And another season comes to an end. And oh, geeze, a nail-biting end it was. Needing a win against Newcastle to secure Champions League qualification for next season and pip Spurs for fourth (a necessity for the needed recruitment in the summer, more on that to follow) the Gunners had it all to do and at times made difficult work of it. When I saw a full-strength starting XI, and not a crap shoot starting Jack Wilshere for a questionable Mikel Arteta, I was pleased that the manager wasn’t going to roll the dice. Then the game started. My thoughts beyond that can only now be cobbled together into reasonable articulation from the chicken scratch in my notebook.
- It’s a shame that Arteta only lasted all of 20-plus minutes and the man with the immaculate hair had to come off for the Ox. He has been a far better captain than Thomas Vermaelen in my opinion and should be given the job full time next year. Or give it to Wilshere, I just don’t think the Verminator deserves to continue based on his performance this year. That’s a subject for another time. MA8’s substitution was the first notable moment of the game.
- Yohan Cabaye is a pretty good player, what the hell is he doing at Newcastle? I know that the Magpies have been buying French lately but how did this guy slip by Arsene and the scouts? We got Gervinho from Lille FFS, were they not watching this guy? “Box to box” is bandied about a lot but he fits that bill. He shoots well from distance (at least not against Arsenal but from what the interwebs tells me) and doesn’t mind getting stuck in. Kind of reminds me of the Merc Flamini in his playing style. He might be a suitable replacement for Arteta who is now over 30 and can’t go on forever. Just saying…
- The entire first half Arsenal seemed to lack some urgency and seemed oddly listless. Maybe they knew what they were playing for, maybe it was just that the goal was not to concede early, leave it for the second half and pray that the Spuds would slip. There was one moment where I thought there might be a chance after a bad foul on Ramsey that probably deserved a yellow at the least. No card and the free kick was a totally wasted ball.
- The start to the second half was much better. Arsenal was lively and they were rewarded with the goal that they deserved. And holly crap, it came from a set piece. Granted, Koscielny had to do some crazy acrobatics to get it in but he got the job done. That guy has been huge and HUGE would probably be a more appropriate way to put it. One-nil to the Arsenal.
- Newcastle came back into the game after that and Arsene started doing his “Molly Shannon/Mary Catherine Gallager hands in his armpits thing” on the bench and rocking back and forth. He needed Pat Rice to hug. Ben Arfa looked particularly like he wanted to get into the shop window. They had a good shout for a penalty in the 86th, but thankfully the honorable Mr. Webb didn’t see fit to give it. Mike Dean would have.
- Four minutes of extra time was the referee’s revenge. I started “doing the Arsene”. And then Theo was through. And then Theo hit the post after rounding the keeper. I wonder if he can use that as a title for one of his children’s books. “TJ Hits the Post” sounds about right. So I just did the Arsene until the final whistle. Seeing that the Spuds had scored/won didn’t help, but that’s why I’m not going to watch a game and be on twitter at the same time in the future.
- I was watching the feed of the Sky Sports broadcast and in the post match interviews, Theo said “…but we shut a bunch of people up.” All forgiven on my end, Mr. Walcott. The contract issue, your half-ass finishing, that you seem to have gotten too big for your boots. All of it. Now go score 35 next year.
- Fourth place. Not a trophy but the financial ramifications almost make it so. Now to kick on to next year, which means…
It appears that there will be a mass exodus of people who eat salary and play hide and seek on the training pitch. I’m sad that guys like Coquelin and Frimpong aren’t going to make Arsene’s grade… And that we have some other useless crap drivers on loan which need to be disposed of (Nicky Bendt, Mr. Santos, I’m looking at you) So, the squad needs additions. So here’s what I want Arsenal to sign.
- Midfield: Able deputy for Arteta (see Cabaye above). Think about how the season would have gone without Arteta and we can’t expect Jack the lad to do it all himself. I will also allow Cesc to come back if he apologizes and admits that he was wrong to leave in the first place
- Defense: At least one more center back if we don’t retain Djourou which I don’t see happening. I see stuff about Ashley Williams from Swansea but I’ve never been convinced about him with what I’ve seen. Based on how Kos and Per have worked in the tail end of the season and the uncertainty over the Verminator wanting to stay, we may need two additions. It’s also looking like Sagna is not going to be offered a new contract so he will most likely be sold. Jenks is ready but we would need an able back-up. Suggestions, I have none.
- A striker. At least one. I like Wilfred Bony. http://www.youtube.com/watch?
And that comes out to 3-4 players. I just want the business done in a timely fashion. Prices go up the longer the window drags on.
So that’s it. Fourth place. Champions League qualifying. A dead weight clear-out over the summer. New signings in the cards. Time for a nap. Or until the transfer speculation kicks in and then I might have something to say… In the immortal words of Rakim, “Peace.”
And just remember gooners…
HAPPY St. TOTTERINGHAMS DAY!!!
A CANNON BEATS A CHICKEN EVERY TIME!!!