Next season seems quite some time away. Last season ended with an anti-climactic whimper after it promised so much. Positivity is still burning brightly within most fans though, as the improvement is tangible. But…
…what is success for next season?
We would’ve never dreamed of obtaining a top four spot at the beginning of last season. But with just two games left of the season, we had it in our grasp. We are all painfully aware how this ended, but perhaps this is a blessing for our young players, still learning and avoiding a Champions League humbling could be to their benefit.
A Europa League campaign that could promise plenty and another season under their green belts means we can expect a little more from the likes of Smith-Rowe, Martinelli, Ramsdale, White and Gabriel. For the most part, they did a sterling job and our defence was resolute. But at times we wobbled and this can be put down to inexperience. Next season, they will be even better.
We will also remember how we missed out on a Champions League place. It still smarts, especially given who profited from our mistakes.
A fair amount of our goals will hinge on how we perform in the market. The purchases of Jesus, Marquinhos and Vieira bolster us in some key areas, but…
Will we obtain a partner for Partey who will let him play without a handbrake? Will we get the striker who can make the most of the chances created by Martin Odegaard – who created the second most chances from open play in the PL? What about adequate cover for the injury prone Kieran Tierney – will Tavares come good or do we need another?
…even if we don’t answer all of the questions related to our squad, we can still retain optimism. Saka, ESR, Martinelli – all of the young talent that blazed a trail last season, they will be stronger, better, more astute in the heat of the moment. There will be less moments of weakness, the wetness behind the ears will be a little drier.
We will still be stronger, more able to deal with the rigours of a campaign that has now returned to the European stage, albeit on the second rung.
Savvy. That is what we needed at times last season. Against Newcastle, when we were crushed so easily with the top4 spot still in our midst, it wasn’t old heads we needed, it was effort. It was mystifying why it wasn’t there when so much lay on the result. But then, our losses against Crystal Palace, Brighton and Southampton screamed for players with a little nous. To stop the flow of the game and disrupt it.
Next season, we can expect a little less of the mistakes, the questionable minutes where we seem to have lost our heads.
We’ll be better.
Add in the potential additions of exciting talents such as Omari Hutchinson, Marcel Flores and Mika Biereth at times, we could still have that wildcard up our sleeves too.
The chemistry, the adaption to Mikel Arteta’s gameplans and instructions – we will be closer to it.
And top4? That should be within our grasp, no matter what United, Leicester or that lot down the road do.
Next season can’t come soon enough.