishing one place higher than last term.

Table aside, my feeling is that Liverpool have regressed and United and Chelsea have been better than us, again. We have not improved. I’ve looked at things as fairly as I think I could have. Injuries have not entered the equation because big clubs are big clubs because they have big squads capable of coping with injuries. Yes, we have suffered an abundance of injuries, but I refuse to use that excuse.

My season’s analysis is based on what I’ve seen, not what could have been if we had all our players. It is based on what was required in August and what has been delivered in May. Consider the following comparison to last season:

Goals conceded:
2008/09 – 37
2009/10 – 41

Clean sheets:
2008/09 -16
2009/10 – 14

Points from Big Four matches:
(fuck Spurs, they are not a Big Four club, Liverpool have been ill)
2008/09 – 10
2009/10 – 6

We’ve done worse than last season in each category. I grant you that it hasn’t been much worse (in terms of numbers alone), but the margins are very thin when you are trying to compete at the highest level. Two clean sheets when it mattered most could have made a big difference.

I was impressed by Cesc’s return to form this season. He has been the player Arsene hoped he’d become. Alex Song has made us proud at 1886. We always knew he was special.

There’s been a lot of talk about Wojciech Szczesny becoming the No. 1 at Arsenal. Let’s be clear, the boy has proved nothing. He has not played in any meaningful run of matches. He is the latest young player to show promise. That is all. His case is not different from any of the others – I’m honestly not even sure Kieran Gibbs will be the player we hope for.

I hope they both and all the others prove me wrong, because it is well and truly time for a few of these young players to do a Cesc and make a first team place their own. We run the risk of being left even further behind Chelsea and United. The future is now.

I have struggled to find a turning point in the season. Then I realized that there really was none. When we were beaten by United and Chelsea, that’s really all there was to know. There were moments when we fought and made things interesting, but it has turned out to be a false dawn. I thank the boys for trying, but we were never going anywhere with those two clowns between the sticks.

The worst thing about this season has been that our aura as a dangerous side has faded. Teams no longer fear us. That needs fixing. It really, really does. We’ve seen our status improve off the pitch, but as a football team we’ve stood still and may have regressed a bit. I trust Arsene to get the balance right though. The man is determined to do so. He will not rest until he does, such is the belief he has in his project. He has learned however, that certain components must be replaced if we are going to see a trophy from this group.

I wonder if Steve Bould isn’t a resource we should be making better use of. I love what he’s done with the U18s but making fewer defensive mistakes and better organization at the back are areas he can fix. That is certain.

With the added pressure from Spurs (if you want to call it that), Arsene will want to improve even more. I doubt he is looking over his shoulder with fear, just with added purpose. It was a fantastic run that must be restarted. As a great man once said, “It’s the hope that gets you.” Long suffering Spurs fans will feel that they’ve got over the hump. No more just hoping. Well, see below:

Burnley 4 Spurs 2. Fuck off Spurs!

Keep the Faith

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