By Richard Popple
A mixture of relief and thoughts of what might have been filled me after the Reading win on Saturday. Of course our challenge for silverware is over this season and this game had from Arsenal’s point of view, an air of lethargy about it. But we won nevertheless, a victory and a clean sheet.
The performance was professional and clinical against a Reading side that showed plenty of determination but little guile and ambition to win the game. It was great to see Theo Walcott play a full 90 minutes and he gave a decent performance. Robin Van Persie importantly is showing signs that he is returning to some form. Next year however, is a huge year for Van Persie. I hope he stays injury free and if he does Arsenal will be there or thereabouts.
What then do we look forward to from now until August? Arsene Wenger has demanded that we finish with four wins and twelve points. We have taken three comfortably and now have a week off to take stock before going to Derby a week tonight. I hope Walcott and Bendtner start that game as Wenger as made it clear that both of these players will be at the club next season. It would therefore be nice to see a bit more of them in the remaining games.
The other big talking point is Mathieu Flamini and the saga that is his future. For what it’s worth, here is my advice to Flamini: Sign the contract Mathieu. You earn enough money at Arsenal and play regularly. Arsene Wenger has given you a massive chance to play in this team and exposure to the French national side.
Flamini has been brilliant for Arsenal this season and knows that he is an integral part of the team. It would represent another greedy exploitation of the bosman ruling if he left for a free in the summer, with the promise of more money surely the only reason. It would be a massive disappointment to loose Flamini but, no player is ever more important than the club. If he wants more money then he can leave.
Oh a quick word for Gilberto. He played very well again on Saturday, it will be intriguing to see whether he stays next year, which he stated is his intention……maybe we don’t need Flamini after all? Comments are welcomed.