2016 is, thankfully, over.
It was a surreal year, as demonstrated by Webster’s Dictionary picking that very word as their ‘word of the year’.
We watched on as Arsenal blew another title charge. We stood and watched, mouths agape like Harry Kane, as Leicester refused to fall away and went on to prove everyone wrong.
We had Brexit, Trump, an almost daily celebrity death.
Personally, I lost one of the most important people in my life and also had two operations, one of them major.
2016 was a weird year.
But now we’re in 2017, so what can Arsenal fans expect?
Any crystal ball used over the last few seasons would have shown you a re-run of the year before. Our seasons have been so similar over the last decade or so that, save for a few FA Cup wins, it is hard to tell one from another.
But 2017 could be very different indeed.
For a start, Arsene Wenger is out of contract and there is no guarantee that he will sign a new one. Should he opt to leave then we are going to see change at the club on a level not witnessed before by a large section of our fanbase.
We will face uncertainty and insecurity over our star players and the direction of the club.
In short, 2017 has the potential to be even more tumultuous than 2016.
But what if Arsene stays?
Well, it’s hard to see anything changing much.
As much as I want him to be able to lift another Premier League title aloft, it seems very unlikely that he will get to do that. Keeping pace at the start of the season, this season looked like it could be his chance, but we’ve since slipped and now have to make up at least nine points (at the time of writing) on a Chelsea side that are winning every game.
I know it’s only January but it would seem like the title is out of reach. While I won’t give up on it until it is mathematically impossible to win it (I’m an eternal optimist) even I think it will be almost impossible to overtake Chelsea, City and Liverpool at this point.
Up for the cup?
That leaves the cups and, no matter what anyone says, luck plays more than a little role in those – even the Champions League.
The FA Cup gets underway next week and we all know that Arsene loves to win that trophy but the real one he would kill to get his hands on is the Champions League.
While many will look at our next opponents and scoff that we’re heading for an early exit once again, I’m not so sure. Even a stopped clock is right twice a day and the law of averages states that we must surely get a result against Bayern Munich at least one time.
But what of the others in the competition, I hear you cry?! Well, as I said, luck plays a massive part in any cup competition – just ask Chelsea who lucked their way to the trophy in 2012.
Do I think Arsenal will win the Champions League? Probably not.
Is it impossible? Not at all. Some might even argue it’s a lot more possible than the Premier League.
Alas, I fear we will end the 16/17 season trophyless. Cup competitions are too unpredictable to state that we will definitely win one of them and the league looks gone already.
That brings us to the summer and everything that will happen there depends on one thing – Arsene Wenger’s contract.
Should he stay, I expect us to pick up a player or two, probably a big name one, and for next season to play out a similar pattern to this one and the one before and the one before.
But, should Arsene go in the summer then all bets are off. No crystal ball in the universe would be able to tell you how things are going to play out should that happen.