Apr 202010

First things first, let’s get the site news out of the way. Regular readers of the blog will notice that it looks very different – I’ve been working on a redesign for some time now, and it finally went live today. So have a poke around, see what you think and if you spot anything out of place, please let me know.

The extra observant among you may have noticed the two new features. The first is a long overdue subscription service, so you can finally get Groan updates by email if you so wish. Just click here, enter your email address and you’re away.

The second is the Beautiful Groan Podcast, which is due for launch on May 5 (a fortnight away), and will run every Wednesday from then on. And yes, I am aware that the first episode comes out four days before the season ends. My timing is impeccable.

So back to Arsenal news, and no matter where you go, it feels as if the season has ended. Barring a few worriers who are spending their time looking over their shoulders at City and Spurs (to think either can get near us considering their run-ins and the already substantial gap is fanciful in the extreme), everyone is talking about next season. And I’m not just referring to us fans – the club are at it too.

Nasri has been defending the lack of a trophy, claiming that this season has set us up well for next year:

“I think we have more merit as a club than those who have built their teams with millions of pounds whereas Arsenal have brought in young footballers, who have come here to play a certain kind of football and who have developed.”

“I am hoping that our squad will stay unchanged because we are really good and with a year more experience, we can achieve some great things next season.”

He isn’t alone. Wenger claims this season to be a success, pointing to the sustained title challenge:

“I feel we have made huge steps forward this year compared to last year and the year before that. This year I feel we have appeased our fans a lot. We have always shown a great attitude, a great response when needed.”

Aside from the questionable timing of praising the attitude of the players, you can’t really argue with either quote. We have improved this year despite a deeper injury crisis, and those who believe us to be static forget how poor we were in the early stages of last season. Sorry defeats like the capitulation to Wigan were happening on a regular basis, but with an improved team ethic we have made great strides.

But am I alone in thinking these platitudes can wait a few weeks? We have three games to go, and whatever you think of our position, those games mean an awful lot. I don’t mean as a bearing on the title race, which we’re out of, or for securing Champions League football, which is assured with one good result, but as a way of finishing the season strongly, leaving the fans on a high throughout the summer, and giving us reason to look at the campaign with a smile, not the tainted memories of a late season collapse.

These three games could define how the entire season is viewed – close to the top pair, or fighting it out for third and fourth – and that alone gives them a huge importance. And when you take the opposition into account – Adebayor, Bellamy, Allardyce – you cannot say the season is done and dusted.

So while everything Nasri, Wenger and others says is true, those seasonal summaries can wait until the campaign is over. And it isn’t over until we’ve given ourselves a feel good ending.

It isn’t June. It isn’t May. It is only April, and that means there’s football to be played.

  15 Responses to “Stop talking about next season + Groan gets a makeover”

  1. Nice new layout

    • Why is everyone going on about our improvement this season? We have lost eight times (in the league) so far this year compared to six in the entire campaign last year. Our only “improvement” is that Manure and Chelski are crap compared to last year. Last year we were outclassed by Manure in the CL twice + once in PL and Chelski in the league once. This year we have been outclassed by Barca twice, Chelski twice and Manure once. WHERE IS THE IMPROVEMENT??????

      • The improvement is there – the claim that United and Chelsea are worse than last year is a common myth.

        Chelsea for example, won 25 games last season, and with three games left have 24 wins this campaign. The fact that both have lost more games disguises the fact that there have been less draws – it still takes a massive haul of points to be in contention.

        Last season, we were out of title race in November.

  2. Nice Changes.

    Just so you know mate, those quotes came from the Arsenal Magazine, so they would have been before the spuds game.

    • In which case, they are even more premature – at that point we were firmly in the title race.

      What I don’t understand is the need to summarise the season before it ends. Isn’t the summer long enough?

