Kieran Gibbs believes the drama of Arsenal’s quest for a top four position will help strengthen the bond between the current first team squad and insists that with new players now integrated the future is bright at the Emirates.
Arsene Wenger’s men celebrated with gusto in the aftermath of yesterday’s gritty 1-0 win at St James Park and while the England left-back accepts that a shot at qualifying for the Champions League isn’t traditionally something to shout about, the opportunity could hardly be passed up given the mountain the Gunners have climbed since the turn of the year.
“We are jumping around celebrating but we haven’t actually won anything,” the left-back told the London Evening Standard.
“You can look at it like that. On the other hand, we are aware that we need to produce next season. We have to be confident to deal with that.It is massive to finish in the top four. We have done it for however many seasons on the bounce now but we haven’t actually properly qualified yet because we still have to play the play-off game at the start of the new season.
“We would have liked to have had a better season, but I think overall you have to be happy with the way the team got back together after December and showed real character, yet again, to come back and finish where we want to be.
“We were a new-look side for another season, again, with new signings that have had to come in and step up. It is never easy to just come straight into the Premier League and perform like some of our good players have.
“In the end, there was a combination of us needing to realise what we wanted from the season and the players starting to get to know each other more. As time went on, we started to gel.
“That was important and it puts us in good stead for next season because I believe the team have gelled because of this. The dramatic finale makes us even stronger and we are going into next season head on.”
One player who won’t be part of Arsenal’s future is Andrei Arshavin. Having watched the Gunners pip Spurs to fourth, presumably from the comfort of his sofa, the little Russian tweeted his congratulations before appearing to say a parting thanks to everyone associated with the club.
“Thanks a lot to all Arsenal’ fans, to all my team partners, who played with me all these years, to all the stuff and coaches!!! Many thanks!
“Gunners! Good luck in the Champions League next year!”
It remains to be seen if he retires, as some reports suggested last month, or if he’ll head to more lucrative climes. No doubt we’ll be hearing more from him in the near future.