Arsenal to face Stoke this Saturday
April 26, 2012
Post created by Tim
With third in the table almost sewn up, and a healthy dose of humility for a seemingly upstart Spurs into the bargain with it Arsenal fans are feeling a lot better than they were in October, which is unsurprising if you think back to the 8 goals they conceded to Manchester United around that time. However, the turmoil of last summer has scarred more than a few, and the enduring noise about Arsene Wenger and how much further he can take the club is testament to that.
This weekend the Gunners take on Stoke, and at (10/11 with BetFair) to come away victorious it is clear that the bookies don’t give too much credence to the idea you can still kick Wenger teams off the park and win. The rise of Alex Song, amongst others has left the side with a more solid look, and (Stoke being 7/2 to win at home with Bet365) reflects how far this Arsenal team has come, but it still has some work to be completed.
Rather than last summer being a period of building and improvement, there are many who feel the squad ended up weaker for all of Wenger’s work, although in fairness to the French master any team would struggle to cope with the loss of a player as good as Samir Nasri, let alone Cesc Fabregas. Now another summer is nearly upon us, and rather than signings the fans are one again aghast at the prospect of losing their captain.
Robin van Persie has just over twelve months to run on his contract, and so far the mercurial Dutchman has not discussed a new deal with the club hierarchy, although he is still (1/2 with VictorChandler) to be at the club next year. This has left the fans worried that he will leave the fold for the chance to win trophies elsewhere, although the differences in his age, fragility and value to Fabregas or Nasri have changed the dynamic somewhat, with Wenger more inclined to let him see out his contract due to van Persie’s reduced sale value.
If he did go to the likes of (City: 5/2, VC) or (Real: 9/1, UniBet) it seems unlikely Arsenal could sign a replacement of similar quality, but therein lies the problem. Like any top player, Van Persie wants to win trophies, and the continued talent-drain from Arsenal could prevent him doing so in a red shirt. This will be a huge summer at the Emirates, and could well decide how much longer the Gunners are ruled by his Wengerness.