Raila Odinga: Arsenal Has Been Fantastic.. We’ll Win the Title Next Season
In case you’ve not heard, Raila Odinga is officially a blogger.
He launched his blog a few weeks ago, and so far it’s doing fine. The former PM is a big supporter of Arsenal, who yesterday signed off their season in style by beating West Brom 4 – 1.
Just before the game, Raila published a lengthy article explaining why Arsenal have progressed this season. My home is Old Trafford, and I obviously don’t agree with most of what he says, especially where he claims Arsenal’s main objective will be to dethrone Chelsea and reclaim the title next season. Because every reasonable person knows Man U will be the team to beat, especially when the ‘new Ronaldo’, Memphis Depay arrives.
Anyway, I’ll let Arsenal fans do the talking, us we prefer to talk in the pitch.
Here’s Raila’s take.
Arsenal Football Club supporters globally will agree that our team has made tremendous progress this season. The Stats, which just like facts, seldom lie – do back my statement.
Until this point of the season i.e with one match to play, the team is assured of finishing among the best three clubs in the English Premier League. We also have a major domestic cup final to play in a week’s time against a team I find problems writing or spelling its particulars.
This is our best position for the past five seasons, and the second best points tally during that period.
And for good measure, this is the second consecutive season Arsenal will finish the league season ahead of that other team which plays its matches at Old Trafford.
We have won 21, drawn nine and lost seven games in the league. This translates to a win rate of 58.3 per cent, with 22.2 per cent draws while losses account for a paltry 19.4 per cent.
Crucially, achieving third place takes off pressure from the team’s summer preparations ahead of the upcoming season, because we will not be featuring in the Uefa Champions League play-offs.
Wenger’s consistency deserves a special mention.
The Gunners have, during each of the French manager’s 17-year reign at the club, finished in the top four position, and made it at least to the knockout stages of the Champions League.
With such an impressive background, a majority of the club’s fan base have every reason to be optimistic of dethroning Chelsea to reclaim the league title next season after more than a decade of waiting.
Lovers of the game will recall how Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United dominated English football for decades, before the likes of Chelsea and Manchester City, who are now endowed by financial doping, showed up.
This term, Arsenal have made some impressive gains that can be attributed to a number of factors, chief among them a large competitive squad.
Instrumentally, the capture of Alexis Sanchez from Barcelona last summer has added creativity and goals into this team, a factor that has taken pressure off Mesut Ozil.
Special mention to Olivier Giroud, Aaron Ramsey, Danny Welbeck, Santiago Carzola, and Alex Oxlade Chamberlain, who have also contributed significantly to the goal scoring and creative departments.
All this, coupled with the imminent return of Theo Wacott and Jack Wilshere is sure to improve the squad come August. Our defence has also improved greatly with Calum Chambers and Hector Bellerin proving among the finds of the season.
THE GABRIEL FACTOR
The duo alongside new Samba recruit Gabriel Paulista will compliment and eventually prove able replacements for Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker in the coming seasons.
All said, a couple of quality recruits are required to take us to the next level both in England and Champions League.
In attack, Wenger needs to be more ruthless and bring in an injury free and prominent finisher.
The likes of Karim Benzema (Real Madrid), Jackson Martinez (Porto), Edinson Cavani (PSG) or Gonzalo Higuain (Napoli), who are available according to media reports, spring to mind.
Francis Coquelin has done a magnificent job in defensive midfield since being recalled from a loan spell at Charlton in December.
But he needs competition which in my opinion should not come in the frame of Mikael Arteta or Mathieu Flamini.
Instead, either of Harambee Stars captain Victor Wanyama and Frenchman Morgan Schneiderlin will do a better job. Paul Pogba would also prove a luxury signing to compliment the offensive department, but his arrival could be at the expense or Carzola, Ozil or Walcott.
In defence, a quality left back and centre-half are needed. Mats Hummels of Borrusia Dortmund and either Marcelo of Real Madrid or Jordi Alba of Barcelona are my choice.
In goal, I give the nod to want-away Chelsea goalie Petr Cech. He is highly unlikely to spend another season warming the bench at Stamford Bridge. With all this in place, expect long and consistent sleepless nights for all our rivals even as we sing “In Arsene We Trust”.