The furore around Jack Wilshere and his song continued yesterday. I can’t believe how much coverage it’s landed, especially when you consider he did exactly the same thing last year.
The press do similar personality assassinations with politicians. They complain they’re boring and there’s no personality or connection one day… the next, they’re chastising them for stepping out of line. It’s thoroughly boring the fun police have to come out in full riot gear, especially when it’s off the back of something so minor it barely registered with most Arsenal fans on the day.
The most important thing here is the fans. When Jack sparked up a fag in Vegas last year, that was disappointing, the same had to be said when he did it a few months later. However, when he’s on his holidays, post FA Cup final win, he’s perfectly entitled to get shit faced and sing anti-Spurs songs.
He might not be my favourite player, but I can’t help but love him a bit for that little performance at the weekend. It’ll be an iconic memory… surely captured in some sort of internet meme when you’ve embarrassed yourself at work after a night out on it.
Anyway. Time to move on. Time to stop saying things that don’t make sense, like…
‘He has to stop doing things like this and concentrate on his football career’
… like when he wakes up in the morning, there’s a choice between form or hanging out of an open top bus with a beer in hand.
Honestly, I wonder what these bitching journos got up to in their spare time when they were young?
Anyway, enough griping.
I think one area of critique that has been levelled fairly is that these parades needs to centre around a league win. It’s fantastic that we’ve finished the season on a high, but really, we need to see progress converting into a sustained challenge next season.
When you look at the points this season, we were 4 short of what we achieved last season. That sounds like we fell massively short, but if you don’t have the context of the worst start of 32 years, well, you don’t have the full picture. Our start was horrendous. Cataclysmic you could say.
Progress came in other areas. We had a massive improvement in our defensive record. We trimmed five goals off last season tally, taking us down to 36 goals. That’s pretty damn good going considering it wasn’t too long ago we were leaking 49 in a season.
That progress can be put down to a number of things. Koscielny has been superb after a shaky start, Monreal has really stepped up his game. We have a new superstar coming through at right back. Per Mertesacker found his form after losing interest and motivation after a tough world cup.
The main change for me was bringing Coquelin into the team. Having a destroyer willing to sit in front of the back four has been a massive progress point. We’re also defending as a team now. We’re a collective rather than a smooth running Ferrari moving forward and not a lot else at the back. I also think there’s a lot to be said about having pace in the front line. This year, the high press that worked so well against us last season hasn’t worked at all… because you daren’t give Sanchez half a yard, because he’d kill you.
Moving forward, we added 3 goals, which isn’t amazing and could be worked on, especially when you consider Manchester City banged in 12 more than us.
That said, it’s still not that sorry a stat. All the pundits talk about the need to have a world class striker in your starting 11, Chelsea supposedly did and they only managed 2 more goals than us. We have a team of goal scorers, if we did have a world class striker, we’d be more clinical in the big games for sure, but I don’t think that position is as key as we’re led to believe. I feel it might be more of a Sky Sports stat because strikers sell subscriptions.
I think the biggest improvement we could make is in goal. I think if we had a world class keeper, that really could elevate our game. But even there, that’s only based on what I see with my eyes. Ospina had really impressive statistics this season. Amongst the best.
We have to make up 12 points next season. That’s quite a jump. That’s 4 extra wins, and a point to surpass Chelsea. That’s a better start, that’s a better keeper, that’s being more clinical in a major games.
It’s not outrageous surgery, but it’s improvements all the same.
What do you think we need to do to catch Chelsea? Join the comments below!