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Friday Cannon Fodder: anticipation and expectation

Arsenal v Everton - Premier League Photo by Tony McArdle/Everton FC via Getty Images

Arsenal start their Premier League campaign today. The excitement and anticipation around the club is as high as it has been in years. The Gunners have a fabulous young core with bona fide stars, players poised to break out, and two talented players looking to show Manchester City they made a mistake in selling them. Mikel Arteta’s much talked about project / process is taking shape. It really feels like his team now, and you (or at least I) can see clear ideas being put into play on the pitch. The football this preseason looked good good.

The potential to accomplish big things is real. Arsenal have a legitimate shot at winning the club’s first European silverware in the Europa League. They have to be among the favorites, really. There’s no reason they can’t add one of the domestic cups to the haul as well. And the expectation is a Top 4 finish.

Because it’s Matchday 1, hope springs eternal, and now is the best time to say it, I’m going to say it. I can see a path to Arsenal winning the league. Realistically, it’s not going to happen. Manchester City and Liverpool are still better and are proven winners.

But Leicester City won in 2015-16. Weird things can happen. If both of those clubs stumble for whatever reason, why not us? Arsenal are good enough to step up. And the fact that I can say that and not get completely laughed out of the room is significant. It’s the first time since Arsene Wenger left the club that possibility, as small as it may be, has existed at all. It’s the first time in years that Arsenal have been good enough that with a great season and a whole lot of luck, they could do ‘da ‘ting.

Last season, down to the last match of the season, I believed in the team. It felt like something special was happening — the young stars, reconnecting with the fans, rebuilding the faith in the manager and the club. Even though they ultimately, agonizingly fell a bit short, I still feel that way.

This bunch is different. The summer additions have improved the side. The young players will be even better this year. Arsenal have a bit of magic about them. They’re going to do something special this year.

Up the Arsenal. Come on you Gunners. LFG. I’m so ready for this season.