With the final home game now past, the nice farewells and the thumping of Burnley behind us, there’s little left in the season but to fulfil obligations by way of the remaining two fixtures, before Arsène and Arsenal go their separate ways.
It’ll feel a bit weird doing a match preview tomorrow if I’m honest, because quite frankly, most of us just want this to all be over now. I’m talking about the season more than Arsène but there’s a feeling within me that’s a bit sad that we can’t just throw the remaining two games. Bit like on FIFA when you used to be able to just get loads of men sent off and then when you’d reached three or four reds you’d automatically have a match abandoned as a 0-3.
Sunday should have been Arsène’s passing gift to the fans. Bowing out with one final hurrah of Wengerball would have been about right.
But instead we have to go throw these motions and so I suspect we’ll have a press conference today talking about the Leicester game tomorrow night. It’ll be a weird one I suspect because the journos have already said their farewells via people like John Cross and so I suspect a few of them will be shuffling in their seats as they all try and work out what to ask now that all of the pleasantries and ceremonial gifts have been given out.
I suppose they’ll have to talk about the game and who will play and Arsène will no doubt be his professional self in talking up the desire to win. Personally though my desire is on seeing who is going to give the new manager a selection headache and so I’m hoping to see if Chambers can build on his form and get another chance to impress alongside Mavropanos, although I suspect we might be told that tomorrow night’s team will have more first teamers in it than we’ve seen in recent weeks.
Fitness wise there will obviously be questions over some of them but I would expect Özil, Mkhitaryan, Welbeck and Ramsey to all be fit and ready to fight for a start either tomorrow night or on Sunday. What I suspect will happen is Arsène will be thinking about splitting the first team down the middle and alternating for the final two away games. Perhaps the players could get one more monkey off their backs and actually win a domestic league game away from home though? That’d be nice, eh? The last thing we all want is the team going in to the new season off the back of that many away defeats. I know each new season brings about a freshness and a sense of the past being the past, but with this current crop of players and the clear mental deficiencies they’ve shown at times over the last couple of seasons, I wonder what psychological disadvantage we might end up with if we continue to fail to win away in the league.
The press love a stat like the one they’ve been busting out against us in recent weeks and if we lose these final two games then that’s all we’ll hear from them at the beginning of next season.
“Arsenal haven’t picked up a point in 2018”
“Arsenal have gone over eight months without a point in the league – the worst form of any team in Europe away”
All of that kind of rubbish. And it is rubbish because firstly, measuring Football on an annual basis is pointless, and secondly, even if we do lose the final two games of the season, we’ll have two and a half months of now Arsenal matches. So talking as if we’ve played every week for eight months and last is a misnomer.
Regardless of that though we do need to get this weight from around the teams necks. I don’t think it will do them any good to go into the summer off the back of that form. We’ll just have to wait and see if we get the types of performances the quality of player we have deserve tomorrow night and on Sunday.
Right, that’s it from me. More thoughts on the game tomorrow. Until then, adios amigos!