Thanks to Dan for this little beauty.
So, an excellent news post for you this morning.
My major concern with the form that's been going off over the past few months was that it was all an illusion. The curse of the injuries earlier on in the season was the gift in the latter half because the time out for the players brought them back stronger and fresher for the run in.
The tactics could have been a bit of a fluke...
The whole scenario just feels ever so Arsenal. Put a run together when the league is beyond our reach. Win the calendar year league for the second season running. Win the second leg of the Champions League and get ourselves all sad that we were so damn close...
... and it's all about the maybes.
... the what ifs?
... the hope, that maybe, we can become a team that can compete for a season rather than a calendar year.
Well, some positive news that floated my way, and look, positive news from a good place rarely floats my way. The news is that this team is for real.
It's not an illusion. This is genuine deep rooted progress we're seeing. The vibe is that next year, we'll go very close for the league.
The little things going on behind the scenes that Rosicky spoke about last week are geared around more focus on the opposition and a more serious approach to video analysis. The players are learning how to play under different scenarios. They're starting to learn from their mistakes. They're being given the tools to approach games with more knowledge, they're being given the time to go through their mistakes. Pressing Liverpool into giving the ball to their two centre backs was a plan...
I think it's clear that the fitness challenge is being dealt with as well. Having so many players fit at this stage of the season isn't a fluke, the new man is now front and centre, which is really exciting.
... so there we have it. An old dog can learn new tricks, or in this case, cede responsibility for driving things forward and pass it over to the team to take care of. I'm eating humble pie on this one. I didn't think it'd be possible, but apparently, it totally is.
I've no idea what the steer is going to be in the summer, but bank on Schneiderlin being our man for sure. I don't think the interest of Chelsea is going to dissuade him. Don't get too excited about Petr Cech though, I think Ospina has done enough to make a genuine claim on that number one jersey. He's not the best in the league, he probably won't ever be, but you can't deny that he's had a major impact on the side. The players seem to like him for a start. He instills a calm on the defence and he hasn't made many mistakes... which is pretty good going considering how bad many keepers are in their first seasons.
I can't see much change happening at the back, though Liverpool might take Jenks off our hands... if we threw Theo into the mix we might be able to take shisha loving Sterling. But who knows on that front. I think there will be an inside forward.
I am going to have to kill the vibe of this post a bit, Ivan Gazidis has gone all negative in the press.
“We are not happy but we are going to keep pushing to the end and see how far we can go.”
Jeez Ivan, where is the #TeamPostiveGooners in you?
Strong words though. Ambitious rumblings. I like that though. Second is an achievement and we should be thrilled if we land it this year, but let's not forget what we're here to do... win the league. Win the Champions League. Becoming and elite club. We don't want to be everyone's favourite club. We want to be hated because we're incredible.
Feels like we're moving in a very positive direction. I have no complaints... and you know I live for the complaints. When I'm being told it's all good from here... it's a pretty good indicator things are on the up and it's for real.
Don't loan out your seasons next year... it could be a historic 9 months.
P.S. If you have any spectacular Arsenal pictures (that are yours, I don't need a Getty lawsuit) and you wouldn't mind me featuring them as the hero images on the site, mail or tweet them in... preferrable if they're square (from Instagram).