"90, 86, 83, 71"
It was great to see the season finish with both a win and a show of support for the boss, who has not deserved to be criticised in the manner in which he has been criticised for the last few months by the media and certain sections of our own support. The four numbers above though show that we have been significantly off the pace in the league, United's points tally is very impressive, but our drop from our points tally of a year previously is surely evidence that we have had big problems in a number of areas. Many of us agree on where the weaknesses are and these need to be addressed in the summer.
We do need to retain a sensible perspective on how far we have come under Arsene's supreme reign. The flamboyant football, the young talent, the infrastructure of our new superclub and the yearly champions league football: these are all things we now take for granted. One must remember that not long before Wenger took over we were not too far off the relegation zone, needing some crucial goals from a rather powerful Welsh ginger to ensure our top flight status.
It is worth considering just how far clubs can fall in short spaces of time, Newcastle have been relegated and they were close to being Champions in the relatively recent past. The Toon Army's failure is great example of how a big club can sink as a direct result of recurrent stupid knee jerk decisions from the management. They now have a wage bill of over 70 million and are in the Championship, they are in danger of going into free fall. In this context our manager and board's pragmatic work of recent years looks very very clever indeed, some fans need to be very careful in what they wish for and the management often need to ignore the nosiest fans in order to act in the best interests of the their club.
In order to challenge for the title next year we need to secure our best players' futures at the club, get rid of some of our dead wood and bring in some quality and experience where we lack it. It is essential that RVP is tied down to a new long term deal, while I don't think many people would argue that Bendtner has shown enough determination and ability to be considered a player well worth keeping at the club for a good while longer.
We all have out own opinions about the dead wood, but few would argue that Adebayor's time is up, I would imagine that the same is the case for Mikel Silvestre. Other players' cases are less clear cut, I would like to see Eboue stay, he is an excellent full back to have in the squad, while whether Diaby deserves another season is something that is very much open to debate in my opinion. The type of player I would love us to sign is in the Mascherano mould, we don't need any more technical ball players, we need more grit, more destructive power and more filth.
One thing is sure, there will be plenty of time for debating all these issues over the coming months, personally I would prefer the banter to be concentrated upon real issues rather than being wild conjecture about potential signings. I am realistic enough to appreciate that certain people cannot resist indulging themselves in this regard, but I would just ask as many as people as possible to try to rise above this kind of tabloid hacking.
From a perspective point of view, I'd just like to finish by taking a minute to think of the three relegated clubs. West Brom have covered themselves in glory this year, they play nice football and their manager is a top bloke, the same goes for Boro and they probably would not have gone down if they could have converted their early season performances into points. I have already mentioned Newcastle, they are the 'Christmas Carol' club of the Premiership, some our own overly demanding fans would do well to think for a second why they have fallen from grace so very spectacularly, if one ignores the tales from the ghosts of the past it does not bode well for one's future.