The Premier League is finally over and for Arsenal fans everywhere, I’m sure that comes as nothing but a relief.
Yes, there’s still the FA Cup final to go but that is different. That’s a tournament untainted this season, one that Unai Emery has been nowhere near and where Arsenal exist on a different footballing plane.
It says a lot that one of the highlights of our season was Mike Dean’s face in the final league game against Watford when he had to give Arsenal a penalty, but it tells us nothing we didn’t already know.
We deservedly finished 8th and it’s our worst league campaign for 25 years. Still, at least nobody will be making any top four jokes for a while.
We also managed to finish with a positive goal difference. For a long part of the season, we had conceded more goals than points collected. The fact that it ended at +8 lends a nice symmetry to the season, I think.
There is certainly much for Mikel and co. to do over the next month-and-a-bit before football returns, not that it has even gone away yet. There are players we must get rid of, those we should ship out and others we need to get to stay.
On top of that, they’ve got to replace the players they sell, find out how to teach the rest of the players at the club to play like professional footballers and work out how to move the club back towards what we were promised throughout the Austerity Years.
I have absolutely no clue what the club are planning for this summer and I suspect much still hinges on the result next week at Wembley. Win and we have European football at the club. Lose and, well, we don’t.
Personally, I think Arteta could do without a year focusing on four competitions that delivers a hellish Thursday-Sunday-Thursday schedule, but that’s just me and I don’t need the money. Well, I do, but you know what I mean.
Liverpool used their time out of Europe wisely. Arsenal could do the same. One season with only domestic issues to focus on could well be what they need to get them back to Europe’s top table.
The trick, however, is to convince the players it’s a plan worth getting on board with and to convince the board to back Arteta with the players to do it.
So many questions mean it certainly won’t be a dull close-season. Whether or not it’s a happy one remains to be seen but, for now, the league is done and Arsenal are on top again.
League is over, stop living in the past.
— Daily Cannon (@DailyCannon) July 26, 2020
It’s the small things, you know…