With the story of Mourinho still dominating the press pages (he would want it no other way), there is little else that the nationals are interested in, so they’ve put down their rainbow coloured invention pens, focusing on the North for now.
I hope that it is the same for the rest of next season. I hope we can ‘do a Leicester’ and be pretty much written off for the remainder of the season, only for people to realise with a couple of weeks to go, that we’re ten points clear whilst all they were focused on was the battle for Manchester between Jose and Pep.
That’s probably a bit too much of a fantastical idea to actually work, given that we’ve seen on countless occasions Arsenal’s ability to implode, but already I hope I am starting to heal from the wounds of the season just gone. There may well be a few scars left over by August, but I’ll be getting on with my life, hopefully with all he passion of every season that I’ve had since I’ve been a football fan.
What there needs to be at Arsenal, though, is visible change. We need to see that the club is looking to improve on what has come before. They’re telling us that’s what they want too. I got a letter from Ivan Gazidis yesterday. No, not a personalised one, but a printed season ticket renewal message. In it he said that nobody is happy about the season and that the club understands. The club wants to make fans happy and they’ll be freezing ticket prices for the next couple of seasons. Which is jolly good for my wallet. It also doesn’t affect Arsenal’s wallet, because they’re getting about 3,000 wheelbarrows worth of extra cash this season through TV and sponsorship monies, so it’s good to see that the club are still going to have enough cash to keep the lights on!
As for changes on the field, we’re yet to see that happen, but we all know Xhaka is done so we might as well take that as read. Alexis has a new number too, which means he’s surely staying, right??? Of course we know that players do this sort of stuff all the time and can still move on. I remember we had Cesc and Samir in the following season kits before they all sauntered off to their new clubs, so what difference does giving a player a new shirt number make?
Little. But if he knows he’s playing with some of the best players on the planet, that he will win titles and trophies with his teammates, he’ll stick around. Winners beget winners don’t you know. It’s the same with Özil and the only reason we kept Vieira and Henry was because they were consistently in a winning team. That’s what we have to provide for them next season and that’s why both of their contractual circumstances worry me. If we get to next season with neither having signed a new deal, we’ll be witnessing the same from the media each week, as we did with That Dutch Bloke.
We need to be demonstrating to these players that change is coming and it’s coming for the better. That’s why I was pleased with different rumours circulating my Twitter feed yesterday, that Laurent Koscielny would take over as captain, because I think he’s one of the better candidates. Some have mooted the idea that Cech should take over, which would also be a good option, but are the practicalities really something that would work. These days I know that the captains role doesn’t seem to be as important as the talismatic players of the 80s and 90s (my reference because I was born in the 80s so can’t really comment on before that time), but they still have function on the pitch. Like when a ref calls the captain over for a chat. Can you imagine Cech having to bound all the way up the pitch, only to have to bound all the way back, for 45 seconds of having to talk to Mike Dean?
Cech is already a talker and does what he needs to do with the defence. Call me a traditionalist, but I think an outfield player as captain feels more natural, which is why they are always my preferred choice.
The option I thought Arsène would go with was natural progression in Big Per. He’s vice captain, has shown himself to be a good representative of the club, plus he’s taller than everyone else so they naturally look up to him. But I think his influence on the pitch is going to wain next season, so the last thing we really need is a captain who spends all of his time on the bench or writing captains notes for the matchday programme. We’ve had that in our last two captains (admittedly towards the end of their tenure) and so a first team regular would be a better choice right now than the BFG.
Or we could just make Özil captain. He’s the best player after all. That’d be my fanciful choice. I’m not sure how good a captain he’d be, but I love watching him so much I’d offer him his own changing room, man servant, official club ‘selfie’ support, as well as pet Flamini, if it kept him at the club for another eight years.
So there you have it for another day. We are making changes as a club, the damage from last season is done, with the club looking to heel the wounds with actions. It’s all talk at the moment (except the Alexis number 7 stuff), but at least we’re getting this chatter, and not radio silence. That’d be even more worrying.
Catch you tomorrow.