Don’t you just hate top 10’s of everything? No? Just me…
I sat in on an SEO course (work) for simpletons a few months ago, and when I say simpletons, I’m saying that one of the tips was to put a contact form on the site so people could communicate with you. Anyway, the guy there said the best way to attract people to your site is with top 10’s of whatever. I dislike them for that reason, but today, I’m going to give my well thought out top ten predictions of 2011!
Before I get into that, I thought I’d just run you through a few after thoughts from the Wigan debacle.
I spoke to a guy who knows his football and he was as bemused as the rest of us about the changes. I read around a few of the blogs yesterday and there are a number of the ‘I’m just trying to show perspective’ sites saying they could understand the changes. Sorry, I don’t care how balanced and reasonable you want to be, anyone with half a brain and a bit of experience of sport will tell you 8 changes in a team of 11 is asking for trouble. It wasn’t precautionary, it was dumb.
Anyway, I digress… the guy I spoke to thought Wenger’s biggest mistake was not taking Andrey Arshavin off despite him clearly struggling for fitness in the second half. He made the point that the Russian’s lack of tracking led to the corner for the equaliser. Interesting point. Even more interesting is that Arsene Wenger was the most vocal a few years ago with doubts about the his ability to cope with the rigours of the Premiership.
How right was he? Arsene knows…
Me, I don’t care too much about his fitness. He creates chances and he scores goals. We shouldn’t be moaning about him not defending, we should be asking how we could get more out of him and whether his fitness should be managed in a different way to ensure we extract the most from his magic. That’s a different story for a different day.
On the team selection, did anyone think that the decision may have been made for reasons alternative to fitness? Has anyone thought that maybe players like Eboue, Denilson and Nik B might have been sulking? Lets be honest, we’ve all read what’s been going on in the media. If there are rumblings in the press, it’s hard not to believe there aren’t rumblings in the dressing room. Maybe Wenger thought he’d create more harmony if he played his miserable favourites in an easy to win game? Who knows…
1. We’ll win something. Of this, I am in no doubt. We’ll definitely take the Carling Cup this year because Wenger knows if he doesn’t, there will be an even louder group of fans calling for him to move upstairs. I think we’ll win that and maybe, just maybe… the FA Cup. The Premier League is a different kettle of fish. We have a great chance to win something there, I’m just not sure Wenger has it in him to spend the money we need to compete in the 2nd half of the season.
2. We’ll beat Barcelona. I know, I know… this is fantasy talk! Well, it might be, but it was fantasy talk to consider we’d beat Madrid and Juve back in 2006. I just think Barca are being massively over hyped and I can’t help but think it’ll be mighty tough for them to maintain that intensity of performance the whole way through 2011. I really wouldn’t be surprised to see us beat the Catalans then lose in the quarters to Copenhagen. Just kidding about the last bit… I might add that I don’t believe we’ll win the Champions League if we beat Barca.
3. Wenger won’t buy in January. Wenger won’t buy unless there is a need. I don’t mean a need as in a quality need, I mean a need as in a squad space because someone has left. Where in this squad could he possibly justify a purchase? He believes he has 3 world class keepers, he believes in the defence and he believes he has enough competition in defensive midfield. There is no one he could sign, so don’t get your hopes up. By the way, I haven’t heard anything about Tommy V’s season being over.
4. Pat Rice will leave. Word on the street is that Arsene Wenger and Pat Rice are going their separate ways. Our assistant manager is leaving for pastures new which leaves a space open for a new Arsene Wenger side kick. I’ve no doubt he won’t promote Steve Bould to number two, instead he’ll probably go for the Grimster, which wouldn’t be good. Wenger needs to sign someone who isn’t in awe of him. He needs some right wing to his left wing, he needs a shake up in back room staff if Arsenal are to ever kick on. He’s not a revolutionary anymore, he’s not at the cutting edge of football training wise. With the right selection of assistant manager, he could be.
5. Aaron Ramsey will return. I know I’ve overhyped this far more than I should have, but this guy is going to be the real deal for us. He has the best stats when it comes to tackling, shooting and passing when he’s in the side, he has bundles of passion and he’s a superb technician of the game. When he returns, we will have, potentially, an amazing midfield ready to go for the next ten years. Remember, the only DNA we have to worry about with Aaron is the Welsh stuff he picked up somewhere along the way. If we treat him and Jack in the right way, they’re ours forever. Ahhhh… love.
6. Cesc Fabregas to leave. I know, I know, I didn’t want to depress you on New Years Eve, but I had to put this one in here. Statistically, he’s the best deep-lying creative midfielder in the world. Barcelona are cash rich again and have apparently, according to twitter sources, set aside £50million for him. I told you last summer that Madrid offered to match that price as did Manchester City. My gut feeling says we’ll look for £60million. If Wenger had a brain, he’d make sure we took Mascharano as part of that deal because let’s be honest, £60million is no good to us with captain Scrooge at the helm.
7. Ivan Gazidis will not change his hair style, despite increasing pressure to cave to the Cesc pre first team rat tail look.
8. The Arsenal Marketing department launch bottled Spirit and Belief as part of their new soft drinks range.
9. Stan Kroenke takes over the club and turns the Armoury into an Asda Express. Cost of salt beef sandwiches set to plummet.
10. Le Grove are handed secret Wikileaks cables exposing employees of Arsenal.com as specialist HTML coding monkeys.
Ok, the last few weren’t really predictions, I just thought you might start getting board of the whole top ten thing.
On that note, I want to say goodbye to 201o. From a personal point of view, I thought you were an ar@ehole. From a blogging point of view, you’ve been to kind to us. We’ve grown by 30% this year, so a big thankyou to all the new faces in the comments section, and a big hello to all the new people who read on a daily basis, we love you more than Jesus Christ and those little sausages wrapped in bacon.
I know I keep saying this, but bar the world-class writing from me and Geoff, you lot are the factor that distinguishes us from the rest. When people find out I write this, more often than not, they’ve got an opinion on their favourite commenter! So keep splurging your thoughts next year, they are well read the world over!
Next year, we hope to bring you… well, exactly the same! 365 posts, some insider gossip, honest opinion written from the heart and maybe some more competitions and prizes!
Have a great evening, don’t do anything too embarrassing, like wet the bed and blame it on the dog and remember to tune in tomorrow for Geoff’s first post of the New Year!
All the best, Pedro and Geoff.
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