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Thursday, 16 May 2013

Time to 'finish the job'

Right, this is only going to be a quick one. It's been about two weeks since my last post, which followed the draw against Man United. The reasons for the drought in writing are twofold:

Firstly, the last weeks of Arsenal's seasons for the past couple of years have not been the most exciting of times. This year, as before the team have hit a good run of form and are still plugging away at gaining qualification for the Champions League next term. As such there are not too many interesting developments to speak of.

Secondly and most importantly, it's that time of year again and I've been stuck revising for my exams therefore having to limit my football-related outpourings to 140 character tweets.

Now with just one game of the season remaining and for Arsenal at least, everything still to play for, I am signing off until the end of May, by which time the football season will be well and truly over (unless Arsenal and Chelsea have to play a third-place playoff) as will my exams.

In the meantime I'm going to have to keep my recent musings on Arsenal's strengths, weaknesses and summer prospects to myself, and will probably unleash a tirade of pent-up poorly-structured stream of consciousness shortly after leaving the exam hall at the end of the month (I may also be drunk at this time).

By that time we will know which of Arsenal Chelsea and Spurs has finished 3rd, 4th and 5th in the league. Everything else that matters in English football has already been decided. United have won the league and City are ending up a not-so-close second. Everton finish sixth and Liverpool seventh (actually an improvement on last year for both). QPR and Reading were realistically relegated months ago and Wigan are the team that will join them in next year's Championship.

Sorry Wigan. Like most people seem to be all of a sudden, I am sympathetic to Wigan, not because they play 'great attacking football' (which seems a popular overstatement of late) but because their story of resilience and drama over the past few seasons has been refreshing. I hope they make a speedy return, though as Wolves have demonstrated, it's dog eat dog in the Championship.

All that now remains for Arsenal is, in Wenger's words, for them to 'finish the job'. Victory at Newcastle will not be as easy as Alan Pardew has made out but if we pull it off we are in the Champions League next season. If fate really was smiling on the club then Chelsea would slip up and Arsenal could even nip into third place, though this is less likely. The season is very much not over yet for three out of twenty clubs.

There have been good omens from recent games, with the team really starting to play like one. The last few fixtures have seen good team performances and it seems we are relying on individuals less and less (ahem - apart from Santi's 4 assists on Tuesday).

Giroud will be back from suspension this weekend but I think on the back of a convincing 4-1 victory in which he scored twice, Podolski should retain his place. Unless of course he's too tired.

I repeat that Newcastle away, despite their current league position will not be an easy game. Newcastle is the city in which I currently reside and I know that the home crowd on the last day of the season will really be urging their team on to make amends for a fairly awful nine months of football. It also wouldn't be the first time they've spoilt our party.

Hopefully the players will stay as focused as they have been in recent matches and Chelsea (maybe tired from their Europa Cup win tonight) will be less than focused, and at the final whistle on Sunday we can all breathe a sigh of relief.

If not my mood will be even worse when I have to tackle a two-hour exam first thing Monday morning. So I'll echo Wenger in urging the boys to 'finish the job': St Totteringham's Day has been too long in the coming this year.

I'll be back in two weeks' time.


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