So the roller coaster is slowing right down and coming to an abrupt end on Sunday, at least it is for Arsenal. Keeping on the theme, it was a little more bumpy and not quite as exciting a ride as we hoped it would be, but that's the way it goes. It really feels like it has flown by this season and I guess that is something I have been saying for the last few years, maybe it has something to do with age, I don't know.
Relegated Aston Villa are our opponents on Sunday and if you think we've had it bad just have a glance at the Midlands club. As a youngster I was quite excited about the Villa team. The Atkinson and Saunders strike partnership that took them within a whisker of winning the title was very enjoyable, even as an Arsenal fan. They have largely been a mid-table club attempting to push for European places but in recent seasons they have been stripped of their best players and have not invested into the squad, that has seen them spiral out of the Premier League and into the Championship.
I am fully aware that our ambitions are very different to Aston Villa, especially these days but we could (if unlikely) finish second in the league. Football eh?
So if we are to finish second and snatch what seemed a hugely unlikely St Totteringham's day only a few weeks ago we are going to need to beat Aston Villa which shouldn't be too difficult right? and Newcastle are going to need to beat Tottenham at St James' Park which I suspect is rather unlikely as the Magpies are already relegated along with Aston Villa. There is another example of a very poorly run club right there. Even if Tottenham are still sulking around the place after having their pants pulled down at Stamford Bridge, I think they will still have too much to beat a down and out Newcastle team who are quite frankly abysmal at home.
Finishing above Tottenham would be a bonus so we have to turn our attentions on saying goodbye to some 'propa' professionals. Mikel Arteta, Tomas Rosicky and Mathieu Flamini will almost certainly be heading out the door this summer so this will be our chance to wave goodbye. That said Arsene did say that Flamini has hurt his foot or something. Is it me or am I the only one who gets suspicious whenever we hear one of these injuries stories? I mean Arsène can't exactly say "We can't include them all in the squad so I am leaving out Flamini so I can include Rosicky and Arteta"
With Wilshere back fit and Ramsey, Elneny and Özil all likely to start it wouldn't make sense filling the bench with central midfielders. I don't see any of them starting the game as we still have to finish off the job of securing CL football automatically for next season but I'm sure we will see one or two of our departing guys and it will be sad.
While Mikel Arteta's powers have clearly waned over the last few seasons I still find it incredible how our captain has been treated by some sections of our support. The guy came into the club at such a vital time for the club and has been an incredible professional and leader on and off the pitch. I would go as far as to say we have missed his character this season on the pitch.
Tomas Rosicky? well I can't talk too much about him otherwise I may start shedding tears, and nobody wants that.
I can't talk for everyone but part of my life will not be as fulfilled as it ought to have been. I didn't get to see enough of Rosicky bouncing, sliding around the pitch, didn't see enough of those outside of the foot passes or those run and drag back while turning the other way skills. Didn't see enough of Mesut and Tomas on the pitch together, didn't get to see Rosicky lift the Premier League title and that makes me very sad indeed.
Rosicky may not have ever had the best numbers in terms of assists and goals for a creative player but what he almost always did was make those around him play better. He would always make himself available for the pass or fizzing passes into players at the right time. His work rate was always very high and he left everything on the pitch every time he played.
Flamini wore his heart on his sleeve, never the most talented player at Arsenal and certainly came back nowhere near the level he left the club, but his desire to do well was always without question. Mikel Arteta hugely underrated in my eyes, a complete professional and deserves respect for his behaviour and attitude since joining from Everton. But Tomas Rosicky will be the one I miss the most, the one who I will always wish I saw more of in an Arsenal shirt. Big respect to those lads and I hope they get the send off they deserve.
Mean Lean's Predicted Line Up:
As for the rest of the team I imagine we will see more of the same. Maybe Jack Wilshere will come in the team for Alex Iwobi, I don't see many other changes at the moment.
I'd like to see Giroud add to his goal and assist at City, like to see some Özil assists and perhaps a Ramsey goal. It would be nice to end the season with a good performance and some goals, there might frustration in the air but it won't be long before fans are begging to see the Arsenal again.