Sunday’s season-ender against Aston Villa is almost upon us and, frankly, the sooner it’s done and dusted the better.
It hasn’t been a great season for myriad different reasons but there’s a slim chance we might still salvage some pride with a win, and an unlikely defeat for Tottenham at Newcastle (I’ve got a pack of part poppers at the ready for just such a scenario).
That aside, there is little else riding on this one, but there are a few loose ends it would be nice to bring together before the curtain comes down.
Here they are:
1: Oliver Giroud bags at least a brace and finishes the season with 23 goals in all competitions.
If he manages it, it would make 2015/16 his best goal-scoring return in an Arsenal shirt. It’s been a tough season for Olivier, having endured a lamentable slump in form from late January until the beginning of May, and having become something of a scapegoat for the team’s corresponding dip in form.
If, in some small way, he can take a positive by setting a personal milestone, then fair play to him. I think some of the criticism that comes his way is justified, but the majority seems to me to be unfair, and a return of more than 20 goals is nothing to be sneered at.
2: Tomas Rosicky and Mikel Arteta enjoy a glorious final 15 minutes at the Emirates.
For me, both of these players are model professionals in a game filled with prima donnas and rampant self-aggrandisement. They are the total antithesis of the Samir Nasris and Emmanuel Adebayors of this world and will be fondly remembered for services rendered.
Over their years at Arsenal, both have suffered rotten luck with injuries and deserved better fortune. That said, their experience I’m sure has been invaluable to the younger players and it will be sad to see them go. Here’s hoping both players are able to get some minutes and really soak up their final outings.
NB: Mathieu Flamini kinda screwed us over by moving to AC Milan in 2008 so I’m happy for him to take a smattering of applause at the end of the match, but no more than that.
3: A convincing Arsenal victory propels them into second place after Spurs wilt in the North East.
In truth, the most important thing is getting the point we need to wrap up third place. Any slip up from here would be unforgivable. But wouldn’t it be a tiny slice of consolation if we were to sneak into second place at the last moment, pushing Tottenham into third and sparking probably the wildest St Totteringham’s Day celebrations yet seen. Sure, it would be a petty, trivial, and ultimately futile victory, but it would add a touch of polish to the turd that has been this season.
4: Just for the afternoon, fans both content and disgruntled put aside their differences to thank the team.
Over the summer the debate about a change of manager, change of board, and change of direction is going to rage – I expect it will rage on into next season unless we buy a brood of galaticos – and that is fine.
On Sunday afternoon, however, it would be great if the fans could send the team off for the summer on a high. It has been a poor season – nobody denies that – but I think that debate can wait for another day. Instead, enjoy the match, the (fingers crossed) victory, and the lap of honour when all is said and done. If nothing else, just don’t punch anyone!
5: Jack Wilshere gets through the full 90 minutes without breaking or snapping anything.
Personally, I wouldn’t mind if the midfield maestro didn’t go to the European Championships this summer but, if people are determined that he really must, at least let’s get him through a full game without something going very, very wrong.
The collective will of every Arsenal fan on planet Earth is behind you, Jack!