For our final Q&A of the season, we caught up
once more with 'Mean Lean' from the Arsenal website
He gives his views on the Gunners' season, Arsene Wenger, their forthcoming FA
Cup Final, and more. You can also follow Arsenal Vision on Twitter
How's Arsenal’s season being
viewed by Gunners' fans?
It's been a crazy up and down season this time round. Pretty much as up and down
as possible. We had the worst start to a season since Arsène arrived, we had
drawn a whole load of games in which we should have won. There are reasons for
this such as one of the worst injury lists you'll see as well as trying to shift
our system not to mention our world cup winners arriving late without a pre
season. Then quickly fast forward to post Christmas and we produced our best
league run since we went the season unbeaten. Coincidentally (or not) our
injured players had returned. We've stuttered somewhat now but I think the
second half of the season is a better reflection of this squad.
When we last spoke back in November, you claimed that opinion was split on
Gunners' boss Arsène Wenger. Has that view changed at all now that another
season has come and gone?
I think it will always be split unless we win the league, even then you'll still
find fans who will hunt high and low for something to complain about. I can't
speak for anyone else but in my eyes we are progressing as a team and I can see
with my own eyes what he is building with this squad. Some folk have unrealistic
expectations and want us to win every game regardless of the competition the
truth is we are behind some clubs and have to build to catch up. So far so good
in my opinion.
What do the club need to do transfer-wise over the summer?
I think it's going to be a busy one this time. We will lose a few fringe players
and I think we will look to add quality in certain areas. Defensive midfield,
goalkeeper should Szczesny leave and perhaps another attacking player of some
description. All depends on what players are available and which players fancy
moving to Arsenal. Like with our domestic league, there will be plenty of
competition from other big clubs.
On a similar note, you've been linked with Liverpool winger Raheem Sterling, is
he a player you would like to see at the Emirates?
Sterling is a talented player, not quite at the level his hype suggests but
given his age I think he will get there at some point. I'd always want a player
of his potential at the Arsenal but for the price I'd imagine it would take to
move him.. well, I'm not sure it would be a good idea. That said, he is the type
of player that you would look back on and think 'drat, if only we took the
chance to sign him'
But with players like Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain already at the club I think I'd
rather we went for a more proven talent *cough* Reus *cough* can't think of any
names just now.
You will be going into the FA Cup Final next weekend with the backing of
not only Arsenal fans but the vast majority of Baggies' supporters too. Are you
confident of winning a second successive FA Cup?
Ahh man, erm.. well yeah I suppose I have to be confident as we are the
favourites and we have the stronger squad etc etc but something smells a little
funky regarding this game (maybe it's my pants due to nerves)
We've dropped off at a crucial time and Benteke is in a rich vein of form right
now. Basically I think it is down to us. If we perform to the levels we can then
Villa stand little chance but if we don't produce the required commitment and
quality then Villa have enough to cause an upset. *Gulp*
Here is the thing, I think our performance against you guys will be a good
indication of where we are mentally. So it is in your best interests to allow us
to spank you so the evil Villa don't brag about a cup win. Might be worth
getting onto Pulis about this. Don't you think?
How have recent performances been?
Rubbish. Ok, that is harsh but just not as good as prior weeks.
Highlight of the season?
Beating Liverpool 4-1 at home with some wonderful pressing and blockbuster
goals. I enjoyed that game.
Moment you would rather forget?
Why do this to me? It's got to be Monaco at home in the Champions League. As
well as Mourinho's face ever showing on TV.
Player of the season?
Alexis or Cazorla for me. Both have dipped massively of late but given that it
is Alexis' first season I'll hand him the award.
Villain of the season?
Jose Mourinho.. Derr!
What team and tactics are we likely to see from the Gunners on Sunday?
The team will be interesting as we've played the same team every week for 6
games I think. First time since George Graham was manager. Which tells you just
how awful our injury record has been over the years. We should see some rotation
as 3rd place looks all but sorted. We haven't scored many goals in recent weeks
so we'll be aggressive in trying to get that particular monkey off our backs.
Prediction for and thoughts on the game?
Tony Pulis will have watched, studied and practised the recent performances from
Swansea and Sunderland so I expect you guys to follow suit. Be compact, defend
in numbers and block off our passing lanes in the middle of the pitch and around
the penalty area. So on paper given our recent profligacy it could well be a
tight game again and with little Saido Berahino you'll be looking to punish us
for overcommitting as Sunderland could have done.
It's all about getting the first goal, if it comes in the first half then it's a
tough game for you, keep us out and we'll be struggling with our belief.
But like I said, have a word with Pulis please. It's for your own benefit. :-)