Tuesday, 31 December 2013

REFLECTIONS AND EXPECTATIONS


AFC Goal Of The Year
 
So, what to make of 2013 for the Arsenal? A trophy-less year again (right that’s that out of the way) but a year that ends with the Gunners on top of the league on 42 points. At the start of the year we lay in 6th on 38 points so that undoubtedly indicates progress. Does this show a decline in standards in the Premier League, as Manchester United began 2013 on top with a massive 59 points followed by Manchester City with 52? Or does it indicate that we have caught up? Maybe it’s a bit of both. Hard to say, but we find ourselves in a healthy position and on balance 2013 shows that statistically we are the years most successful team at accruing league points.

The key to this success may very well be in the new model Arsenal’s capacity to bounce back and string together positive results, this in itself only tells half the story. I think that the chemistry is right within this set of players and with the summer being a stable one for a change there has been opportunity for the squad to grow and, more than that, to connect with the supporters and the spirit of the club.

A number of players who promised much have moved on and the big summer signing certainlt transformed expectation: as did the run at the end of the 12/13 season that saw us clinched that 'up for grabs' UCL spot from under the nose of that lot. 

The Arsenal of Fabregas, Van Persie, Nasri, Song, Eduardo, Gallas and Arshavin may have been a more talented group of players; however, they had a tendency to fold and were more a collection of individualists. The Arsenal of 2013/14 appears to have that all important X factor: resilience. What that resilience will bring us in 2014 is a mystery. I don’t think the Champions League trophy will be hoisted at Islington Town Hall but I feel that the FA Cup is a realistic target and the Premier League, the true test, is achievable. Having said that, it is achievable for maybe four clubs so one step at a time.

Talk of the January transfer window and our managers shopping habits leads to the usual conjecture and this time a lot of people are looking at the purchase of Ozil as a policy change. Cup tied players and pricing are major factors and quality acquisitions arriving at Arsenal in Januarys past have been limited to Reyes and Arshavin so no one knows if we can expect fresh recruits.

If we retain the consistency of 2013 we can achieve something and a trophy may well be the catalyst for what is a pretty young squad to grab a slice of Arsenal history. Only time will tell but things feel better at the Arsenal and let’s hope that continues.


Happy New Year

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