So here we are, the final day of another season, one in which the glass half full supporters (which include myself, I’m not ashamed to admit) will point to a title challenge that lasted until early April, while the more downbeat will nod their heads at Spurs, who have put off St Totteringham’s Day until the final match of the season. At least.
For some time, we’ve needed just a point or two to confirm third spot, but a woeful run of form has ensured that we still haven’t wrapped it up, and require a point today if Spurs defeat Burnley, as is likely. Fortunately, a friendlier fixture could not be conceived – home to a Fulham side likely to shirk the physical battle due to the thrill of their European final on Wednesday.
Speaking of Fulham, good luck to them against Atletico. One of the most popular clubs around, certainly one of the most popular managers, and even (despite the initial concerns) one of the more sensible chairman – they deserve all that they are getting.
But their happiness can wait a few days – we need to end the season on a high after a miserable run of form stretching back to that last gasp equaliser by Birmingham. As it turned out, Phillips’ goal actually mathematically ended our title challenge, not that we realised at the time.
If we fail to clinch the three points today, it will be difficult to see past the end of season collapse for the next three months, but a performance to remind us of the strength of the players would help us look forward with greater optimism. Irrespective of Spurs’ late challenge for third, the conclusion of the season is an important day.
For some of the players, it will be the last we see of them. Silvestre is definitely off, Gallas 90% gone, and there are serious doubts over Eduardo and Vela (although I suspect the latter will not be shipped out just yet). It would be disappointing for their send off to be a flat affair.
If you listened to Wednesday’s podcast, you will already know my final bet of the day – we’ve been struggling to hold on to leads recently and given that a draw will actually suit everyone, I’ve gone for Arsenal to be leading at half time, but the match to end level. It is, for once, not an optimistic bet, but Sportingbet are offering a crazy 28/1 on it, so I couldn’t resist.
If you feel that isn’t positive enough, you can back a 3-1 win at 10/1 (as I’m doing), again with Sportingbet.
After today, we have a month before meaningful football begins again (I’m ignoring the various cup finals) with the World Cup. We started the campaign in style, let’s end it the same way.
For the last time this season, enjoy the game.