It is shaping up to be the most enjoyable and optimistic summer for Arsenal fans in many a year. Arsene Wenger and the Gunners are on the point of securing a higher than usual finish in the Premier League and lifting the FA cup for the second season in a row and the boss looks keen to push on even further and give us Gooners a title winning team with some great transfer business.
The last time Arsenal beat Chelsea at the Emirates, in December 2010, one of the heroes that day was the Spaniard Cesc Fabregas, and Sunday will be his first return to the Emirates since he forced Arsene Wenger to sell him to his boyhood club Barcelona.
When that move was finalised, at a ridiculously low price, much was made of the fact that Arsenal had inserted a buy-back clause into the sale that meant that the Gunners would have first option if the Spanish giants decided to let Fab go at some point in the future. That point came and went last summer, but all Gooners were shocked that Cesc was snapped up by Chelsea instead of returning to the Emirates as expected.
Arsenal Rueing Their Early Season Form by SG
It goes without saying that Arsenal FC have a history which is the envy of most football teams. Yet, until The Gunners’ nine-year trophy drought was ended last season when they lifted the FA Cup, the noise of the questions being asked about the club’s ambition continued to grow ever louder. And even winning the grand old trophy did not sate the appetite of everyone.
The 2014-15 season has been another case in point. Arsenal’s 2014 FA Cup win merely raised expectations among supporters who hoped that Arsene Wenger would be able to rekindle his midas touch and use the success as a springboard.
After the Arsenal and England star Theo Walcott failed to impress in his first international start for 18 months against Italy last night it made it all the more likely that Arsene Wenger might be ready to call it a day with the player we signed as a promising teenager back in 2006.
With Walcott nearing the final year of his current Arsenal contract and no signs of an easy renewal between club and player on the horizon, and with not many games left of the season for Walcott to convince Arsene Wenger to keep him in north London, the summer represents our best chance of getting a decent transfer fee.
With Arsenal´s brilliant form in the second half of the season suggesting that only our slow start and injury problems stopped the Gunners from mounting a real challenge for the Premier League title this year, we will all be hoping that next year is our year.
Arsene Wenger, the players and fans should be confident going into next season but there are still a few key areas that could do with beefing up if we are to avoid an injury or two derailing us again next time and one of those is between the goal posts.
Not only do I feel that Arsenal were very lucky to leave the north east with all three points yesterday, but I do feel sorry for Newcastle who will play a lot worse than that and win games. They were clearly stung by the `flip flop´ jibes from their defeat last weekend and we nearly paid the price.
I have rarely seen such hunger and determination than we did from the Magpies in the second half but thankfully Giroud had taken his shooting boots with him and we defended well and rode our luck.
Last season and even early on this season, the Arsenal fans would have been more than happy to come away from an away game with a big Premier League rival without a defeat to chew on. And after last season’s humiliating 5-1 drubbing at Anfield, we would have been even happier not to lose to Liverpool.
But a draw is simply not good enough for the Gunners tomorrow and the fact that Man City have just beaten Crystal Palace to increase the gap between them and Arsenal to 13 points just highlights that fact. I expect Louis van Gaal and his Manchester United team to go home with all three points from his trip to a depleted Aston Villa as well, although Benteke and Agbonlahor will hopefully do us a big favour and get past De Gea in the United goal.
Everyone single Arsenal fan and his grandmother knows that the Gunners have desperately needed a young, strong defensive midfielder to improve an already promising Arsenal squad, so when we hear that a 21 year-old FRENCH midfielder of the quality of Paul Pogba is available then surely Arsene Wenger must sit up and take notice?
Pogba has recently signed a new contract at Juventus, but nowadays that just means that the price will go up if the player really wants to leave. So it will take an offer of at least £40m to prise the 21-year-old away from Serie A.
There is no love lost between Arsenal and Chelsea and that feeling has probably been heightened by the mutual animosity between our own Arsene Wenger and the Portuguese poser (prat, ponce or pillock – take your pick) Jose Mourinho. But after the touchline spat between the two managers at Stamford Bridge this season, they seem to have decided to lay off the insults.
But you know that will never last and it sounds to me as though the Chelsea boss is aiming a subtle dig at Wenger and Arsenal with his statement reported by Sky Sports about Diego Costa being suspended for their next game after picking up a fifth yellow card of the season.
The Arsenal transfer rumours about the Real Madrid and Germany international midfielder seem to be growing all the time, so according to the old adage that there is no smoke without fire, there is definitely something going on behind the scenes.
But the Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti recently declared that he would not sanction the sale of his player in January even thought it meant that the La Liga club would receive nothing when he left in the summer. And he backed that up by bringing Khedira on against Liverpool on Wednesday, meaning the central midfielder would be cup tied in the Champions League knockout stages for Arsenal.