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Not finishing second is unthinkable for Arsenal this season

 

No-one can argue that the last third of this season has been a vast improvement by Arsenal and for the first time in a few seasons they have their destiny in their own hands, a second placed finish is a must in this seasons Premier League if they are to avoid the dreaded Champions League qualifiers next season, convince people that they are a side that have progressed since the woes of last season and the first 8 games of this campaign.

Wenger’s side are currently third going into an all important away trip to Old Trafford on Sunday, a win would put pressure on Manchester City who sit second and are three points ahead of the North Londoners, while their opponents Manchester United remain in fourth place just two points behind.

Last Mondays disheartening defeat at home to Swansea was a real kick in the teeth for Arsenal who prior to the 1-0 loss had won 9 of their last 10 games and were joint top with Chelsea in the form guide, it is imperative they put that defeat behind them and put in a better performance against Louis Van Gaal’s side.

There was a feeling of deja vu as Bafetimbi Gomis saw his header beat the helpless David Ospina in the Arsenal goal, it was almost a “here we go again moment”, the Frenchman did exactly the same thing in the game at the Liberty stadium earlier in the season to deny Arsenal any points. There is a real concern that failing to grab all three points at Old Trafford could see Arsenal finish in that uninspiring fourth place and then you would have to ask yourself have the squad really progressed?

It is no secret that certain areas need addressing as many pundits have pointed out there is a need for another goalkeeper, a holding midfield player and at least one striker in the Summer. It is not all doom and gloom though at the Emirates and it is clear that the club will spend the money if the right players become available. It will be made perfectly clear by how the club act in the transfer market just how ambitious they are when it comes to challenging for the title.

Olivier Giroud has taken his fair share of criticism since his arrival from Montpellier in 2012 but this season he has been impressive but I am still of the opinion that as a club there has to be more to our front-line than a physical centre forward, Wenger’s sides have always been at their best with pace all his successful sides have moved the ball quickly and this current Arsenal side should be no different. Giroud is a good option to have but with the same token you are never going to win the league with Giroud as your no.1 striker.

Arsenal are still very light of defensive midfield options and if it wasn’t for the injury problems to Abou Diaby, Mikel Arteta and Mathieu Flamini this season I very much doubt whether Francis Coquelin would be anywhere near the first team it was a stroke of luck and for the first time fans should be grateful for the squad’s fitness deficiencies. That being said there is still a real need for at least cover for Coquelin, Every top side in Europe has at least two quality defensive midfielders at their club and without Arsenal addressing this area they will NOT be contenders next season.

Lastly Arsenal’s goalkeeping situation. David Ospina has made the no.1 jersey his own this season and I cannot see Wojciech Szczesny getting that back at least I hope not. Wenger has been very patient with the Pole who is the definition of inconsistency not to mention he is renowned for choking on the big occasion. It is very important that Wenger signs a world class goalkeeper in the Summer to give Ospina a real challenge, we have seen how having no real competition for places has damaged the club’s silverware chances in respect of Szczesny’s position at the club in the past and this should not be allowed to happen next season with Ospina.

The Colombian has impressed me and I would keep him as Arsenal no.1 next season, if Arsenal sign another keeper in the Summer no matter who it is he should earn his place. This goes for whoever it might be Petr Cech, Iker Casillas or Keylor Navas.

Every year it is described as a big Summer at the Emirates but it really is this year, they need to show some real intent when it comes to investing in the squad. Chelsea have been the team to beat this season and should be the blueprint for what Wenger should be looking to achieve this Summer. Business should be conducted early which has always been Arsenal’s problem going into a new season, show some intent and just maybe it could be a victorious 2015-16 season.

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