Summer View From Rd End: Arsenal

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The third of our interviews with opposing fans this summer sees the ‘arseblogger‘ himself from the rather excellent arseblog give us the lowdown from a Gooners view…

TIA: So, you lot had a scarily similar to us season? Poor domestically but impressive in Europe…

arseblogger: In some ways similar but I think the poor domestic performance was more difficult for us after years of consistently challenging for the title. With the greatest of respect Liverpool really haven’t looked like genuine title contenders for quite some time, especially under Houllier.

When you consider Arsenal hadn’t finished outside the top 2 for 9 seasons it was a bit of a shock to some fans. That said the way we clinched 4th place on the last day of the season with Sp*rs literally shitting themselves made it a memorable season.

Of course, we won in the final though…

True and it was an amazing game. Genuinely though I don’t think there was a feeling amongst Arsenal fans of regret. With 10 men we came within 15 minutes of winning the Champions League final against Barcelona. It’s too late to go into the ins and outs and whys of it all but the team and the fans will have taken a huge amount of confidence from firstly getting to the final and then coming so close. That’s not to say we’re just happy to have been there. We wanted to win but it’s given the boys a taste of what it’s like and I’m sure they’ll want more.

It was a historic season for you, the last at Highbury; where you in favour of a ground move and are you looking forward to Ashburton.. sorry, i mean Emirates Stadium!

Initially I wasn’t really fond of the idea of leaving Highbury but needs must. I think we’d all like football to be more pure, if you
like, but at the end of the day money talks and with a 60,000 seater stadium we’ve given ourselves a big boost. More income = more money on transfers and being able to attract better players. The only thing is someone needs to tell Arsene Wenger he has money to spend. He does like his bargain hunting.

It looks like it’s going to be a fantastic stadium though and it is only 700 yards from Highbury which is really important from a fan’s
perspective.

We could be in a similar position to you a few years down the road with a move to Stanley Park, have you been to Anfield and whats your thoughts?

Again it’s all about the money, isn’t it? Anfield is one of England’s legendary stadiums, along with Old Trafford and Highbury, but
obviously if you can get another 15,000 people per game that adds up.

Back to you, for now, and your hopes for summer signings and then for next season?

I’d like us to add some established quality to the squad. We have, as everybody knows by now, some amazingly talented young players. Cesc, van Persie, Clichy, Flamini, Senderos, Djourou, Reyes and Diaby are all under 22. For me where we had problems last season was gap between youth and experience. It wasn’t right. Also we lacked competition for places in certain areas, central midfield in particular. I know the young players now have more experience but we need to add some quality and experienced quality.

I’d like to see us bring in at least one central defender and one central midfielder. Perhaps a left back too. It does seem like Sol
Campbell is on his way (hurrah! He’s a fat twat) and Ashley Cole and his agent seem to have made his position at Arsenal untenable and he’s probably going to Chelsea. So if those two leave + Pires + Bergkamp’s retirement and the possible departure of Cygan the manager has some work to do to improve the squad and not just keep it at the same level as last season.

Chelsea are so strong and have strengthened so much that it’s hard to see anyone get close to them but I hope we can restablish ourselves as a top 3 side without the last day drama of this season. Anyway, if we or any other team puts a good run together and Chelsea lose a few, anything could happen. I just wonder how Mourinho would react to a bad run, I’m not sure he could handle it and hopefully that would transmit itself to the team.

Now to us, have you been impressed with Benitez’s Rafa-lution?

Yes, he reminds me of a bit of when Wenger took over bringing in lots of Spanish players but in terms of the style of play he’s more George Graham. Everything is built on a solid defence. I think to be challengers though you need two good wide players and at least two strikers. With Cisse out injured (he was going to be sold anyway, wasn’t he?) and Morientes sold you need to bring in two top strikers. I’m totally unconvinced Crouch is anything more than a 10 goal a season player and I know you all love Robbie Fowler but his best days are surely behind him.

He’s definitely made you a more dangerous side though.

The World Cup… care a little, care a lot or couldn’t care less?

Don’t really care but it’s nice to have some football to watch in the close season. Gives me something to blog about as well, which is always a godsend. As I’m neutral I’m up for Switzerland.

TIA: Predictions for next season…

Title: Chelsea, sadly.

A (close?) second: Us, or you, or United.

Top Scorer: Thierry Henry.

Relegated: Sheffield United, Fulham, Watford

Player to come from no-where award: Er, no idea. From Arsenal‘s point of view I suppose we have to keep our eyes on Theo Walcott.

Liverpool will finish: Top 4
Arsenal will finish: Top 4 – heh.

Thanks to arseblogger for his answers – some interesting comments, particularly with regard to the stadium move. Not sure about Rafa being the Spanish George Graham though!

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    Previous View From The Road End Articles:

    Man United: Kenny
    Newcastle Utd: James Suggett

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