4th place with a game to go: How pathetic
After the loss to Aston Villa, I realized that a team that was challenging for the title before entering a downward spiral was about to lose the only credible thing they can say that they’ve achieved all season; the last automatic Champions League spot. In the days of old, 3rd place was as good as 4th position in terms of Champions League qualification because both sides would still have to go through the grueling task of a qualification round in which defeat could send the losing team to play Thursday night football with the rest of the Europa League chums. Unlike an ambitious side that like us that will label 4th place as a massive disappointment, teams like Everton and Newcastle fought really hard all season long to claim fourth spot only to be whooped by Villarreal and Partizan respectively.
The Arab blokes at Man City have spent a fortune over the years to build up the squad only to be disappointed but the 2010/11 campaign will be fondly remembered by the blue half of Manchester. New signings like David Silva and Yaya Toure were very instrumental to their FA Cup win and their present 3rd place position. It really hurts to know that these same players would have been wearing the Red and White if not for the stubbornness and miserly nature of AW. There was a time when Kolo Toure was literally kissing AW’s arse so that his younger brother would join him at North London but AW folded his arms while Barcelona signed him from Olympiakos. Even in his Barca days, we were still linked to that tall Ivorian bloke but the manager of Arsenal FC did nothing again as he moved to the City of Manchester Stadium. Silva’s case was quite different because the price tag Valencia placed on his head was more than enough to scare AW the economist. It’s the same money issue that scared AW off the services of Ribery, Xabi Alonso and some other high profile players that would have contributed immensely to Arsenal FC.
The 2 biggest mistakes AW has made in his Arsenal made in 15 year tenure are selling off the Invincibles in quick succession and nothing taking a firm stand especially when his players are about to leave. Sir Alex Chewie has produced over 4 generations of Man Utd players but he still left a player or two to rub off that much needed influence on the younger blokes coming up. Sir Chewie and Hugh Giggs Hefner have won 12 titles together. There’s no way in Hell that a 37-year old man will still be playing in a team like Arsenal FC when AW is the head coach. Big Sol and Mad Jens are the only exceptions because the situation was really critical at that point in time.
Pires said that he left us because he was disappointed that AW substituted him when Mad Jens got that red card in that Paris 06’ final. We also have to remember that AW didn’t want to give Le Bob a 2-year deal but he gave that calatimous Beans-headed left footed oaf of a defender a 2-year deal. Pires wouldn’t have been playing regularly but he would have gotten his chance because the demons of injury have their national English headquarters in North London. They would’ve settled in Tottenham but the Red in us was more than enough to convince them that the Emirates was the place to stay and setup their camp.
Kolo had a problem with that mercenary from Chelsea but AW should’ve convinced him enough that Arsenal was still his home. We know that ‘over the top’ balls were problems for Kolo because of his height but playing along a player like Vermaelen would’ve propelled him to play better. Verm is not the tallest defender in the galaxy but he sure leaps like a toad that wants to catch that fly that’s beyond its radar. To an extent I can understand the departure of Lauren because Farmer Eboue was really good and there was no way that Lauren would’ve challenged for a place with a player like Sagna. Cashley Cuntly Cole was just a cuntly cunt so I was amongst the fans that threw a party when he left. I can write about all the Invincibles that left but I feel that you’ve gotten the message. My other point was about AW taking a stand when his players are about leaving. Let look at the Drogba-Mourinho scenario for instance. When that U.S.S.R dictator brought Sheva to his yacht before unveiling him to the World, Drogba handed a transfer request to his boss but Mourinho told him to shove it up his Ivorian pile hole. In my own opinion, AW should never have let Henry, Diarra and Hleb go because they were still under the bondage of a contract. The Flanimal’s move to Milan was very annoying but we had no choice because his contract had expired.
Yesterday, I saw Dracula Tevez score two spectacular goals that destroyed a Stoke side that were more than a bloody match for us. His goals have sent him to the top of the scorer’s chart while that victory made Man City leapfrog Arsenal to 3rd spot. This result shows that work has to be done this summer or else we could see our darling Arsenal relinquish that Champions League place that we have held for so long.
Man Utd will always be contenders to win a 20th league title while Chelsea will still be a dominant force. Mancini might sign more superstars while Dalglish will surge for a top 4 place next season. Tottenham is also there in the mix but I’m confident that we’ll still finish above them wherever we are in the log. As I wrote a few days back,
“If Arsenal ever ends up in 17th place, Tottenham will be relegated”.
What scares me a lot about next season is the home form we had this season. Man Utd didn’t lose a game at Old Trafford this season while our neighbours and bitter rivals Tottenham lost just once. Chelsea and Man City had two losses each. Liverpool and Bolton despite their shortcomings had just 3 losses in their home grounds. Arsenal has lost 4 games at the Emirates. That’s the kind of record a title challenging side shouldn’t have.
Even if we smash 7 past Fulham and Tevez scores a late winner in Man City’s game, Arsenal will have to go through the Champions League qualification phase. They could be in a section which includes:
The 4th placed team in Spain (Villarreal)
The 4th placed team in Italy (Udinese or Lazio)
The 3rd placed team in Germany (Bayern Munich)
The 3rd placed team in France (Marseille, Lyon, Rennes, Sochaux or PSG)and
5 winners from the non-champion section of the third qualifying round (Benfica, Dynamo Kyiv, Twente and Rubin Kazan)
The only luck we have is that we’ll be seeded if we enter the competition from this stage but if all the seeded teams from the Third Qualifying Round advance to the Play-Off Round, Bayern, Arsenal, Benfica and Villarreal would be seeded. Unless Lyon finish third in France, the final seed would be Dynamo Kyiv.
This now means that Arsenal’s potential Play-Off opponents could be Udinese or Lazio, Rubin Kazan, Twente, a further qualifier from the previous round plus the French qualifier – one from Marseilles, Rennes, Paris Saint-Germain and Sochaux. If Lyon do finish third in France, their coefficient would earn them a seeding. Therefore Arsenal’s potential opponents could be Udinese or Lazio, Dynamo Kyiv, Rubin Kazan, Twente or a further qualifier from the previous round.
I guess that the Champions League qualifying 3rd round grass might be green after all.
This could all change IF Man City decide to be generous enough to drop points but the question would be whether we could even finish off Fulham because this squad’s performance in recent times doesn’t bring hope at all. I can’t wait for this season to be over.
I want to express my gratitude to the gooners that have ‘liked’ and voted in the polls i created in the blog’s facebook page. The voting hasn’t ended yet so i’ll be honored if you go to the page, cast your votes then ‘like’ the page.
There’s a nice article about the analysis of our strikers this season by a blog called the Invincible Gunners. Trust me it’s worth a read.
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The sentence of the day goes to DKD, the blogger of Armoury Square,
“I am so depressed right now, that I can probably drink 4 gallons of raw Vodka and yet be sane. After so much promise, after so much hope this is what the season comes too.”
Arsenal Football Club.
I must say, this season has been emotional.