After the disappointing 5 seasons of no silverware, this sounds like an over-optimistic statement from any Arsenal fan. However I will never term this season as an disappointment.
Before the season started, everyone had written us off, and with departures of Emmanuel Adebayor and Kolo Toure we were also predicted to loose the Champions League spot to Manchester City or Sp*rs. To make the season worst we lost Van Persie to an injury when he was on international duty. We had three main strikers Van Persie, Bendtner and Eduardo. We were now left with just two and when Bendtner seemed to be accelerating and growing up to fit in main striker’s shoes he got out for majority of the season with a groin injury. Now arsenal was to entirely rely on just-returned-from-injury striker and natural finisher Eduardo. We also had the young Mexican Carlos Vela but he was too young to fit in the first team so soon, according to Arsene Wenger. Eduardo coped well with his return from injury however the niggling injuries – the side-effect of recovery from the major injury took it’s toll and soon Arsenal were without any striker and they managed the situation by using Arshavin as the make shift Striker, until Eduardo recovered. Despite all these calamities hitting the Arsenal Squad, Arsenal always managed to be in the title race, thanks to Goal Contributions from all the areas. Even the defenders Gallas, Vermaeleen, Sol, Eboue and Mikel scored 15 goals among themselves.
This season saw a few boys growing into men, Denilson and Diaby whom everyone thought were not worthy enough to put on an Arsenal Shirt were running box to box and actually scoring Premiere League and Champions League goals. I can never forget the moment when Cesc was out injured and arsenal were to take a free kick. This had never happened before. Denilson had never taken a free kick for Arsenal. He stepped up to take this one and guess what, he hit the back of the net with a precise finish. Not to forget, he also scored the opening goal of the season. He has always looked good and gone noticed this season whenever Cesc did not play. It seems in Cesc’s presence Denilson’s role gets reduced and his creativity dies. Other boy who grew into a man was Vito Mannone. Injuries to first choice Goal keeper Almunia and 2nd choice goalkeeper Fabianski set Vito up for his premiere league debut. His first few appearances did not give a glimpse of his potential but the match against Fulham clarified the entire picture. If it was not for Vito we would have surely lost that match. All the saves Vito made in that match were almost goals and only Vito’s reflexes made the victory possible. Do not forget, we won that at Fulham’s home. Among the three grown up men the first 2 have not shown the performance in consistent patterns whereas in the lateral case, Vito never got his chance once Almunia and Fabianski recovered. We can surely expect three of them to show more maturity in the coming season. Denilson and Diaby’s aspirations to play for Brazil and French first teams respectively will drive their improvement and a strong performance next season. As far as the young Vito is concerned he is regularly making the Under-21 Italian squad appearances. And the not-discussed-so-far-super-Goalie kid Wojciech Szczesny loaned to Brentford has kept more clean sheets in the Championship than our other three top goal keepers have kept in the premiere league. Wojciech Szczesny has shown more positive vibes and have given a reason for Gunners to keep faith in the future of Red and White. This is just the begining of a new era for the gunners. Arsene might bring in an experienced goal keeper who can hold the fort until he feels the kids have grown up.
The other loanee to Bolton, Arsenal’s most hyped player of recent, Jack Wilshere, the so called England’s future was loaned by Arsene to the right man Coyle and the right club Bolton. The reason why I say “the right club Bolton” is because they play the most physical game and that is where the Arsenal seem to fall short. Owen Coyle himself is fan of Arsene’s style of football, more often called wenger-ball. Arsene moreover finger picked the combination of coach and the club while loaning out the artistic Jack. Gunners still await the Jack out of the box. Biggest question Arsene is going to have is to stretch Jack’s loan at Bolton or to have him back and see him a chance to play among the men Cesc-Nasri-Rosicky-Arshavin-Theo. Rosicky made a decent comeback. Not too flashy but he is coming back to from where he had left. The only wish every gunner will have is to have Eduardo back to his best. Everyone had fallen in love with this guy in his Debut season. He scored 11 goals from his 14 appearances before he got injured. It was rare to see Eduardo miss a goal when he had a chance. No doubt he is a brazilian. But after his return from injury he seemed to have got a mental block and he does not give his physical best in case of hard tackles and tries to play it safe by staying out of it. And this reduces our chances especially when we are closer to the box. Will Arsene offload Eduardo or loan him out until he is back to his best or will continue him in the first team is the question up everyone’s mind. Arsene will take the decision which is best for the team however the love gunners have for Eduardo will never go down, it will be very hard to see him depart. Hope he doesn’t.
Towards the end of the season when we were very close to clinching the title from the hands of Man U and Chelsea we had our solid defenders Vermaeleen and Gallas falling victims to injuria. That is where we lost the title. Arsene however got the best out of whatever squad was available to him. And most important thing of 2009-2010 season, the season also cleared the clouds on how much backup we need if we want to win the title. We lost the season to injuries and that is where chelsea won it (So far that is how it looks), they have the right back up for every position.
Arsene clearly stated, we had built a new stadium and financially made a big investment, so we had held back ourselves at buying new players till now. But now the club has registered big profits and is in solid financial condition. We have money to invest and we will invest this season. Gunners will invite a few new faces to the family and with a big smile. Think of this, full fit Arsenal squad plus addition of grown up performing kids plus new purchases, how strong is the squad going to be next season. Unfortunately we might also see a few leave.
Hats off, applause, immense credit to Arsene to manage to keep the team in the top flight despite all these setbacks. All the men who have managed with the same budget as much as that of Arsene have not even managed to keep in the Europa League, whereas Arsene is continuously taking gunners till Quarters of the Champions League. Mind me, Tottenham, Man City, Liverpool, Everton and Aston Villa have all spent more than Arsenal. And today what is happening to Liverpool and Manchester United.
I can see, the time has come, Gunners are smiling, Gunners are buying, when others are busy managing their financial crisis.