When I said I would do the Arsenal end of year review I thought I’d know what to say.
But when I stopped to look back over the last 12 months I realised how huge this year had been for me off the pitch, so much of which overshadowed what Arsenal were doing on it.
As a result of a painful family loss plus two surgeries and the drugs that come along with that, most of 2016 seems like a haze to me, but when it comes to Arsenal, one thing stands out above all else – it was just more of the same.
Sure, we dipped into the transfer market five times and seemed to address some of the major problems in our squad, if not all of them, but still the same problems dogged this side. When it mattered most, when it really, REALLY mattered, they were found wobbling and wanting.
It’s easy to forget, as we sit here having played poorly in the last few matches, that we were right in the title mix this time last year. But a year is a long time in football and while Leicester have, predictably, fallen away this season, Chelsea have become stronger than anyone expected.
With no European football to distract them, both Chelsea and Liverpool were always going to be a force this season in the league, while City would expect nothing less. The second half of 2016 was always going to be tougher than the first by virtue of the calibre of managers arriving in the summer.
Arsenal, it seems, now need to look at changing more than just their personnel if they are to have ambitions of winning the league again.
I’ve said it many times, I would truly love nothing more than to see Arsene Wenger hold aloft that Premier League trophy but there has to be a point, when the same failings repeat time and time again no matter who is in the side, that we ask, ‘is Arsene the problem?’
I know there are many out there who’ve been asking this question for years, from way too early if you ask me. But their numbers have swollen over recent seasons and as we enter the second half of another season in a brand new year, their numbers are poised to grow again.
We sit on the cusp of mighty changes at Arsenal in 2017 and there is no need to look back at another Groundhog year. What we need to do is look forward and the question we all need to ask ourselves is, ‘are we really ready?’