So is this it then? is this the culmination of a decade of building, a decade of frustration and a decade of civil war of words? Is this the season when we return to the promised land? It's a novelty: a close season without our better players leaving to earn more money and possibly win something. It's a close season without of players who, having failed to deliver, sought employment elsewhere to gain honours. The bitterness aimed at Flamini by some must be in part because he is a reminder of those that went before, players that ignored their part in failing to succeed and just chose the hypnotic allure of cash and supposed easy success-Song, Clichy, Nasri, Hleb, RVP, Fabregas etc; the list is a long one and each summer there was an inevitability about departures.
Not so this year and perhaps that is due to winning back to back FA Cups and actually beating the so called 'big teams' or perhaps it's more subtle than that. This squad seem to have a unity that has been missing for a number of years, they seem, well they seem to be The Arsenal, they feel like The Arsenal if you know what I mean. This squad have a genuine superstar in their ranks, in the shape of Alexis Sanchez, but when is the last time you saw a superstar work so tirelessly for the team? This squad has exquisite ball players in Carzola and Ozil, yet they are certainly not luxury players. There are players vying for the same position and this is always a good thing. This squad has some youngsters who seem to just get on with it without the posturing of many a young gun. Could we do with a couple more players? well of course we could but I don't detect the 'buy,buy,buy' frenzy of previous summers. This squad now have those all important winners medals and that surely counts for something.
There is a solidity about this squad and let us not overlook the acquisition of Petr Cech. I have heard some say that he's not as good as he used to be and other disparaging remarks but the fact is that we needed a good Goalkeeper and we were not going to get the first choice keepers from Manchester United, Bayern Munich or Chelsea, so in my mind Cech is the best keeper that was available: a winner with vast Premier League experience, who is younger than Lehman at the time we bought him: I for one am happy with that.
So what of the 2015/16 Season? it starts with the curtain raiser of the Community Shield and to be honest we are damned if we win it and damned if we don't. Winning will be met with press headlines such as: "it was only a friendly, let's see them beat Chelsea in a proper game". Losing means that the media will bang on about; "they can't even beat His Highness Mourinho in a friendly" so it's going to be another chance for media opprobrium-nothing new there then.
A realistic title tilt and a proper go at the Champions League are now expected. Such is the price of being The Arsenal, and that's how I see us now. It's been a long time coming but I feel that we have not been The Arsenal for quite some time and we are now, and with being The Arsenal comes great responsibility.