So, the start of the new season looms. Girlfriends are booking all the time they can now before they lose their boyfriends for another nine months. Viewing centres are renewing their cable subscriptions, betting centres are rubbing their hands in glee and normalcy is about to return to the world.
This summer I must say has been way better than last summer. This summer we had the world cup (and what a world cup it was), Arsene went into Bankai mode and has so far purchased four shiny new toys which we’ll then proceed to play with and drool over.
Woody (Ozil) is out and Buzz Lightyear (Alexis) is in! Last season we were able to tie Rosicky, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Santi and the Welsh Jesus to new contracts, so there has really been a lot to be grateful for this summer.
This time last summer, we had signed Yaya Sanogo (A legendary football manager player) and resigned Flamini and had somehow lost out on Higuiain, lost out on Lestat Suarez much to the ire of most of the Arsenal fanbase especially those that were hoping we’d sign Messi right after.
So last summer wasn’t great and then we went ahead and lost to Aston Villa on the opening day, that didn’t help matters did it. Suddenly Arsenal fans were like this:
We went on to have a bit of a bitter-sweet campaign…
But we won the cup! I remember that day vividly, I was trembling, I couldn’t type a single word on my mobile phone for at least an hour after the game.
Enough of that; so the question is – Can we win this season? Has there been any progress?
Well, here’s the thing; on a numerical level alone, the only new player is Alexis. Debuchy was a replacement for Bacary Sagna, Ospina for Fabianski, Chambers for Jenkinson and if we do get a centre half (I believe we will) he’ll be a replacement for Vermaelen and I have heard arguments that this means that there hasn’t been much progress.
While numerically we might have only Alexis as a new player, all the other players we have purchased are upgrades to the ones that left. Here’s how they stacked up last season:
I decided not to compare Fabianski and Ospina, as Ospina played way more games than Fabianski and therefore the stats would be terribly skewed, but I think we can all agree that a first team player with Nice and Colombia’s first choice goalkeeper is an upgrade to Fabianski.
We also have to take into consideration the fact that now the players have actually won something and there’s the winner’s mentality that comes from that and from a positive summer. The summer has had a good effect on the players and I’m confident that they will raise their game accordingly.
The ‘Ozil’ effect was what it was called last season. I believe there’s a psychological reaction to playing with world class players that makes the players around them want to play better. Look at the comments Kieran Gibbs made last season
“It’s positive for us and a signing like Ozil is going to push our squad forward because you don’t want to let him down,”
“You want to perform for him and he will take us to the next level. He’s really enjoying himself. He looks very determined and happy and he’s a humble boy as well.
(Courtesy of news.arseblog.com)
He made similar statements in relation to Alexis, so you get a sense that the players want to step up their game to impress the new talent. When you take into account that players like Ramsey, Wilshere, Gibbs, Oxlade-Chamberlain and Walcott are all going to improve and contribute, it’s all very exciting. So, I feel there’s a lot to be optimistic about.
Can we win the league though?
Here’s where it gets tricky. For the most part, I’m happy with the business done. I feel we are still lacking a central defender and a defensive minded midfielder. I’m pretty sure Arsene will clear up the first issue, so I worry about the second.
With the naming of Aterta as captain you get a sense that no one else is coming in from that side. I know people will argue that Vermaelen was captain and was benched, but I want to remind everyone that when Vermaelen was first named captain he was very much a first team player—till he lost form and got injured.
Arsene knows best I guess, but looking at our rivals and the way they too have strengthened; The chavs have done some great business by signing Old man Costa and a balding Fabregas, they also got the bandana wearing Filipe Luis and of course the lion of Gibraltar Drogba. With their already really good team, you have to say they’re favorites to win the league. We might have trounced Man city in the community shield, but they have stability and some savvy additions including our own Bacary Sagna (and Ludivine)
They got Fernando (who looks like an evil Gilberto Silva) and Mangala (which sounds like a bigger rip off than David Luiz for €50m) They look like a team that could take second place. In my view (which I’m sure will be quite unpopular) we look like we will be Third.
Now please note that what I just said in the paragraph above is my objective view, what my head says, but my heart (and I think that’s what really matters) says we can definitely win it. So I guess what I’m trying to say when I ask the question ‘can we win the league?’ is a resounding YES!!! And I hope to God we do, but my feeling’s that this will be a fun season.
Right, I guess that’s enough rambling for one day, we’ll see when we see.
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