By Walter Broeckx
After last nights match between Hull (who we will play next Monday) and Liverpool the league table is this
1. Chelsea 33 played 77 points
2. Man City 34 played 67 points
3. Arsenal 33 played 67 points
4. Man Utd 34 played 65 points
5. Liverpool 34 played 58 points
6. Tottenham 34 played 58 points
7. Southampton 34 played 57 points
Now the most astonishing thing yesterday evening when seeing this league table I suddenly realised that this weekend we could be celebrating at least the non-existing 4th place trophy. This could even happen before we play our match. If Liverpool, the totts and Southampton cannot win their match we will be out of reach for them. And even if they win, a win from us at Hull would secure 4th place. Theoretically they could still overtake us then if we would lose all our matches and they would start winning their 3 remaining matches with a goal difference of 7 or 8 goals each time. So very unlikely.
So can you imagine going in to the last day of the season and don’t really have to worry about will we make it in to 4th place or not? Maybe we got other things to bite our nails for on the last day of the season? But it will not be to just get us in to 4th place this time.
And then we have that other bit of funny thing for Arsenal supporters. Once again it seems that will happen again. Once again our little neighbours stay where they belong: in our shadow. Oh how big the joy on that first match day of February. And yes there was gnashing of teeth in the red part of London. There was the usual outcry from the aaa-types after we lost our local derby. But it seemed that not for the first time the tiny totts put so much energy in that one match (that only counts for 3 points) and after winning that match they were empty and finished. In just 2 months we went from 1 point behind them, to now 9 in front of them. With a game in hand.
So next Monday could be St. Totteringhamsday. An early one this year compared to some of the last seasons. But for us Arsenal supporters it will be once again a nice moment in our local rivalry.
But one more important conclusion can be drawn from this season as it seems to be unfolding right now. That is that with one more win Arsenal will be sure of entering the CL (last qualification round at least). That will be 20 seasons of non stop qualification for European tournaments for Arsenal. Not even Manchester United can say this over the same time period. And that is only thanks to one person…yes Arsène Wenger.
He is the man that kept us there. Despite having to do it for some 10 years with no money to spend at all.
And just how difficult that is can be seen when we look at two teams who have come close to making it in to Europe over the last years, who have had a few good seasons, sold their best player for lots of money and then ….wasted all that money on new players and failing to improve themselves as a team with using that money in a good way.
The tiny Totts had one outstanding season with Bale carrying them to fight with us till the last day. The day Newcastle equalised according to the lovable Lord Sugar remember. They sold Bale and then the word was out that they would overtake us because they had bought all those new shiny players that Wenger should have bought. The aaa-cried and shouted but Wenger took his team above the tiny Totts at the end of the season. Since then managers went and came at the training ground of that former Middlesex team but they still are in our shadow. In fact they always come and go at high speed over there.
And let us look at Liverpool. After years of failure (imagine if this had happened to Arsenal) and finishing around 6th place they thought they had the title wrapped up last season. Suarez biting the ball and scoring freely but then it all went wrong when their captain slipped up. They came second, cashed in on Suarez and spend all the money on players Wenger should have bought. That was at least what the aaa was shouting. Balotelli anyone?
And now as things stand now and looking good for the 4 teams in the top 4 and almost being sure of being in the CL next season we can only notice that you can get close one season to achieving this but it takes more than one top player performing on an amazing level for one season to do it year in year out.
In fact what it most of all takes is a manager that is working together with the board to have the long term goal in mind. Our board is working for the long term and has its goal. And our manager is also working for the long term. As he once said that when he stops at Arsenal he wants to make sure that the club is on a higher level than when he came in and that is exactly what he has been doing and is still doing.
How many times have the aaa shouted that we should get Rodgers, Pochettino, Martinez, Moyes and sack Wenger. But where are they all? Yes they can beat Wenger on occasion but the league is a marathon and in the long run Wenger is getting the better of them. Almost each and every season.
Come on Gunners, Monday would be a great moment to celebrate St. Totteringhamsday. Hull will be no pushover as Liverpool just found out. Be prepared and make us proud. And make us happy. 6 more finals to go this season. Finishing second and the FA cup to finish the season would be great for me.
And then bring on next season…I admit that I do have real great hopes for next season. Just avoid the injuries (are you reading Mike?) and maybe this time around we will be having a gap as big as Chelsea has now. This team is nearly there I feel. Just let Wenger do his job and get behind the team even when they drop a point of have a lesser match. This team is close to achieving great things. Real close.