If ever the expression the season was like a rollercoaster was applicable it must be for this season. But don’t we say this about every season at some part of the season?
At the start, the uncertainty about who wanted to stay and who wanted out at all cost threw a large shadow over the start of our season. If Wenger would ever publish his memoires, I think I will skip the rest and go straight to what he has to say about last summer. Who forced the departure of Nasri and Fabregas at the end of the day? How did the players behave and did the board decide what was going to happen to them? Only a few insiders know but I can imagine lots of us want to know. I would love to know.
I’m not going to review the whole season but we came from the very low to now finding us in third place. One point in front of Tottenham, two points in front of Newcastle. Who would have thought that after 25 minutes in the last North London derby? We managed to get there despite no full backs for months, without the best young English player, lots of injuries all over the field. Referees gave us nothing at all. One could say that it is purely on our own merit that we are where we are. We got nothing for free all season long.
The situation now is clear. We must get at least the same result as the two teams who are behind us to secure third place. On paper we all could lose our games and still come third. The safest thing to do is, of course, just win our final game and then we don’t have to look at what the others will do. But we have to look at the possibilities.
If we draw and the other two win, we would end up in 4th place. Unless Newcastle can win at Everton with some 15 goals difference. A bit unlikely one could say.
If we lose, then any team of the two behind that wins their last game would overtake us. And then, we could be in 5th if both of them win.
If we lose 1-0 and Tottenham draw 0 -0 then it could be that we end up with the same number of points and goal difference. If Newcastle then would not win we would be both on third. I just was thinking how it would be decided then? Won games? Scored goals? Ooh, this could get tight. So let us just try to win our game and stay away from that speculation.
Anyhow, whatever the result will be at the end of next Sunday, we will go in to a European competition. It’s not yet decided which one. Not that bad for a team that would be fighting relegation as was predicted by some.
But there is not just the battle for third place this season that still is wide open. The title race is still not completely over. And the relegation battle for the 3rd team going down is also still an open race. And both battles meet each other this weekend.
If Manchester City win their game against QPR, it will mean that Manchester City has won the title but it could also mean that QPR goes back down again. That is, if Bolton manage to win their last game of the season. Bolton have to travel to Stoke and that is not the nicest place to travel to. But no matter the QPR result, Bolton just has to win their game to make any chance of survival. Who should go down of those two? Maybe both of them as they are not really adding a lot to the Premier League.
So it will be an interesting final day of the season. The teams who chase 3rd place are not in the best form of the season one could say. Arsenal has had some massive injuries to deal with in the last weeks and this surely hasn’t helped us to get the points we should have had by now. We have lost a few players that have been vital for our season. Mertesacker, Sagna, Arteta, Walcott are just a few names that we could have used for this game.
I sure would have loved to have a fit Wilshere or Diaby involved in this game but even though they have missed the whole season because of injuries we did get to third without them, so we cannot complain about them too much. But the 4 other I mentioned are harder to replace. For such a game, you would love to have your best and very experienced players available to pick your team. This surely is not the case for Arsenal.
Manchester City look the strongest of the Manchester teams for the moment and they have on paper the easiest game. Howard Webb will do his best at Sunderland to make up with SAF for the things he couldn’t do at Newcastle this season. A United loss and a City win under Webb this season at Newcastle. Will he be sold this summer?
Whatever will happen on Sunday will happen. But no matter what happens we will stay Gooners and will be back next season, hopefully a next season with less injuries, less bad referees and a stronger Arsenal.
Published with permission from Untold Arsenal: Arsenal News. Supporting the Lord Wenger; coach of the decade.