Morning fellow Gooners, how we all doing? I know for everybody time moves at a different pace; for some people this week is probably dragging on, for others – like me – it is absolutely speeding by. I can’t believe it’s Wednesday today and before you know it we’re going to be knocking down the door of the Saturday match day and the associated butterflies that come with it.

I have to tell you, I’m starting to get apprehensive about this game at home to Brentford. They are a good team, a team in form, a side with whom we’ve had our noses bloodied already since their recent arrival in the league. Sure, we swatted them to one side in the game at their ground earlier in the season, but after our little wobble against Everton last weekend, I’m at the point in which I’m starting to get very worried that we could be about to see a blip in the team.

One thing I will say, however, is that so far this season we have reacted to any setbacks quite well. The defeat at Old Trafford was followed up by a 2-1 away to Zurich and then the Brentford win. If we can replicate the disappointment of that loss against United in the same way and to the same opponent in the shape of the Bees this Saturday afternoon, that will provide the perfect tonic for the nerves I currently have building ahead of the game. I also wonder if there is an element of the unknown this season; we haven’t had a game in which we haven’t played well, lost, which was also then part of back-to-back losses, so it is occupying a lot of my Arsenal thoughts right now. That could all be washed away depending on how we start and if we get an early goal at the weekend, but I need to hold back some of my pre match thoughts as I’ll probably bore you all to death if I start showing my workings this early in the week.

So instead I’ll turn to other news bubbling around and for those of you who aren’t season ticket holders or located near the Arsenal for this to impact them, this will probably be of no interest. But as a season ticket holder I feel compelled to give my view. The club announced yesterday that they are reducing the number of games for which the season ticket will cover holders for, from 26 matches in a season to 22. Normally that 26 games means that you get the first seven cup games after the 19 Premier League games included in your ticket. For me that has always given me the opportunity to go to some big games and not pay extra over and above the usual price of a ticket if I bought it at the game-by-game price. So if we’re in the Champions League quarter final against Dortmund, then my ticket might cover it and it would average out at just over £35. For my seat in Category A matches (the big ones), I pay £66 if my ticket doesn’t cover it. So whilst on one hand this will enable some fans who find it a struggle justifying the full spend on a ticket a challenge to be able to keep their season ticket, for those who want to go to all of the games, we will once again find ourselves out of pocket.

That’s because next season – assuming we make the Champions League – we will get the group stages and that’s it. No additional FA Cup ties, no additional Champions League games. And let’s remember that by the time you get in to the Champions League knockouts, the chances of facing a bigger side – and therefore Category A game, increase significantly. So whilst the club might position this as a move to think of the cost of living crisis and give people options, for a fan like me it could potentially end up costing me another £50+ more a season on top of the money I already spend, because that game example of Dortmund at home in the Quarter final that I gave, now costs £66 instead of the season-ticket inclusive price of roughly £35. That’s why a few people are frustrated I think and I have to include myself in this too.

I haven’t even mentioned that there will be a 6% increase for my ticket. Which will work out at my ticket being an additional £50 more for the season. So all in all if we go deep in competitions, I think I will have to pay an average of £100 more next season on the price of my ticket. That’s more than inflation. In fact it is more than 10% increase in the overall season ticket price when you bring it all together.

I get that there is inflation, I really do, and I get that the club can’t freeze prices forever, but I don’t want anyone to be under the illusion that this is anything more than a bit of extra money going in to the coffers, rather than the club putting fans first. If every one of the 42,000 season ticket holders are in the same boat as me, it’s £4.2million going in to the club. Is that just to cover inflation costs? Seems a lot to me…

Now, I don’t want to end today’s blog on a negative though, because what they are doing for young fans by reducing the prices for under 25s is a good idea. I wish they’d have done that when I was that age but there you go, they’re doing it now. And the wraps around the stadium look very good. There are some ways in which the club really get it right and the connection they build with us in some of this stuff is really good. But there are just some instances where there are a collective of fans – us ‘legacy fans’ – that just feel like we’re being drained of yet more cash at a time in which many are feeling the pinch.

I said I didn’t want to end the blog on a negative and then I threw in a ‘yeah but..’!! So how’s about this:

Top of the league, five points clear, praying for us to make it eight points by the time I go out to dinner on Saturday night!

Catch you all tomorrow.