Arsene Wenger has certainly been feeling the pressure of the state of the affairs of his team over the past couple of games, and rather than respond with any fiery defence of the present, he has asked to be judged on the outcome of the future.
Don’t judge me now, wait till May was what the Frenchman was reported as saying.
It has been a disappointing season for all Gunners, and there is no nice way to sugar coat it. After the ecstatic of May the 27th, nothing was beyond the scope of imagination to a gooner. It was a new dawn, the darkness spent in the emptiness of the last decade finally obliterated by that glorious Wembley day. The acquisition of an improved financial status gave us voice to acclaim that not only are we out of the shadow of our rival heavy spenders who have kept us suppressed over the past years, we could go on to do what the biggest clubs in the world could do.
It began well, with the signing of Alexis Sanchez and the Chilean has delivered on every pence. But it was not enough, as the defensive frailties which have been our standing hallmark for the past years have still haunted us. Injuries have been customary, but even the standards set early this season have gone a notch further up the scale.
Chelsea, United, City, Everton, Spurs and even Stoke have all being played, none defeated. 6th place after nearly half of the games played. It all looks made up for another top four battle, with even more contenders in Southampton, West Ham and Newcastle. After an off-season that promised so much, it is only right that questions should be asked, constructive criticisms made, and opinions shared. It’s called for some level of judgement.
Yet, Wenger says “judge not” till May.
Perhaps, he has a point, if history could bail him out. Stats do not often tell the whole story – and they almost always boring to read – but we will have a quick glance through to give Wenger a chance.
Over the past five seasons – last been an exception – Wenger has probably preferred to go the route of the regular University student, who ‘knows’ he’s good enough to pass the exams when they come and so chooses to bother less about studying during the semester. After 13 – 14 games in the two seasons leading up to last, we consistently floated at 7th place, with the likes of Newcastle and West Brom ahead of us in fourth spot. While Newcastle finished the 10/11 season in the Europa League places while we finished third, the Baggies ended up with 22 less points at 8th place, while we secure fourth spot.
I wish we didn’t have to prove all this just to back Wenger that we would still make fourth spot rather than aiming for the League. A club like ours should be meeting expectations on every Matchday, otherwise we should all turn our sets off, buy no tickets, and wait for the final day of the season.
West Ham and Southampton will likely spiral down to 7th and 8th place at the end of the season, but even a top four place for us may not be very certain, simply based on yester years. Every crash comes with a sign, and though we still expect to make it, maybe we have given ourselves too much right to that position.
As we ‘cannot’ win the Champions League, and may ‘struggle’ to retain the FA Cup, Wenger will be judged again by the minimum – a top four finish – and though we are currently no there now, there are still 23 games to settle the difference.
So we keep our eyes fixed on today, but make the final say in May.
Follow oohtobeagooner on Facebook
for more latest Arsenal transfer news, injury news, team news and rumours.