By Avenell Dave
Just as I predicted yesterday, victory over Newcastle was never going to be as straightforward as many people expected it to be.
Heavy defeats in the capital earlier this season suggested that they would roll over but with European qualification at stake, they gave us one hell of a game.
Just as Arsenal have tended to step up in most of the ‘big’ games we’ve played this season, so Newcastle did the same.
How different it might have been if we had scored early and managed to maintain our lead.
The visitors would have had to come out, giving us more space to exploit and in the form Theo Walcott is showing, we could have done our goal difference the world of good.
Arsene Wenger has spoken for years about the character in the team and the fact is, he’s been laughed at when we whimper to lame defeat after lame defeat.
There are some who have stood behind him, understanding the constraints in which he works (this writer included) despite what Piers Morgan or others suspect.
After the start we had this season and then the January we endured, it’s remarkable that we find ourselves in such a strong position.
If we can sort out the RvP situation early in the summer, ideally before the EUROs, it will make the manager’s job so much easier.
Whatever others think, I don’t blame Cesc for wanting to leave and it is just a shame that there was only one team bidding for his services.
The combination of his departure and N*$ri’s decision to warm City’s bench was too much, but once RvP is sorted one way or the other, we have so much to look forward to.
Kieran Gibbs will hopefully emerge from his growing pains; Jack Wilshere will be back and playing; Ryo Miyaichi will be ready to stake his claim and Aaron Ramsey will be a season older and wiser.
Looking at this season, we have gone on winning runs that have escalated us just at the times when our rivals have been faltering and much credit has to go to everyone at the club for keeping going when things have been difficult.
If we are to sign Lukasz Podolski and perhaps one or two others early in the summer or before, it will make it a lot easier to keep the squad together and look forward to a stronger start to the season.
We have a decent squad already, but quality signings in all the major positions including defence and attack will make us far more capable of coping with the rigours of a new season.
What everyone still has to realise is that we still have tough games coming up. Everton are on a good run, City and the Ch*vs are always going to be a test and Stoke away late on in the season is hardly the walk in the park we would hope for when our rivals have arguably easier run-ins.
Thankfully, we have a week off again to rest weary legs and hopefully get the result we need against an Everton side who gave us quite a game at home earlier in the season.