Over a year ago, on February 8th 2010, I made a prediction on how Arsenal’s 2010/2011 season would go. Unfortunately, I wasn’t too far away and we find ourselves yet again in a situation whereby Arsenal fans should be grateful to be in the Top 4 and playing Champions League football next season.
Anyone thinking Arsenal will win the Premier League title is deluded. Yesterday pretty much summed up Arsenal and their lack of “mental strength”. They can’t win ugly and grind out results when it matters. We should have beaten Birmingham City but we bottled it. We had a lead over Barcelona and while they play fantastic football at 3 of their goals were caused by Arsenal mistakes. And in the FA Cup against Manchester United we huffed and we puffed but the bottom line was we couldn’t beat Manchester United’s reserves.
Injuries again have been a story of our season. We have them in key areas every season yet we don’t bring in adequate replacements. The problem is now that I’m so used to Arsene’s “ethos” of not wasting cash and ensuring value for money that I actually believe it. Unlike most other Arsenal fans, I don’t believe that we should spend big on players. But obviously that viewpoint is hugely flawed. But as we are suffering a long list of injuries, so are Manchester United so we can’t really use that as an excuse.
I’ll say this yet again, our biggest problem isn’t the lack of talent, but the lack of bottle. Our team has no balls or winning mentality. Manchester United, in relative terms, have played awful football this season. This seasons Manchester United squad is arguably the weakest Alex Ferguson has ever fielded yet they are cruising at the top of the league. They grind out results and win when it matters. You might call it lucky but you make your own luck in football. Whatever you or I want to say about Manchester United, the fact is they are born winners. They might not be world class technically but they get the job done. They just win, whatever the circumstances.
And that is the key area where Arsenal fall short.
We are currently 5 points behind with a game in hand, but I guarantee it now, we will not win the Premier League this season.
We will do what we always do – we’ll claw it back, maybe even go level on points as some stage, but when it truly matters we will blow it in spectacular fashion. We play Manchester United at the Emirates on Sunday 1st May and that sets us up perfectly for Arsenal to collapse and essentially give United the chance to place the final nail in the coffin.
Anyway, here was the prediction I made last year:
Itâ€™s the same old story every single season, so to make things easier, hereâ€™s a check-list of what will happen next season:
- The club tell us Arsene has money to spend.
- In the summer, we will sell 4 players, bring in 2 and be â€™strongerâ€™.
- We are told by Arsene Wenger that Arsenal will mount a real title challenge this season, as our squad is more experienced and stronger.
- The club are happy that weâ€™ve made a profit.
- After a positive start, we will lose a big player to injury before Xmas.
- We donâ€™t need to sign anyone, as players returning from injury are just like â€˜new signingsâ€™.
- We donâ€™t bring in anyone in the January Transfer Window.
- We throw away the FA Cup.
- Weâ€™re told that challenging for the league is better than any FA Cup.
- Our form suffers and weâ€™re out of the title race by Spring.
- Weâ€™re told a Top Three finish is better than any FA Cup.
- We get to the Quarter/Semi Finals (delete as appropriate) of the Champions League, but go out.
- Weâ€™re told a Top Four finish is better than any FA Cup.
- â€˜Realâ€™ Arsenal fans tell us that we should be grateful for a Top Four position and all these expectations are unrealistic, we donâ€™t really support the club and weâ€™re spoilt, despite Number 3.
- Arsene Wenger tells us finishing in the Top Four is like winning trophies.
- Lather, rinse and repeat.
See you next season.