  3. i dont agree with nasri or wengers comments… nasri is quoted on several sites as saying as he thinks arsenal deserve more credit because of the football they play, and because arsenal and wenger arent just about winning trophies… seriously thats a f*ckin ridiculous statement to be making after the pathetic display against wigan and the toothless effort against sp*rs… we get more than enough credit for the football we play, but what he needs to realise is that passing the ball sideways and back for large periods of the game is pointless and the better teams actually dont mind this, as they cut us apart when given the chance to… im sick of hearing about how pretty our football is, when it ends in continual failure, cesc said earlier in the season he doesnt want everyone to be saying that arsenal are a great team to watch, but no one that wins trophies, our captain gets it, maybe he should explain it to wenger and a few of the players… he has a winning mentality and is desperate to win things with arsenal, players like nasri should be too…
    As for making progress this year, granted we beat some of the teams we were drawing with last year, and we have a better points total than last season, but we have also conceeded more goals, been beaten more times, and been throughly spanked by our two closest rivals home and away, oh and not to mention that utd and chelsea havent been anywhere near the level the were last year, and we still failed to take advantage, i cant see that we made the kind or progress wenger is talking about, next season utd and chelsea will be better, if spuds get into europe they’re going to be spending significant amounts to bring in players, and man city will probably spend 200 million… so next year will be harder again

    • You’re right that next year will be harder because City particularly will spend big, but there’s nothing we can do about that. We cannot compete with their price range so we have to do our own thing.

      I think Nasri’s quotes have been slightly warped – he was praising our style but saying we deserve credit for being in contention when spending so little.

      But the defence needs sorting out. Some of the individuals are fine (Clichy, Sagna, Vermaelen), but Gallas is likely to leave, Silvestre will leave, and Campbell will be 36 next season. Relying on Djourou to be fit for a season is premature, so Wenger needs to do what he did last summer and sign a first team centre back.

    • Totally agree with you. We are a sideway team. Other weaker team can also play beatuifully if they go sideways and backwards. Just look at MU & Chelsea in their counter attacks.. 3-4 pinpoint passes and shoot to score(at least they try). In our beautiful game, we will pass till cow comes home….how many times our swift counter attack ends up to nothing in the thid quarter with countless passing. With a toothless attack and leaky defence, its not suprising that Blackburn could exploit our weakness for a win. If Blackburn can see our weakness, as the manager said it himself, why can’t we see it?? We were supposed to have the easiest route among the title contenders for the last few games before the season ends. At one point, we were thought to have a chance to be champions.. Next year will be worst with Spurs and Man City raising the mark and getting stronger. We will be toughing out with teams like Wigan and Blackburn if we believe in our beautiful game approach (with no results).

  4. Sounds like Cescs off, so were weakened again!

  5. Phew..If every season is a success without any trophy ,I should doubt myself a dumb.If every season we fight for everything but end nothing,I may have to low my expectation from now on.I love this club ,that’s for sure.However,a careefree lost like last weekend,should be a big,big disgrace.
    Nice layout btw:) Can’t wait for your Podcast

  6. for the past five years we’ve being hearing the same old story from wenger that the team is improving but i dont think they ever think about winning any trophy because thats the reward of the game.

  7. I agree with Eskil. Where is the improvement?The gunners have been smashed/mugged by MU/Chelsea/ Barca. In fact when the cl sf pitted the gunners agaginst the red faced,he rubbed his hands in glee. His first words’ were” We know how the gunners play”.But do the gunners /AW know how these teams play?
    To be beaten a few times in the epl and cl and still play the same game is naive/stupid.I I bet Mourino would not do such a thing. He would play anti soccer ie flood the midfield. Hit on the break instead of all out attack which in Arsenal’s case is stupid/suicidal. The gunners defence is the worst among the top teams.With an incompetent goalie its a recipe no chef would tolerate.All these problems have been there for the last four years.
    To compound matters our esteemed manager buys one kid after another when the team was crying for the experienced guys. Even our Russian said so.
    Arsene knows what he has to do.Failure to act and if more kids are bought that;s it.

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