When Arsenal beat Chelsea comfortably last season at the Emirates Stadium in the Premier League, it was a happy day for us Gooners, but instead of being the springboard to our own race for the EPL trophy it was the start of a great run for the Blues, after Antonio Conte learned his lesson and changed their tactics to go on a run that would see them crowned champions.
The main story at Arsenal this summer surrounds the future of Alexis Sanchez, who has just one year left on his contract and is drawing admiring glances from Europe’s elite. The churning of the rumour mill is reaching a deafening crescendo and Arsenal fans are in for a nerve shredding few weeks. Arsene Wenger has vowed not to sell his star man, but the Arsenal faithful have heard that tune before and it ended with Wenger cashing in on the likes of Robin van Persie and Samir Nasri rather than risk losing them on a free transfer the following summer. Supporters would be devastated as Sanchez has been their best player in recent years and everyone is following the story with bated breath.
Arsenal fans are not generally well known for our calm and understated response to anything to do with our club, players or the newly contracted manager, so there were always going to be some Gooners taking the comprehensive defeat we got at the hands of Chelsea to heart, and perhaps too seriously.
As reported by Metro, Arsene Wenger said after the game that it had been a long a gruelling tour and that the Arsenal players looked jaded. I agree to be fair and the heat and humidity out in China has been tough to cope with.
It will be interesting to see how Arsene Wenger sets up the defensive side of his Arsenal team next season. With a lot of the summer transfer window still to go we are not even sure which players the Frenchman will have to call upon, as the current Arsenal transfer rumours being focused on the attacking side of things does not mean that Wenger is not looking to sign another defender as well.
Usually when there is a game going one between two of our big Premier League rivals, it means that Arsenal would prefer the game to end in a draw and that way both of our rivals drop points, but I do not think that is the case tonight as we await the Manchester derby.
The reason for that is that both Man City and United are currently above us in the table and points for both will just make it even harder for Arsenal to get that top four finish that we and other fans have been so dismissive about for years but now that it looks hard to reach we really want.
If Arsenal play anything like they did against Leicester City last night in our next game, it is going to be a very painful north London derby indeed for us Gooners and the chances of Arsene Wenger and the players coming away from White Hart Lane with anything other than a beating.
Against the Foxes the Gunners were firing blamks all night and even struggling to get into a position to shoot. Our passing was ponderous, predictable and often just plain poor. The tempo was slow and we lacked any sort of cutting edge.
Arsenal have got back on track in some respects, but as Arsene Wenger said a few times recently it takes a long time to build confidence and find top form while it can be lost very quickly indeed, so this week’s Premier League game at home to reigning EPL champions Leicester City is another huge one for the Gunners.
If the Arsenal team does carry on with the improved effort and effective football that we have seen from them in the draw with Man City and the win over West Ham, we still stand a good chance of finishing in the top four and continuing the remarkable record of qualifying for the Champions League in every full season under Arsene Wenger.
That is the very least that Arsenal need to do, though, and even that will not take away too much of the pain that we Gooners will feel at the end of the season, because this is the year when the shift of power in north London that Spud fans have been vainly banging on about for years is finally going to happen.
It all depends on Arsenal, of course, and whether we can win our games in hand, but the Premier League table right now is looking a lot better from an Arsenal point of view, with our chances of getting another top four finish under Arsene Wenger having gone from stone cold to cool to lukewarm in the space of a week.
And now that we have Sky Sports reporting that Jurgen Klopp will be without his Senegal international striker Sadio Mane for the rest of the season with surgery need to fix his knee injury, I reckon those chances have heated up even more and made the scousers the team for us to hunt down rather than Man City.
It may seem boring to some fans out there that i keep on hammering on about Arsenal’s midfield problems but what am i expected to do when our coach refuses to address a problem that has cost us points and games for some seasons now?
The days of Arsenal’s dominance in the Premier League was made possible because we had a good midfield that was the live wire of the team. Apart from Thierry Henry who was a midfielder turned striker, most of the stars of the team were midfielders! We had Bergkamp, Viera, Pires, Lungberg and Silva. These were players who controlled and won games for us! The midfield of a team has to be strong and sound, if a team wishes to win games and trophies. A list of successful teams both past and present, will open ones eyes to the importance of a strong midfield.