There have been a number of reports over the last few days suggesting that Arsenal have agreed terms with Gonzalo Higuain over his potential transfer to the Emirates from Real Madrid. It was also thought that the transfer fee had been settled at around £20 million. Whether this is is true or not, we don’t know, but even if it is true, that does not mean the transfer will definitely happen.
The fans and former players of Arsenal will all have been pleased about the way the Gunners fought back from a seemingly impossible situation to clinch fourth place in the Premier League, qualifying for the Champions League and finishing above our north London rivals again.
As the dust settles, though, and we start to take stock, there are certainly concerns. The thing that really gets under the skin of the former Arsenal striker Ian Wright, is that the trophy drought has continued. Wright, as an Arsenal fan, understands the importance of beating Tottenham, but that gap in silverware is embarrassing, especially for a club of our size.
There was very little to play for in most of the games yesterday, which is why the Arsenal v Newcastle game and the Tottenham v Sunderland game were shown simultaneously on Sky sports. The papers and football websites have been building up the tension between the two north London rivals and saying just how important fourth place in the Premier League was.
Most of the season we have been told, with relish, by the media that this is the spuds’ year and that it indicates a momentum or power shift and all that sort of twaddle. When the Gunners lost at White Hart Lane, nobody in the media or any of the football pundits gave us a chance. Surely, only a miracle could save us now.
It has been a testing time for everybody concerned with Arsenal Football Club this season, but the players made sure that it finished with a bang by beating Newcastle United at St. James’ Park yesterday. You could see the elation and relief on the faces of the Gunners and the Gooners who had traveled to see the game, but we really must do better next season.
From the position that Arsenal were in at the beginning of March, it has been a remarkable achievement. Morale was at rock bottom after a Champions League humbling by Bayern Munich and we were seven points adrift of the spuds after losing at White Hart Lane. We had also just been knocked out of the FA cup by Blackburn Rovers, so Wenger and the players did brilliantly to come back from that.
A HUGE THANK YOU TO SPURS….. by RI
………….well, exactly where do we start?
A huge thank you from Arsenal to Bale FC and it’s fans is as good a place as any I think. So, here goes:
Thanks for the “entertainment” you have given us over the last season.
Thanks for your constant bleating about being better than us.
Thanks for beating us 2-1 at WHL in March and for kick-starting our winning run.
Thanks to AVB and saying we were on a downward spiral whereas his team were upward.
Thanks for the sight of the crowd at WHL yesterday jumping celebrating deliriously when they thought Newcastle had scored.
A Case for the Arsenal defence by Dan S
When Per Mertesacker twice inexplicably played Spurs onside to score against Arsenal at the beginning of March, few thought he would end up one of our heroes in the race for 4th. Nor Laurent Koscielny, who was on the bench at White Hart Lane having spent much of the season as our third choice centre back.
That result in the North London Derby left many writing off our Champions League hopes, coming so soon after domestic cup defeats and a first leg drubbing at the hands of Bayern Munich, few thought we had the spirit or character to put the run together we would now need to close the seven point gap between ourselves and Tottenham.
Jack Wilshere is heading for a small operation in the summer to remove a pin from his ankle, but is still expected to play some part in today’s game against Newcastle due to the injury to Mikel Arteta.
He admits that this game is so crucial that there may be a few nerves amongst the Arsenal players, but says they just have to calm and professional to make sure of the three points, no matter what happens in the Tottenham game.
“The mood has got to be one of excitement because we know that if we win, we’re going to be playing in the Champions League or the Champions League qualifier at the beginning of next season,” Wilshere said on Arsenal.com.
Arsene Wenger is famous for finishing in the Top Four, and more importantly for Arsenal fans, always finishing above our rivals Tottenham in every season since he arrived at the club.
Tony Adams, who was a big factor in Arsenal’s glory days under Wenger, has no doubt that the Gunners will win today and carry on that fine tradition of St. Totteringhams Day!
Adamssaid: “I am sure Tottenham will beat Sunderland. That will mean Arsenal have to win at Newcastle, but they have the capability to do that with the goal potential in the team.
If you could bottle what it is that makes Arsenal put in a storming run at the end of the season, you would be a rich man. While Tottenham generally choke at the end to leave them disappointed and out of the Champions League, the Gunners come good and get the results we need, despite a mountain of pressure.
Arsene Wenger has been under severe strain at times this season, and it has shown. Now, however, he is positively relishing the situation and maybe that has transferred on to the players. Either side of the break on Tuesday, Wigan were looking good and the nerves were creeping in to the Arsenal team, but they responded brilliantly and now have to do it just one more time.
It has been very impressive the way Arsenal have handled the pressure on them this season. From a morale sapping defeat to the hated spuds, Arsenal were left seven points adrift and it seemed like this would be the year Tottenham finally finished above us.
Maybe we should thank AVB, because the spuds’ croaky voiced manager’s gloating claims of a downward spiral for Arsenal had the opposite effect and we are now back in the driving seat. Arsenal have one game left to secure the Champions League place and there seems to be excitement and eagerness to get on with the job, rather than pressure and concern.
It certainly gives the Arsenal players something to think about as we approach one of the most important final days of the Premier League in years, at least as far as the three teams involved are concerned. After City snatching the title from United in the most dramatic fashion last year, this year will be all about the battle for third and fourth place.
The season could even be extended if Arsenal win by one goal and Chelsea draw, scoring two less than us. So a 2-1 win for Arsenal and a 0-0 draw for them would mean we are tied on points, goal difference and goals scored. Instead of going on head-to-head record, the Premier League rules state thatb there would be a play-off to determine who finished third. Tottenham, as usual, do not get a look-in, a bit like the Champions League.
Paolo Di Canio appreciation thread by NS
According to respected (and usually accurate) British news outlet, BBC, Paolo Di Canio really wants Sunderland to put in 100% against Gareth Bale FC.
He feels his team should honour our efforts against Wigan, which saved his club from the threat of relegation, with a performance against Spurs. A real case of you scratch my back…
Just look at this quote from Paolo:
“I told them we can win, draw or lose with dignity, respecting the club’s name and the fans. But if not, I will reduce their holiday,”