The Jason De Vos column

WHAT an exciting Champions' League Cup final this promises to be with Arsenal getting there.As we had our end-of-season dinner I didn't get to see Arsenal get through but we were getting updates throughout and it is a great achievement for them - especially considering it has not been a stellar season for them.

WHAT an exciting Champions' League Cup final this promises to be with Arsenal getting there.

As we had our end-of-season dinner I didn't get to see Arsenal get through but we were getting updates throughout and it is a great achievement for them - especially considering it has not been a stellar season for them. They look to be struggling to qualify for next year's Champions' League through their Premiership position, especially after failing to beat Tottenham the other day.

They have not been tearing up any trees but to now reach the final and be one game away from the biggest club prize there is, is amazing.

Win or lose though, I have a feeling that this will be Thierry Henry's last season at Arsenal. Possibly the only way he would stay is if he looked at the young stars coming through and felt Arsenal could go on and be dominant.


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If he doesn't think that then Barcelona is probably the only club bigger than Arsenal that he would go to.

This was written before last night's result between Barcelona and AC Milan but I would be amazed if it was not Barca that got through.

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I would also fancy them in the final because they look unstoppable at the moment. They don't have a weakness in the team. That said, Arsenal have gone 10 games in Europe without conceding, and that is awesome.

It will be great for Arsenal and their manager Arsene Wenger, although I thought his take on the Spurs goal last week was wrong.

The two Arsenal lads clattered into each other, and in fairness Michael Carrick did the right thing by looking to see they were getting up and looking at the referee to see if either had a serious injury. When he saw that wasn't the case, he played on. It was only then that one of the injured Arsenal players saw what was happening and went down again.

The unwritten rule in football is that you kick the ball out of play if there is a serious injury but if you know it is a bit of gamesmanship then you carry on.

The problem goes back to the whole diving business and while this may sound strange coming from me, a Canadian, there are so many foreigners coming into the game here and throwing themselves down and play-acting in an attempt to con referees.

The Premier League need to deal with this by acting retrospectively and handing out red cards for players who cheat, and if the authorities were to get tougher on players then they would get rid of it at a stroke.

Players just would not risk being suspended, even if they got away with it in a game.

The technology is there, especially in the Premiership, and I once again say we should use it. They could even test it out in the Community Shield to show that it doesn't, or does, disrupt the game.

We saw another example recently when Birmingham were denied a clear penalty and that could be the difference between them staying up and going down.

You are then talking about losing £25million plus because historically teams that get relegated don't come straight back up. Squads get decimated, people's livelihoods are lost and clubs get into all sorts of financial difficulties.

OBVIOUSLY it is good to win an award and I have to admit I didn't expect to win anything but it was really nice to get the recognition from the other lads and win Players' Player of the Year.

Football for me though is always a team game and as one of the lads pointed out on Tuesday night it was good that so many different players won awards.

Darren Currie won the EADT/Powergen award, Richard Naylor the boxholders' prize, Danny Haynes was Most Improved Player, Fabian Wilnis got the supporters' vote and Chris Casement the Dale Roberts' Memorial Trophy as Academy Player of the Year.

It is almost disappointing when a team is successful and only one player scoops all the awards because football is about being a team and any side is only as strong as its weakest link.

At Ipswich we are all pulling together and even though we have had a disappointing season we have a good set of lads here who are in it together.

You get clubs who have not lived up to expectations or have struggled and they get fractious. You get problems in the dressing room or talking behind the manager's back, but none of that has happened here and everyone is united behind the manager and the players have confidence and belief in each other.

We know we can achieve a lot with this squad, although we do need a bit of luck next season. A long run next season without any bad injuries or having to complain about refereeing decisions would help. But the adversity we have come through this season will benefit the young lads.

I have told them the easy thing is the first couple of first-team games, it is difficult when things start to go wrong or you are not in the team and don't understand why.

You get through that and you become stronger and better for it and in turn that can only be good for the club.

In a way I wish the season was starting tomorrow. I know some supporters with a negative train of thought will regard this as smoke and mirrors but I genuinely believe we have a team here capable of winning this league.

THIS is probably the strangest end of season game that I have been involved in. There is nothing to be decided for anyone in the Championship, which is weird really.

We go to Plymouth on Sunday and like everyone else there is just no drama anywhere for fans to get excited about.

Usually, even if you are not at your team's game, supporters are checking the radio and television and invariably there will be an 89th-minute goal somewhere that completely changes the complexion of the table one way or another.

It is a bit different for Leagues One and Two and the Premiership where they have an extra week. I hear that is down to the play-offs, where it could be that Championship players are also involved in the World Cup.

I guess many Ipswich supporters will be interested in seeing Colchester United win promotion to the Championship and set up a local derby, and they are in the driving seat right now.

It would be great for the area if the U's did come up and it would be good to see who else is coming into our league.

The same is true with the Premiership and who comes down. Sunderland are sure things and West Brom are all but down. The interesting thing now is the battle between Birmingham and Portsmouth, and I fancy Pompey to stay up.

They are on a run and are scoring goals. They have the momentum and after looking dead and buried they are putting wins together whereas Birmingham almost look defeated already.

It is going to take a massive effort from Birmingham to stay up.

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