It's the beginning of August and Arsenal's Premier League campaign is starting again tonight with a match against Crystal Palace. This is definitely the most excited I've been about a new season in quite a few years!
The start of the first Emery season was interesting because for the first time in 20+ years, no one had any idea what to expect, and the start of the second Emery season was exciting because we'd just signed some Ivorian winger from the French league for £72 million, so surely he'd be awesome, right? What was his name again? The start of the first full Arteta season was exciting because we'd just won the Arsène Wenger Memorial Cup for the 14th time and surely we'd kick on from there, right?
In contrast, the start to last season was really low key for me. My expectations were that we'd finish somewhere around 6th, and a good target for the season would be qualifying for the Europa League. We'd signed Ødegaard permanently, and that was awesome, but I didn't expect he'd single-handedly turn us into top four challengers. We signed some young English defender named Ben White that I'd never even heard of, and £50 million was a lot of bloody money and last time we spent that on a player it was Pépé and we all remember how that went, right? And we had a tough start to the season! The opener against Brentford was an easy three points, sure, but then we faced Chelsea and City, and if we came out of those matches with even a point, it would be a miracle.
And then the season actually started and it was worse than even I expected. Taking 0 points from the first 9 and scoring no goals in the process was... bad. Very bad. I was very angry at Tim from 7amkickoff for being right as usual about Arteta not being a very good manager, but then things got less bad with a couple of 1-0 to the Arsenal wins and then holy shit we destroyed Spurs in the NLD and went on an unbeaten run that eventually lasted 10 games, but then we lost three in a row again and then we did that thing where we realise the season is halfway over and start getting results, and there were signs that Arteta was learning from his mistakes and then we were somehow in the hunt for the Champion's League and then we lost three in a row again and shit we were gonna finish out of the CL places and below Spurs again but then we won four in a row WTF we're gonna do it but then we lost two and finished below Spurs but at least destroyed Everton on the last day of the season to leave a smile on the home fans' faces.
Wow, last season was an absolute rollercoaster, wasn't it? And in checking my memory against the results from last season, I realised that we only drew three games all season. That's a bit astonishing to me. I don't think it means anything important, but just seems really unusual. At the end of the season, I was disappointed that we couldn't quite get over the last hurdle and qualify for the Champions League again, and of course sad that another year would go by without a St. Totteringham's Day celebration, but on the other hand, we had finished higher than I expected before the season started, and we were back in Europe and it wasn't the Conference League, so honestly, it was a decent season for me. 6/10, in the final analysis.
This summer, we've brought in a centre forward who can hustle and bustle and press and pass and most importantly, score! We've brought in really solid cover / competition for Kieran Tierney at left back in Zinchenko, we've finally found the new Viera that we've been looking for all these years, and we have William Saliba back from a great season in France where he won Young Player of the Year, made Team of the Year, and caught Mbappe from behind to take the ball cleanly and prevent a sure goal. In addition to being a really exciting young defender with great long passing, Saliba gives us the ability to move Ben White to right back when Tomiyasu is out (as he is right now).
I've only watched the highlights from the pre-season matches, as most of them were in the exceedingly early AM for me and then the one against Sevilla that I could have watched was ironically not available for streaming in Spain, where I was at the time, but wow oh wow am I ever excited! An Arsenal team successfully implementing a high press? An Arsenal team that can counter attack? An Arsenal team with a centre forward that is in the box and whacking the ball in the net? Yes please!
So I'm really pumped for tonight!
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