So Spurs not #AVBelieve and #IncrediBALE after all and Per and Koz both GIANTS on Gooner run in

WE’VE ONLY GONE AND BLOODY
DONE IT AGAIN!!!

By that, of course I mean finished above Tottenham Hotspur and
secured the chance to take part in the most prestigious club competition in the
world: The Champions League. Nice one. So, this week I’ll be talking about how
much I love finishing above those lily-white wankers from N17, looking ahead to
building on what we’ve got and praising our incredibly successful central
defensive pairing.

1-1 at Newcastle United

Pahahaha! That was priceless wasn’t it? A stadium full of Spurs fans
jumping up and down in delight because of something that hadn’t actually
happened. Apart from maybe a private strip-tease courtesy of Kate Upton, I
can’t think of many more pleasurable things to watch than Spurs fans thinking they’ve
actually accomplished something when they most certainly haven’t.

The Spudlings have also been guilty of some of the most cringeworthy
and laughable hashtags to ever grace the world of Twitter. The likes of
#AVBelieve and #IncrediBALE had me somewhere in between crying, laughing and
vomiting all over my lovely MacBook. I thought that ‘Beliebers’ were bloody
annoying, but then I realised that they actually might have valid excuses such
as being about 13 and hormonal. These Spurs fans have no such excuse, they are
simply a bunch of embarrassing nitwits with no better way of drowning their
sorrows than coming up with utterly ridiculous and deluded labels borne out of
ill-considered optimism. Gareth Bale’s back must be starting to ache from all
the carrying he’s had to do. But whether he goes or not, Spurs fans will
scramble for any half-hearted justification that next year will be their year
(And I thought we had it bad!)…

So while they plan on how to go about world domination with that
croaky bastard at the helm on Tuesday and Wednesday nights, I’ll be watching
The Arsenal strutting their stuff in the Champions League.

From strength to
strengthening

We’ve been pretty awesome of late, I think. 10 games unbeaten in the
league (winning eight and drawing two) is no mean feat and I think one of the
best things about this run is that the team have got used to life without
losing. Winning breeds confidence, confidence breeds further winning and so the
cycle continues. But sometimes even winning by the skin of your teeth is
actually more beneficial, because it instills the “whatever the circumstance,
we can get a result” mentality. That is something that, on a consistent basis,
I think Arsenal have certainly lacked. Yes, we could pull the occasional game
back from the claws of defeat and it feels great, but I’d much rather sit safe
in the knowledge that this season we did not lose from a winning position; except
Olympiacos, but we’d qualified already hadn’t we.

This impressive form and improving mentality is the base upon which
we must now build upon in order to challenge for the title and other such
trophies come next season. In my opinion, we need strengthening in all four
main areas of the pitch (AKA Goalkeeper, Defense, Midfield and Attack). I think
we just need to add top quality each of those areas as we already have a strong
core.

I think it’s imperative that we trim the edges of the squad too.
Yes, I’m referring to the ‘deadwood’. Too long have we held onto high earning
players that do not contribute to the team. This is very important in terms of
freeing up wages and squad space, as well as, put bluntly, simply getting rid
of crap players.

By clearing out and bringing in the right level of players, I firmly
believe that we’re capable of keeping up our impressive end of season form into
the new campaign. An added bonus, in my eyes at least, is that if we start well
there’s more chance of Arsene Wenger signing on. If we want to continue
improving beyond this summer and consistently challenge for top honours (which
we should be doing), I think it’s in our interest to hold on to the Frenchman
for a while longer.

Brothers in arms

Our central defensive pairing of Per Mertesacker and Laurent
Koscielny has been a revelation in the Premier League of late. There is a
debate as to which one is a better centre back as an individual, but as long as
they are playing together, I couldn’t care less who’s better or worse. Their
partnership is quite astounding, this is evident from the following, rather
fantastic statistic:

Out of 15 Premier League starts, the pairing of Mertesacker and
Koscielny has not been on the losing side (winning 9 and drawing 6). 7 of the
15 games were also clean sheets.

The pair seem to complement one another extremely well.
Mertesacker’s height ability to read the game paired with Koscielney’s raw pace
and strength has brought balance to a previously shaky back line and thus makes
for a well-fortified Arsenal defence. Their solid partnership has certainly
been a key factor in our brilliant end-of-season run through making the team
more secure and therefore more comfortable and confident in going forward.

It’s refreshing to think that we have a strong and seemingly
reliable central defensive pairing for the first time in a while. However, I
still think it’s important that we sign a central defender in the summer as we
lack depth in the area. If Thomas Vermaelen does end up being sold, then we may
even need two to make sure we can deal with any injuries that occur (god
forbid).

So roll on the future and a big, important and possibly even season
defining summer ahead. We’ve finished above Spurs again, we’ve got a good core
of players which includes a blossoming central defensive partnership, but now
we have to consolidate the squad and prepare ourselves for a season in which we
must achieve more and begin to return The Arsenal to its rightful place in and
amongst the very top echelons of English and European football.

Until next week,

Billy Dunmore


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