2017 – Arsenal review
How has your Arsenal 2017 been for you?
For me, these are the highs, the lows, and the indifferent points:
- FA Cup win.
This is self-evident, though it showed our capabilities. Chelsea was and still is the champions, and we bossed them overall. Some clubs said that second place was a great season. Possibly, but it was and never is a trophy.
- Alexis’s goals
In 17/18, Alexis may have downed tools, who knows? But his 16/17 goals helped us win the FA Cup and finish in 5th. Yes, this was not the Champions League. However, without him, who knows where we would have finished?
- Emergence of Maitland-Niles, Nelson, Nketiah, and Willock
The Europa League, and League Cup, saw the emergence of several key youngsters. Some of whom were successful with England at youth levels also. Maitland-Niles, despite Salah scoring against us, was adept in keeping him quiet for most of the Liverpool game. Salah’s goal was not due to his failings, and he can be proud at this and build on this on the future.
- Ozil’s resurgence
Is this due to him “putting himself in the shop window”? Maybe. But his resurgence in 17/18 has shown his full potential. Potential may be an odd label for a 29-year-old in his prime, but he needs to sustain this form to get either a new contract or improve his own standing with us Gooners.
- Wenger’s new tactical flexibility
Wenger is attempting to be more tactically flexible. The games vs. City, Spurs, Liverpool (h), and Chelsea showed that he is willing to try new formations, or analyse other teams’ strengths and weaknesses. This has been a major failing of his in recent seasons, but he should be commended for adapting. The FA Cup final win was again down to this, as was the reversion to three at the back.
- Tottenham fans wanting Pochettino out
When I first heard of this, I literally laughed out loud. Yes, he has made some key tactical errors lately. But then which other Spurs manager finished second of late? Man United, us, and City, all have more money than they do. The fact they wish to discard their best manager, arguably, since Bill Nicholson himself is highly comical. Yes, many of us want Wenger to leave. But it’s wholly different. Poch is overachieving at Tottenham, and if they refuse to realise this it’s more laughs for me at the least.
- That lot finishing above us
Is this a low, really? There is no trophy for Arsenal finishing above Spurs, or vice versa. We DID win something, and a trophy they haven’t won in decades. Nonetheless, their league form in 16/17 was better than ours, and this is undeniable. Though finishing second for the first time in many decades is pretty funny, considering we’ve done it multiple times since the 1960s (the time they last accomplished it).
- Wenger staying
Look. I have immense respect for what Wenger has done for us. Still, it was time for him to leave, and he should have done such. However, he is still here, and we have to suck it up. Let’s hope he can improve whilst he is here.
- Only signing Lacazette and Kolasinac
We needed a top defensive midfielder, and a centre-back, to boot. If we can get Evans from WBA, Nzonzi, or Fekir, this would be good.
- “Catalyst for change”
Are we seeing this actually arise? The appointments of Mislintat and Sanhelli, possibly, are steps in this regard. However, we’re seeing much of the same unfold.
- Wenger in vs. Wenger out
I’m clearly the latter. Though I respect the views of those who want Wenger to stay. We’re all Gooners, and this divide is inane, pathetic and unbecoming of us.
So Tottenham finished above us for the first time in over two decades. But we still won a major trophy, something they haven’t won in decades either.
There is more parity between us on the pitch at least. Though for there to be a power shift, there needs to be more consistently better performances from them vis a vis, inclusive of trophies. Our global brand and footprint still override theirs by a huge margin, even with their new ground. I guess they can laugh at Ozil/Alexis leaving, though we should laugh at them harder for Alli or Kane leaving. Has Alderweirled signed a new deal yet? Will Rose stay? Didn’t Walker leave? Spurs mocking us for our top players leaving is like two 500lb individuals mocking each other for being dangerously obese. It may be accurate, but grossly hypocritical too. A classic “pot calling the kettle black” scenario.
- City “neo-Invincibles”
Could it happen, again? Maybe. But City are looking good. I don’t personally care if they equal our record. It had to be equalled sooner or later, as few records ever are unbreakable.
Overall, it’s been a mixed year for Arsenal. Some immense highs at Wembley, mixed with lows vs. Bayern, Palace, West Brom, and Liverpool. The Community Shield win, even as a non-trophy, was good too.
Will 2018 be better? Let’s hope so. We can get a trophy and top four, which should pretty much constitute a good season amidst our current context.