So, that’s it. The 2020/21 season has finally drawn to a close and I couldn’t be happier. I can’t say I’ll look back on it with any fondness, it’s been a season to forget for a multitude of reasons. The poor domestic performances, crashing out of a European semi-final by failing to score at home, the lack of fans. All of these are contributing factors. The last one for me being the most telling of all.
With that last point in mind, it was great to see people back in the Emirates yesterday. As I was moving it was a game I couldn’t attend (along with failing in the ballot). But socials were full of friends and family doing what felt almost normal after 18 months of being confined to living rooms. The familiar pre-match haunts, the same old faces, the walk, the smells, the sounds, all must’ve been a little bit more special than before.
I won’t go into the game too much, Pepe continued his sparkling form with a couple of goals, we were always in control and Partey was desperately unlucky not to get a goal himself. It was in all honesty a nothing game realistically with pride on the line as I’m not counting the two bob EuroPop Conference league (more on that in a minute), and we put in a shift to close the season with 5 league wins on the spin.
The old adage goes that the table doesn’t lie and whether you like it or not we’re the 8th best team in the country, that’s all there is to it. Good enough? Of course not. Work to be done? You better believe it. However aside from them finishing above us, Sp*rs now have the unenviable prize of playing in the Europa Conference. Which means 15 arduous, mundane matches on Thursdays across the arsehole of Europe. Travel tiredness and fatigue will catch them during the space of the season and the only prize is a place in the Europa League. Bullet dodged? Absolutely.
The Bottom Line
So what does that mean for us? Well, it means that Mikel Arteta has all week to work with the team to really cement his ideas. It means our main focus is the Premier League. It means we have all week to rest and prepare for the next opponent. But it also means there is nowhere to hide. It means that this season Arteta must show improvement or there will be serious ramifications. I said in my last post that this summer is huge and the club cannot afford to get it wrong. That hasn’t changed.