Monday, 20 May 2013

Arsenal Look To The Future After Beating Newcastle To Finish Fourth

It was all or nothing for Arsenal in their game against Newcastle yesterday and thankfully they were up to the task. The prize of Champions League football is one Arsenal fans have become used to after 16 seasons in a row and they will now enter the final qualifying round to make it 17. In a day of drama both Chelsea and Spurs won their games which meant Arsenal had to win too and they did so thanks to Laurent Koscielny.

Arsene Wenger went with the same team which beat Wigan 4-1 on Tuesday night which I found a little surprising. All the signs were Mikael Arteta would miss the game through injury but he was in the starting 11. Olivier Giroud had to be content with a place on the bench on his return from his three game suspension as Lukas Podolski continued in the centre forward role.

The first half was a tense affair with few chances for either team and I hoped that Arsenal could pick up the pace in the second half with the game at 0-0. The crucial moment of the game came only seven minutes into the second half and it came from Arsenal's best player on the day. Theo Walcott took a free from the right and it was headed back to Laurent Koscielny who swiveled and volleyed home with a deflection off the keeper's head.

Arsenal had the lead they wanted and with both Chelsea and Spurs drawing they still had a chance to finish third. They would have needed another goal to move ahead of Chelsea if Chelsea couldn't beat Everton, but Arsenal dropped deeper and deeper to defend their precious 1-0 lead. They worked tirelessly to a man and did all they could to prevent Newcastle creating any chances.

As the time ticked by I became more nervous and when Chelsea went 2-1 up on Everton the hopes of third place disappeared. In the very last minute of their game Spurs scored against Sunderland and now Arsenal knew they had to keep their lead or face the prospect of Europa League football next season. There were four minutes added at the end of the game and in that time Theo Walcott missed a glorious chance to calm the nerves of the players and fans.

I'm not quite sure how he contrived to hit the post when it seemed easier to score, but thankfully there was no price to be paid for the miss. The Arsenal players took every chance they had to run the clock down and in truth saw the game out as comfortably as could be hoped for. When the final whistle went there was unbridled joy for Arsenal and the realisation for Spurs that they still weren't good enough to finish ahead of Arsenal.

The final qualifying round of the Champions League won't be easy but it's a much better prospect than Thursday night football with Europe's also rans. 

With the season over the next task for Arsenal is to build a team and squad that can truly challenge at the top next season. It won't be an easy task with so many of the top English clubs facing an overhaul this summer and competition will be fierce for the best players available. Arsenal can at least offer Champions League football as a carrots to any potential signings.

The players finished the season very well with 26 points from the last 10 games, but that cannot be taken as a sign that the squad is good enough as it is. The absence of Giroud in the last three games through suspension showed how wafer thin the striking options are and both the defence and midfield need strengthening too. The club have the money to spend and the boss needs to bring in the players that will improve the squad and team.

This season wasn't good enough because Arsenal didn't truly challenge for any trophies and very few people expected them to at the outset. The height of their expectations was a top four finish and they achieved that, but those expectations need to be a lot higher for next season. The squad needs to look strong enough at the start of the season for the fans to truly believe they will contend for the league title first and foremost.

If they can really challenge and still don't win a trophy it will be a major step forward in my opinion. Of course I would love a trophy but there are only four trophies to play for and an awful lot of other teams looking to win them too. This current crop of players has real potential and the right additions might just help them to realise that potential.

Finally for today I would like to wish all Arsenal fans yet another happy St. Totteringham's Day. It's something we have become accustomed to under Wenger and long may that continue. It was a little too close for my liking but thankfully Arsenal delivered when it mattered.

That's it for today.

See you tomorrow.

25 comments:

  1. NEWCASTLE ROLLED OVER FOR YOU,NEVER EVEN TRIED.WIGAN GAVE UP & UNITED WENT ON HOLIDAY...STRANGE!!!!

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  2. get back in that shadow be quiet and never compare your crap team to mighty ARSENAL

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    1. LOL 1 POINT??? WE BEAT THE TOP 4 TEAMS YOU DIDNT??? WE BLEW IT AGAINST LOWER TEAMS & JAN WE DIDNT SIGN A STRIKER.GUTTED BUT YOU ARE NOT BETTER THAN US,BUT IS STRANGE HOW UNITED PLAYED BELOW PAR TEAM & DIDNT SCORE AT HOME AGAINST YOU SINCE 2007 ??? YESTERDAY TOON HAD CORNERS FREEKICKS IN LAST 10 MINS & DIDNT BOTHER PUTTING THEM IN THE BOX ??? ANY WAY GOOD LUCK IN THE CHAMPIONS LEAGUE.YOUR BE LUCKY TO GET OUT THE 1ST RND !!!

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    2. Mighty arsenal? That takes me back a few years......

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  3. no one compared anything.... but ill compare your grasp of the situation to a donkey's

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    1. DONKEY,S LOL HE WAS YOUR BEST PLAYER ONCE !!!

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    2. HE STILL IS !!!

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  4. Spurs can only blame themselves for failing to finish higher than 5th. However no one can say they have been lucky! It was at the end of the day a transition season and I think losing Kaboul for the entire season, and Sandro for half the season was the difference.

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  5. Not much difference between Gunners and Spurs perhaps only that this summer Spurs will be worrying about Bale leaving whereas if we were to lose Sagna or Vermaelen we wouldn't be sweating it.

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    1. Bale staying!!! Arsenal worrying?
      Be honest arsenal run-in fixtures had no real opposition and their exit from all the cups early made it too easy (bradford and blackburn wasn't it?

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  6. Face it you loosers, your best ever one man team is still not good enough to get above worst Arsenal team in years

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    1. a one man team ?would that be the arse team from last year.didnt hear you complaining when rvp got you top four on his own

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    2. no rvp this year...and still top 4

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  7. you keep saying worst team in years but you havent won anything for 8 years,top 4,and no better so by that i would say youve reached your peak,where we are slowly getting stronger season by season so it wont be long and we will be challenging

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    1. which part of the sentence didn't you understand?
      The only way for spurs is down...and for you to start challenging and be competitive you've got to move down to lower division

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  8. top 4 = Trophy 4 Arsenal-congratulations, I'm just glad cos you'll still keep Wenger so another year with no silverware

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    1. You wish you've had him...keep on changing

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  9. Oh yeah of course I would, thats why you've fallen behind chelsea and city and 4th is your peak

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  10. Stop wallowing in pain...spur has never n will never b a threat...remember,a plantain sucker can neva produce b4 its mother..take heart my dear...

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  11. the way you celebrated yesterday anyone would have thought you won something,but i suppose you have to lower your sights and getting above us is like winning a cup to you,how sad you must be if thats youre ambition,what do you expect from a team with goon and arse in their name

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    1. you should know what the arse looks like, you've been behind it for decades...

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  12. no trophy & 4th best in the division.... suppose some might call that success.

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  13. No trophy and fourth is not success but it's an awful lot better than playing your European football on a Thursday night yet again.

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  14. all the childish bitching on here is laughable as the real problem is that neither team is going to challenge the top teams as they have deep pockets and dont care about running their clubs in a proper finacially way ,they will spend whatever they want to succeed , arsenal or spurs are both well run clubs , not in debt but both are competetive but thats where it ends neither will win the league any time soon or even win the cup if against one of the top three so carry on deluding yourselfs as the reality is that arsenal , spurs , liverfool and the rest have very little chance of doing better than fourth , as for arsenal bragging about being above spurs remember liverfool allways qualified for champions league then all of a sudden they didnt and havent looked like getting back in ever since so dont shout to loudly all good things come to an end .

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