I don’t feel nearly as crushed this morning than I thought I would. I suspect that’s because for a while we all knew how the final day would play out. Man City had won nine in a row in the league and yesterday they played a West Ham side with nothing to play for and with their best player – Jarred Bowen – out injured and not available. West Ham were going to set up to be difficult to break down but ultimately they’ve conceded about a billion goals and so that was a forlorn hope. In the pub after the game yesterday one of the gents I was chatting to said that because City went ahead so quickly and because we were never in a position where even at that moment we were leading the league, it allowed him to come to peace with the inevitable.

I feel the same.

Yesterday was more about celebrating that this Arsenal team has come on leaps and bounds, that they have delivered us a great season (28 wins in the Premier League out of 38 is certainly not to be sniffed at), so in the North London sunshine we could meet up with friends, enjoy the day, then give them a rousing reception.

We did just that.

The atmosphere pre game was lovely. Red shirts everywhere along the Seven Sisters Road and although basically every Arsenal fan I spoke to knew exactly what the reality of the situation was going to be, we were all determined to make a day of it anyway.

I’m not really sure whether it’s worth a true in-depth analysis of the game, but I’ll give it a little bit of one anyway, maybe just for the main points of discussion and then leave it at that. Firstly, whilst we were holding out hope for West Ham and the hope that they would be able to do something they haven’t done all season and remain steadfast and resolute in defence, what we got at the Emirates was an Everton side who were in fact going to be difficult to break down and make it a more challenging afternoon. That’s the Sean Dyche way. They took an age on every goal kick, every throw in, they sat back and time-wasted, whilst trying to hit us on the counter. And it nearly worked as Calvert-Lewin hit the post. But their breakthrough came through a massive slice of fortune as a deflected free kick completely wrong-footed Raya and dropped in to the opposite side of the goal.

It felt like it could be ‘one of those days’.

But they don’t often come around this season and with this Arsenal team and our unlikely hero Tomiyasu was to step up just three minutes later and restore parity. It was a really sweet finish from him too, which is just as well because in the opening 15 minutes he probably should have scored with a header that he put wide whilst unmarked.

There was some forlorn hope when news rippled through that West Ham had scored to bring it back to 2-1, but in the stands I couldn’t really bring myself to believe that we’d see them get a second. Even when there were noises in the second half late on that West Ham had scored a second to make it 3-2, I knew that the reality was that they weren’t going to bag three goals away in Manchester.

So all that was left to do was for us to sign off by winning our game and finishing on how second highest ever Premier League points tally of 89. The irony is that if Man City would have replicated what they did last season, we’d have beaten them on goal difference. That’s the fine margins this season.

We huffed and puffed in that second half and hit the post three times I think before we scored (beer-infused memories are clouding my memory slightly) late with Kai Havertz, but by then we all knew the jig was up. At least we got that scrappy late goal though and Havertz’s finish ensured he’s now bagged 20 goal involvements this season (13 goals and seven assists) and that’s nothing to be sniffed at. I will admit to never seeing him pop up with that contribution but 2024 has been brilliant for him and after being told all season that we needed a striker, Arsenal have scored 91 goals in 38 games, which is three more than last season. But the big takeaway that we’ll all have this season is that defensively we look such a better outfit than last season. in 2023 we conceded 43 goals, whereas this season it was just 29 goals all season. And that deflected one yesterday was super harsh too.

We have the best away record. We have the best defence. We had the best xG differential. We are a team who has now – for two season’s running – taken it to the end of the season in a tussle with 115 Charges FC. We can all be downbeat today but when the dust has settled we’ll be going in to next season as a team that looks like it is on the up and the hope is that next season we can go one better in the league. This season has shown me we aren’t a one-season wonder and although we’re all smarting now, that will soon subside and be replaced by excitement as to what Arteta and his team can do next season.

And that will feel exciting.

There’s not really a lot else to say right now. It’s semi amusing that Man City have just won the league and most people are a bit ‘meh’ about it. The emotionless entity that is up their in Manchester has just completed something historic, but all the memes I see on my social media timelines are of people shrugging. That’s kind of funny when you think about it.

Right, that’s me done for the day, so I’ll be back tomorrow with some more thoughts and probably start to reflect on the season as a whole.

Catch you then.