A Premier League season that could’ve been is a term I’m sure many Arsenal fans will use to describe 2013/14. We’ve already got more points than last campaign but as I’m sure many of you are aware, we’ve led the title race for longer than any other club this season. We can look back on what went wrong; injuries to key players, our form away from home against the top teams but we mustn’t dwell on it. After all, we have an FA Cup final to look forward to next weekend.
This weekend though marks the final round of Premier League fixtures. The title is still to be decided but it looks as though City will win it now. We’re sitting comfortably in fourth and today we can condemn Norwich to relegation. We successfully beat them earlier in the season when Jack Wilshere finished off that brilliant team goal at the Emirates.
Norwich’s problem this season has been their inability to score goals. They brought in the likes of van Wolfswinkel and Gary Hooper but they just simply haven’t been in the right place at the right time. You’d think that those players would guarantee you to stay up but as we only know too well as Arsenal fans, football can be a cruel game.
Norwich don’t have anything to celebrate this season but we can certainly look back on 2013/14 as a pretty successful season. It’ll live long in the memory for the year in which we signed Mesut Ozil. However, one of the main reasons as to why I think we’ve finished in fourth is because of the absence of Theo Walcott for the majority of the season through injury. He was our best player last term and he and Ozil had the potential to link up brilliantly.
We’re one or two players away from mounting a serious title challenge next season. A new striker will be needed, someone that will bang the goals in on a more regular basis than Olivier Giroud. Sagna looks to be on his way out which is a great shame so a right back will be a priority. Meanwhile, a younger centre defensive midfielder looks to be a key area of improvement. Francis Coquelin is returning from a loan spell in the Bundesliga but he’s been playing out of position a lot of the time.
The focus for now though is our remaining two games of 2013/14. Players are returning from injury once more as Aaron Ramsey will be back in the side after missing the home win over West Brom. Kieran Gibbs is back for Norwich and so could Jack Wilshere. Oxlade-Chamberlain is set to miss out again though.
Who actually starts will be interesting though. The debate Wenger will be thinking about is whether to rest a few players for the FA Cup final, and ensure they’re 100% fit. After all, this game against Norwich doesn’t really have any meaning to it. Szczesny will be vying for the Golden Glove award for the most clean-sheets in the league this season. Whether the likes of Gibbs, Wilshere and Ramsey are risked though remains to be seen. I’d like to see Yaya Sanogo start up front and hopefully bag his first Gunners goal before the season is up.
A win at Carrow Road will see us move onto 79 points. It would be great to see us end the campaign with a convincing away win, which would hopefully boost the confidence and morale going into the Cup final.
By Matt Dawson