With highs and lows present in equal amounts so far this season for the Gunners, supporter Aaron Ong analyses both elements and also reveals his hopes for the new year.So here we are at the halfway mark of the BPL season. Rather unsurprisingly, our season so far has been peppered with ups and downs. Unlike what the chant suggests, Arsenal just doesn’t do ‘boring’ any more.
Amidst all the dramatic moments, I’ve managed to distill my thoughts to bring you a couple of key positives from this half-season, as well as some of the negatives we hope to leave behind.
We’ve had our share of mind-boggling victories this year. We thrashed two teams 6-1, we amazingly fought back to beat Reading 7-5, and the 7-3 win over Newcastle is still fresh in our minds. But Gooners are most fond of one scoreline in particular, especially since we’ve now racked it up twice over our North London rivals.
Yes, 5-2 over Spurs gives us three points just like any other win, but these derby victories always mean a little bit more to us Gooners; I certainly had an extra kick in my step the next day! With Spurs launching another strong challenge for the Champions League spots, it was imperative that we didn’t lose this six-pointer.
2. New (new) and new (old) players
Our new signings have done well, haven’t they? The attacking trio of Giroud, Podolski, and Cazorla have adjusted almost immediately to English football, especially the last name. Santi has been an absolute joy to watch, with his passing and dribbling adding much bite to our attacking play.
And how about our returning no.10? Wilshere’s return has been a long time coming, but I don’t think many expected him to slot into our midfield so seamlessly; it’s as if he was never away! Jack signed a new contract recently, which is excellent news since he can only get better.
1. Jekyll and Hyde
We’ve been ruthless going forward, and we’ve been devoid of creativity. We’ve been stingy in defence, and we’ve been error prone at the back. It almost seems like a lottery every game to see which combination turns up. We’ve even managed to show this erratic nature in our current four-match winning run! If we can combine the defensive steel shown in our first three games with the free scoring attack seen against Reading and Newcastle, we could be truly unstoppable.
2. Will he stay? Will he go?
It seems rather childish to bear grudges against ex-players in this modern era, but I’m sure most Gooners are on my side in hoping RVP doesn’t enjoy much success this year. Admittedly, he’s been brilliant for the Red Devils, firing them to the top with crucial goals. Still if it isn’t us, I hope any other team beats Man Utd to the league title. Except Spurs of course.
The trend of our best players leaving must stop. The situation with Theo is therefore of utmost concern, and losing him will be another step backwards. It is frustrating to hear him repeat the ‘it will be settled in time’ line, and the aim must be to settle this ASAP. We hardly want to lose him for nothing, and it would be terrible if we strengthened yet another direct rival. Sign Da Ting, Theo!
A report card on our performance this season would read like one of my report cards from my schooling days: “Shows potential but needs to focus and concentrate more to improve results.” We’ve recovered well from our poor start, but more discipline and commitment is required if we are to continue our push for the top 4. There is no need for major signings, but I do hope Arsene can inspire the players to get their act together, and with more consistency I believe we’ll do fine come the end of the season.
Come on you Gunners!
Aaron has been an Arsenal fan since the mid 90's, and is currently a member of Arsenal Singapore, the official Arsenal supporters' club in Singapore. He is also a passionate Lions supporter, and he still dreams of seeing Singapore compete in the World Cup someday.