My Prediction For This Season Wasn’t Far Off…

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:

It’s the same old story every single season, so to make things easier, here’s a check-list of what will happen next season:

  1. The club tell us Arsene has money to spend.
  2. In the summer, we will sell 4 players, bring in 2 and be ’stronger’.
  3. We are told by Arsene Wenger that Arsenal will mount a real title challenge this season, as our squad is more experienced and stronger.
  4. The club are happy that we’ve made a profit.
  5. After a positive start, we will lose a big player to injury before Xmas.
  6. We don’t need to sign anyone, as players returning from injury are just like ‘new signings’.
  7. We don’t bring in anyone in the January Transfer Window.
  8. We throw away the FA Cup.
  9. We’re told that challenging for the league is better than any FA Cup.
  10. Our form suffers and we’re out of the title race by Spring.
  11. We’re told a Top Three finish is better than any FA Cup.
  12. We get to the Quarter/Semi Finals (delete as appropriate) of the Champions League, but go out.
  13. We’re told a Top Four finish is better than any FA Cup.
  14. ‘Real’ Arsenal fans tell us that we should be grateful for a Top Four position and all these expectations are unrealistic, we don’t really support the club and we’re spoilt, despite Number 3.
  15. Arsene Wenger tells us finishing in the Top Four is like winning trophies.
  16. Lather, rinse and repeat.

See you next season.

Who Else Predicted This Total Collapse?

I said weeks ago, before the first Barcelona game, and when all of the fixtures started to build up, that this could be the start of an Arsenal collapse.

Unfortunately, I was right.

Since beat Barcelona in the first leg of the Champions League, whatever could go wrong for Arsenal has gone wrong. We’ve lost Walcott, Fabregas, van Persie, Sczcesny and now Djourou for important games. We’ve been unceremoniously dumped out of the Carling Cup, Champions League and FA Cup within the space of 2 weeks.

The problem that we Arsenal fans all know about is the lack of mental strength this Arsenal team has, and the inability to grind out a result when it matters.

But then again, I suppose I’ll be labelled as a Spurs fan or plastic Arsenal supporter.

Barcelona Are An Absolute Disgrace

Barcelona (3) – (1) Arsenal
Arsenal lose 4-3 on aggregate
Busquets O.G. (’53)
Camp Nou, Barcelona

I’m not going to lie, I am absolutely gutted.

Arsenal were always going to be up against it against Barcelona at the Camp Nou so to have a referee as biased and incompetent as the one we had made the task even more impossible. He was a fucking disgrace.

The decisions he made were blatantly for the home side and Van Persie’s sending off was ridiculous. The refereeing was as bad as it was in the Champions League Final the last time we played Barcelona.

Don’t get me wrong, Barcelona were immense but to have key decisions go against you is basically finishing the game before it has even started.

And for all of Barcelona’s dominance, possession and beautiful football, the fact that Arsenal were unfairly reduced to ten men, and our goalkeeper was injured early on, the crazy thing was Arsenal could have gone through tonight.

The brilliant Jack Wilshere put in Bendtner who should have knocked out Barcelona, only to fluff his lines and miscontrol the ball badly.

And the diving and rolling around from the Barcelona players was disgraceful. Beautiful football maybe, but their players know how to con the referee, which wasn’t hard as he was shite anyway. They play great football but you can’t help feeling all of the Barcelona players are just a bunch of tossers, they really are. They’re gifted and they come across like a bunch of arrogant arseholes.

It was brave performance from the Arsenal team but fundamentally Arsene made some errors in his team selection. Tomas Rosicky seems to get the big games but just hasn’t had the form or performances to justify his selection. Arshavin would have been a better choice to start the match, as he was the only player in the squad (apart from Nasri and the injured Walcott) with any genuine pace.

And it’s hard to argue against the fact that Arsene Wenger can’t make decent substitutions. From the moment Robin van Persie lost his rag in the first half, it was clear that he was ticking time bomb that could blow up at any moment. Added to the fact that he was isolated and completely ineffective, replacing him with Arshavin or Bendtner before he was sent off made a lot of sense. Unfortunately Arsene didn’t make that call.

Finally we come to the captain. I touched on this after the first leg, Fabregas clearly either gets overwhelmed about playing Barcelona or he feels uncomfortable about playing against his mates. The ridiculous back heel summed up his contribution really. His performances have been below par in both legs and even when Arsenal equalised he hardly celebrated. Let’s get £40 million for him in the summer because Jack Wilshere is outperforming him this season on a consistent basis.