1: We have by far the best song in football, ever.
The choreography was perfect – which is not something you often hear in relation to Arsenal. But it was. At the final moment just before kickoff when we thought the next thing we would hear would be the opening blast of the referee’s whistle, the club played “North London Forever” and the whole crowd (except the visiting supporters and those in the boxes) joined in. It was a huge sound, a magnificent sound, and a brilliant, moving start to the game.
I can’t imagine anyone would be silly enough not to make this a permanent feature. It is relevant, it is unique, and it is ours.
2: Replacing the whole defence in one summer is a gamble and a half
And not just replacing them all but doing it within the youngest team in the league.
In the end, we had the eighth-best defence in the league conceding 48 goals whereas in 2020/21 we had the third-best defence in the league conceding 39 goals. So £150m spent, and we conceded nine more, which was not good. On the other hand, they are the youngest defence, and really we don’t need to tinker with them anymore.
In fact, 48 goals was the same as we conceded in 2019/20 so taking it that this young defence will get better has to be a core belief.
Alarmingly we got 60 yellow cards this season whereas in 2020/21 it was 47. Sorting out the disaster of 2019/20 when we had 86 cards was part of Arteta’s great step forward, so seeing the number rise up by 28% is indeed worrying. Sorting the card problem out last season gave Arsenal that brilliant last two thirds of the season, and we can’t let that triumph slip away.
3. Players scoring in double figures
At the end of the 2017/18 season Amy Lawrence, who wrote virtually all the Arsenal stories for the Guardian at the time, notoriously announced that Arsenal’s disaster was that the club had only two scoring in double figures. It took Untold Arsenal to point out that only one club had more than two such players.
I’ve no idea what Ms Lawrence thinks now of that ludicrous, deliberately misleading statement, but maybe she will recognise that this season once again we had three players scoring in double figures: Saka, Smith Rowe, and Eddie.
Of course in the end, what really matters is the number of goals scored, and having only the fifth-best attack in the league explained why we couldn’t get into the top four this season. So if, as suggested everywhere, Eddie is leaving, we need someone who can continue with the double-figure goal scoring. And if that becomes 20 goals rather than Eddie’s ten, so much the better.
4. Ødegaard is a superb captain
He is the link between the manager and the team, the two constantly talking through the games of which he played 36. Only Saka, Gabriel, Ramsdale and White played more.
5: The media will not touch the issue of the referee crisis even with overwhelming statistical evidence.
The disparity between home wins and away wins, and the fact that it reversed during the period when no crowds were allowed in the stadium, plus the academic research which showed how crowds affect refereeing judgement, was the nail in the coffin of PGMO. This season’s figures showing that the majority of PGMO referees have reverted to favouring the home team since crowds returned also will not and indeed cannot be discussed by the media. Bsically it seems to be down to us.
6: The club is learning from its mistakes
Gunnersaurous came back for the last game of the season. I don’t know if the same guy was inside the costume, but at least having the kiddies on the pitch kicking goals was a tiny step in the right direction.
7: The FA is untouchable
The Euro final was one of the biggest organisational disasters in the history of football this century, but the FA sail on unmoved and uncriticised. If the body isn’t overthrown following that fiasco, nothing will do it.
8: You can’t replace the whole defence and put out the youngest team in the league and get top four.
We nearly got there but it was too much too quickly. But next season…
9: We need to break the bad run ritual.
We had four rotten spells in the league this season – five if you count the two defeats in May. But if just one of those defeats had been a victory we would have been fourth this season. If two of them had been victories we would have been third. We just need to stop those runs – or at least make them two-match runs rather than three-match runs.
10: VAR is a disaster
It takes far too long and disrupts the game. Yes, let us have VAR, but it must be possible to do it much more quickly.
- All change with PGMO and the refs.. But what change?
- The last five years proves one big thing: nothing is guaranteed.
- Injuries Time to sack Tierney according to one part of the media
- Next season starting lineup and the new Financial Fair Play rules
- The huge bias of referees is proven. PGMO and media fight back.