Unai faced the media yesterday and as usual never really said anything of interest, also not confirming whether Cech will play his last game of the season tomorrow against Brighton.
I’d like to say that Brighton will have nothing to play for if they are safe, but Palace didn’t, which didn’t stop us from absolutely sh*tting the bed. So even when tomorrow’s game comes around I’m not going to be especially looking forward to it with expectation that we’re definitely going to win.
He did sound like he’s putting a positive and hopeful face on the chances of top four but as I’ve already said, I think we’ve blown it this season, because Chelski aren’t losing to Watford or Leicester and I think they will go on to win both games. It could have been in our hands but the defeat to Crystal Palace was probably the nail in the coffin of our top four aims and when we look back and reflect on the season I have a nagging feeling that it will be the game that we look at as the one that cost us.
It’s probably a little late to be making an evaluation of our season domestically but if I consider that we’re closer to the top four than last season, but still have made it hard work at times and with one of the poorest top four run ins I’ve seen it does feel as though we’ve blown it. It feels like two steps forward and one step back because ultimately it has been progress but we just haven’t made it as well as we thought we might.
Still, let’s not close the door on this season just yet and hopefully we can beat Brighton to give ourselves at least a mathematical chance of top four on the final day.
It will be helpful if both Auba and Laca are there to see us do it though. The latter has just won the player of the season award and I have to say I think it is probably warranted. When Aubameyang arrived in January last year we all thought it would be the end of Lacazette but he fought to keep his place, has had a very good season, scoring some important goals. Like Auba he’s also missed some important goals but let’s just focus on the positives now because in him and Aubameyang we have some fantastic finishers with whom we would not be anywhere near the top four or in the semi final of the Europa League without.
I would have to say my favourite goal that stands out is the one against the Tiny Totts at home. Auba had managed to level us at 2-2 when Laca twisted and turned and although he got a bit fortunate with the deflection, the feeling of elation to put us 3-2 up was immense. It was one of the highs of the season so good on the Frenchman for helping deliver to us.
I wasn’t sure about him last season. He seemed to have a bit of a dip in form midway through and then also picked up an injury that needed some surgery, but he’s adapted his game so well to the English league now. He’s not as rapid as Auba but he’s very strong for a small lad and can ride tackles of defenders. He’s quite a robust centre forward but he has surprisingly good feet and can often get himself out of tight situations with the ball still in tact in front of him.
And he’s flourished with Auba I think. We still need to find the backing singers in midfield and out wide to compliment them both, but the fact that they’ve both banged in as many as they’ve had shows that at the top end of the pitch it isn’t where our problems have been. We all know it’s been at the back, but it’s also been in the contribution behind them, because Ramsey aside we really haven’t seen enough of some of our creative players.
Iwobi has four goals and six assists all season and for a top six team that simply isn’t enough. Mkhi has six and six. Those two players should be hitting double figures for at least goals or assists and the fact they haven’t shows you why we should probably be looking at going in another direction when it comes to our wide products. I would love to see them both succeed but we’re not talking about one off poor seasons now, this has been a couple of years for them both (if you also include Mkhi’s time at United) and personally I think the club should move on in the summer. Whether not not that happens I’m doubtful because of all of the other players that will be moved on. But we shall see.
And that is me for another day folks. Off to do a spot of spinning and then afternoon drinking.