I shall be watching the Arsenal vs Stoke game in Amsterdam this weekend, I am going on a stag weekend from Friday to Sunday so that should be good fun. Blog writing has been slow in the last few days as I try and sort out the final details. One of those priorities will be finding somewhere to watch the game so if any readers are clued up about where the best places to watch the Premier League games in Amsterdam then please let me know either in the comments or via the contact button.
Staying on the Dutch theme for a moment, I have to once again congratulate Robin van Persie for winning the PFA player of the year award as well as the football writers award. It is not every day that a player picks up both awards in the same season.
He has come a long way since arriving here at only 19 years of age. A fiery talent who had clashed with his manager, brought to North London for only £2.75m. I don't think enough has been made of that fact given the price tags of recent strikers from other big clubs.
Look at him then and look at him now, a player who has blossomed into one of the best players in the game. It is also telling that in his first full season, he has picked up these awards.
Many other blogs have already said what might have been and there is no point in going too much into that because it has been said already. One of the best players in the world has only now managed a full season at Arsenal and that is a crying shame. Even more so considering that it happens to be the season after Cesc Fabregas left the club.
We move on, Arsenal FC move on and it is all about the future. We do not know if that will be with our captain or without, whatever happens I think we are in good shape to look forward but needless to say, we would rather look forward with van Persie on board. His goals are one thing, quite a big thing at that. His assists are another but it is his leadership that has really struck home this season.
We know about what he does away from the pitch and cameras, his wife plays a part in that also, bringing the players together socially, going out as families and creating a genuine harmony in the dressing room. We have had William Gallas and Kolo Toure, Lehmann and Almunia, Gallas and Nasri and also Bendtner and Adebayor publicly admitting to disliking each other.
Without knowing the details exactly, those days seem to be over and the dressing room is much more, for want of a better word.. united.
It is important to keep that and build upon it, it is that trust and togetherness that can become the foundations for a winning team.
I think van Persie gave a little indication as to what his thinking is when he spoke at the awards the other night. He spoke of the award being also for the manager who has stood by him even during difficult times, he also said that Arsenal is a big, big club. Robin van Persie knows that many managers would have cashed in on him during his stop, start career. In fact many supporters would have done the same judging by previous blogs and comments. Arsene Wenger stood by him and banked on his striker coming through his difficult moments and this is the result.
I remember Robin's previous contract renewal, it was the same delay, the same assessing his situation and then he finally put pen to paper. I fully expect that to happen again this time even if he will be chased by many big clubs around the world.
Thomas Vermaelen recently stated that Arsenal was the club for him, that he had turned into a Gunner and that is great to hear. Vermaelen and his wife are close to the van Persie's. He is already at the greatest club in the world, why should he leave? He has a great chance to become a full time legend at this club just the way that Dennis Bergkamp and Thierry Henry are. If we keep this spirit and the likes of Wilshere, Chamberlain, Ramsey and the rest continue to improve as youngsters expect to then we will win trophies again.
Mikel Arteta is producing the Gilberto effect. It becomes clear what we miss. The much derided backwards and square passer is very important for a possession based football team. If you add a player like Podolski and returning players like Wilshere and fingers crossed Diaby then there is every chance that Robin will have even greater quality around him for next season.
I am looking forward to the game tonight, many people including myself are starting to believe that Chelsea could get a result in Camp Nou which means they will now get spanked. Football matches are all based on supporters thoughts, didn't you know?
Right, time to do some work and get on with my day.