Theo Walcott’s recent comments stating that Arsenal can win the league next season have got Arsenal fans believing that the impossible dream has turned into something which is now within their grasp.
Most fans will dismiss these claims, even some Arsenal fans who witnessed pathetic exits to lower league opposition in both domestic cups will view this as an evil PR ploy by Arsenal’s marketing people designed to unfairly raise the expectations of their fans with little or no substance to validate these claims.
It is true that Arsenal finished the season top of current form in their last 10 league matches, taking 26 points from a possible haul of 30 points (Spurs in particular will testify to this); there are also some very interesting pointers that when studied in detail provides Theo’s comments with more than an air of credibility.
People will write Manchester Utd off at their peril, but with a new manager in David Moyes, most people expect a period of bedding in to last for a year maybe even longer. Next season will be Arsene Wenger’s last season in charge. There is little prospect of him extending his contract again but he will feel more than ever, that he has a squad with the necessary talent and experience to make a serious and concerted challenge for that elusive Premier League crown, which was last in Arsenal’s trophy cabinet back in May 2004.
Arsene has an impressive war chest reported to be in the region of £100 million and big names such as David Villa, Stefan Jovetic, Gonzalo Higuain, Christian Benteke and Wayne Rooney have all been linked with a summer move to the Emirates. At the back, targets include Swansea’s Ashley Williams and QPR’s experienced keeper Julio Cesar. Include in the mix a strong rumour linking Cesc Fabregas with a move back to Arsenal and most pundits will agree Arsenal will have an awesome squad next season.
The blue half of Manchester will be itching to get their hands on the league trophy again, but with Manual Pellegrini likely to take over from Mancini, he too will take a little while to bed in. This leaves Chelsea and the imminent arrival of the ‘special one’ as the one big barrier to Arsenal to landing their first trophy in 9 years and their 14th league title.
Arsenal fans, one word of caution which will dampen your enthusiasm. I understand that Brazilian team Gremio have been frightened off a permanent move for the much maligned full-back Andre Santos as they cannot afford him; so Santos will be back as third choice left-back at the Emirates. In all seriousness, I do not expect Santos to feature this season and with Theo Walcott buzzing after his first 20-goal tally Arsenal fans will be hoping and praying that their barren trophyless run will come to an end in a style that will be fitting of the Arsenal footballing trademark.