Arsene Wenger did not seem to want to dwell too much on what could have been for Arsenal this season, but it was clear that the Frenchman feels that, if the Gunners had not missed so many of the first team players at the crucial stage of the season, things could have been so much better.
Wenger was talking to the media, as reported by Arsenal.com, after watching his reinvigorated team, inspired by recent returnees Mesut Ozil and Aaron Ramsey, put Newcastle United to the sword. It was not just the ease of the victory that was impressive, it was the flowing football that was our trademark in the first half of the season, that gave us an idea of what could have been and what could be next season.
The Prof also refused to accept that the job was done in the Premier League season. He knows the danger of relaxing and taking your eye off the ball, so he made sure to point out that the players must focus and get another win next weekend against West Brom, although he was clearly delighted with the way the team have bounced back from the slump which culminated in defeat at Everton.
Wenger said, “It is a step forward but we need to make another one because we have another home game [on Sunday]. It is another opportunity to win again. What is important is to focus on our performance. Game-by-game, they look strong and convincing now.
“I think they [Ramsey and Ozil] make a difference, but at the same period we had Walcott, Wilshere, Ozil, Ramsey and Koscielny all out. Of course you can sometimes miss one or two, but four or five? Every team feels that.
“If we do it [top 4], yes [it is a relief] but it is not done yet. I am long enough in the job to know that to get over the line is always difficult. We have suffered enough this season in periods not to be complacent. The pain we went through will remind us to focus and do the final job well. We are in a strong position now.
“One more win will be top four for sure. It will show that the club has been consistent over the years, but we want more. Overall this season I think we have been 17 times top of the league, but at the crucial period of the season we have lost many players. We have got to the FA Cup final having played against Liverpool, Everton, Tottenham and in the Champions League we went out against Bayern with 10 men. We have shown we have potential, but we want more next season and hopefully we can do it. But first let’s finish this season.”
It is crystal clear from this interview that Wenger will be signing a new Arsenal contract and is already planning for next season. But can he get the Gunners back to the very top?