"The aim is to continue to progress as we have been doing. We were very close last year – closer than the previous season – so we are heading in the right way. We hope we can continue that this season. It is important to start well, start strongly and get into a good position early on and to try to maintain the level."
- Arsene Wenger, promising more of the same
It's a bit depressing, reading that quote. Yes, we were close last year, but only because Chelsea and Man Utd were both weak. Yes, we should have improved via the experience gained from last season, but we've also lost experienced in the departure of Gallas (he's gone, hasn't he?). Yes, we could've won the league last year, but we didn't because we failed to strengthen our squad in the January transfer period, and guess what - we STILL haven't strengthen in the summer transfer period.
So in the upcoming season, I expect more of the same. We'll make a bright start, win a few games and be top of the league when it's spring. As the weather turns colder, we'll drop points against a few bus-parking side, English-footballing playing clubs. We'll lose a few players through injury, and drop out of contention by Christmas. We'll make a last surge around March and we'll pretend that everything's okay, that we're improving, and we'll be ready to challenge for the league... next season.
Personally, I'm writing off this year and seeing it as a season where our Academy kids can have a proper debut season with the Arsenal. Fact of the matter is that we don't have the squad to win, so we're going to have to take the positives out of the season where we can find them. And witnessing the culmination of 10 years' worth of investment in our academy is a pretty big positive. These kids (JET, Jacks, Gibbsy, Eastmond and the 'Pong) are the first graduates of Wengerball. It'll be really interesting to see if they'll be comparable with Barcelona's La Masia graduates.
If I was Wenger, though, I'd take some of the £40m he's got in the bank, and buy a goalkeeper and another central defender who can also play as a defensive midfielder. Because if I was Wenger, I'd be sick of the mistakes that the goalkeepers have made over the past 5 years, and just want someone reliable in front of goal. I'd also employ someone to take care of the aspects of managing that I don't fancy - such as defence, tactics, motivational speeches...
So on the 275th last day of my 20s, I went to work, had lunch, came back. Very tired, thinking about a nice long nap. Came across an autobiography by Wangari Maathai. Interesting read.