January has gone quite well. Exceptionally well, actually. Arsène Wenger has managed to address two squad issues, trim our roster up front, and pick up a more than respectable points tally along the way.
This is the point where our season is really going to kick on; equal parts necessity and squad rejuvenation dictate. Everything about the Premier League has been quiet since the turn of the year. Chelsea look weaker by the day, we’ve found a head of steam, and City are being found out a little bit without Yaya Touré.
The only real surprising thing that remains neglected is United’s position in the table. They’re ahead of us by one point. That’s a bit sad, considering how well documented their so-called calamitous season has been.
Am I making a mountain of a molehill? No. Yes. Maybe. All I’m saying is that there’s plenty of room for us to improve, and right now, we’re showing every sign of doing so.
A lot of that is down to having a fit squad again. Imagine having to pick between Santi Cazorla and Mesut Ozil to play number 10. Ridiculous luxuries are afforded to us when our roster is healthy. We’ve now arrived at the point where we’ve got at least two very good options per position. Finally, finally, finally.
Be it Francis Coquelin making the DM role his, Ozil hitting form straight after returning from injury, or Laurent Koscielny starting to look back to his old best, there are very few negatives to look at, as the squad stands. That’s good, because we’ve got three competitions to compete in.
I won’t turn my nose up at the Champions League just yet; stranger things have happened. Monaco are by no means an “easy” opponent, but when you consider prior opposition, you can’t help but feel good about our chances. I’m banking on us reaching the semis before we end up with Real Madrid. No pride in bowing out to them, really. It’s the FA Cup we should hold at highest priority, anyway.
I say that, because we’re not going to win the league. A third place finish is what I’m hoping for, I’d say that’s more than attainable looking up and down the table right now.
If we manage to do all that, and maybe add a DM in the summer, I’d say we’re a complete squad. I mean totally complete, not little bit competitive, or little bit short – complete.
That’s a strange thought, because you’d swear Arsène was always little bit sadistic in his approach to the fans. We’d always enter the season with some sort of handicap. You’d always wonder just what exactly he was playing at.
We’d have no centre backs (we have a good one this year… on the BENCH!), or they’d be Johan Djourou and Seb Squillaci. We’d have one good striker who’d be injured half the season, and Nicklas Bendtner and Marouane Chamakh as backups.
We actually used to employ Manuel Almunia.
I can go on and on, but the point is that Arsène always found ways to sprinkle a little bit of banter into our season.
I’m almost sad to see it go.