Where did we finish 2022?
Super Mik didn't quite manage it
No Normal Season
And so it is over. A very strange season. Our worst start in decades. Relegation? For a team that believes it should be the best in the world at its core? But all the fears melted away, replaced by a new optimism that said we would be in the Champions league. And every time we tried to beat lower teams we had heartache, when the Arteta out brigade came out in force to say we need a new manager, new players, new owners, all change all around. And our top player (yes, he was, Saka may have been our best but Auba was our goalscorer and leader) misfired, fought with Arteta, turned up late, and crucially, stopped scoring goals. He went mid-season and we never replaced him, nobody really stepping up to score the goals that would frighten other teams. Nketiah did well when he was given his chance and maybe would have made a difference. I would like to see Martinelli in the centre but I feel we will get someone new. Will he improve us, score the Auba goals we were missing? He better or we will go backwards. Surely Man Utd will be better, and Spurs with Conte? Liverpool, Man City and Chelsea will be hard to displace. We need to be quite a bit better than 13 defeats and 61 goals.
Would Mystic Meg have done better?
So how did I do? Not too bad until the last section in March. I predicted an optimistic 74 points and we got 69. I didn’t see the defeats happening against Palace, Brighton, Southampton or even Spurs. I didn’t do too badly really, getting some results right. But it is a thankless task that I take a delight in. Writing down every score for a whole season and getting quite a few results right and even some scores right is an enjoyment. Too many lesser teams beat us and that has to be corrected.
How can we improve?
How? We need a goalscorer, for sure, whether he appears from our own ranks or is bought he must bring us 20 plus. Tierney, Partey and Tomiyasu are huge worries for me. They must stay fit or we will continue to have comical goals like Everton’s on Sunday. It seems we are bringing in strikers, wingers and midfielders, and not much mention of defence. Now if Saliba comes back and nails down a place I feel we are ok. Fullbacks are a big problem if Tierney and Tomiyasu are injured. I guess we need backup. Bellerin may come back but he is a little suspect in defence and doesn’t cross the ball well enough.
Leno to go? He will be missed unless we have someone exceptional in the reserves. We need a strong backup to Ramsdale if Leno goes and I am sure he will despite the likelihood of quite a few cup games.
Is Arteta the problem?
I don’t want to talk too much about transfers as it is very hard to know who will come. We probably need all areas strengthening so 3/4 players to actually challenge for places and some for backup.
Jesus and Gundogan? Yes, please!
I have said this several times before that Arteta seems to have a problem with experienced players. He must find a solution. There is talk of Jesus and Gündoğan coming from City and if true, maybe that could work as he presumably has no problem with them, but that cannot be the transfer option for the future, that we only bring in experienced players that Arteta has worked with. There are still another few from City that I wouldn’t object to but surely that is craziness? He, and he alone, must fix this problem. Could you imagine him at PSG? Ego city? Then he would know what difficult players are. But if he fixes this problem, or minimises its effect, then he can move into the realm of the greats.
Can Arteta fix himself?
Does he recognize it? Does he admit it? Then how can it be fixed? We cannot only buy kids. And that is one drawback to finishing 5th this time. If Arteta had got Champions league with such an inexperienced squad, then he would have had a cachet, an aura, that made him someone to be listened to. I cannot imagine Guardiola or Klopp allowing a player to come late regularly as was alleged with Auba. So the argument, and it is a good one, that EL next season is better however is a let down to Arteta’s standing. Yes, we can give players games, try them out, bring them on in EL, but we cannot offer CL and players may not want to come. And as I have said, surely Man Utd and Spurs will be better next season?
If Ten Haag improves Man Utd it makes life more difficult for us
That leaves 6 teams fighting for 4 CL spots. And West Ham? Their large new stadium brings them funds undreamt of before. Newcastle? Their rich owners will have been boosted enormously by Eddie Howe’s late run. They might be able to attract class players. Leicester? They have done it season after season, and I expect them to challenge again. Wolves, Villa, Palace, and even Everton if they sort their problems out? I have a feeling that we will need to be a good bit better to challenge strongly for CL. 13 defeats will leave us nowhere as our lack of draws was probably an anomaly. Our 3 was the lowest in the league, far less than City and Liverpool.
These two greats nearly got Everton relegated
What do we need next season?
We need to be looking at around 70 + points. We need to beat the lesser teams. We need to score goals. We need key players to stay fit. We need a bit of luck. We need our players not to fall for the tricks of the experienced pros. We need the refs to be a bit more fair. We need the management team to bring in the right players. We need Arteta to skillfully deal with experienced or difficult players, not just throw them out. We need to continue what we are doing right, playing good football in an attractive way, developing young players, watching them grow into icons , but most of all, we must be Arsenal, we must send teams home crying, not allowing them to send us trudging wearily home after another Arsenal defeat.
A trophy would be nice, and a top four spot. Maybe the Premiership is out of grasp but no other trophy we enter for should be, and I believe we can do it. It would also be nice to go to see Arsenal at an away match with a bunch of us BG Gooners. Lets hope we get a draw that we can manage to get to. Up the Arse!
Were we afraid? Never
Sidenote - relegation
I have never seen Arsenal in a real relegation fight but this year, for the first time, it did seem possible at least for a time. I got nervous during every bad run. The standard of the league is such that Everton spent zillions and didn’t even get the magical 40 points despite having 2 Champions league winning managers. If Everton could go down, maybe Arsenal could. Next year, I believe will be a more consistent season, the losses will be turned into at least draws, and it won’t be such a nervous time. And by the way, the magical 40 points for safety is now more like 36 judging by the last good few seasons, surely, even in a horrendous season we can get 36? So maybe we worry unduly. We are the Arsenal!
There are no comments to display.