Arsenal Season Review:The Season That Refused to Die....did Die...
The season that refused to die, did die.
In the past few days, I have been thinking of the season just gone and tried to think of some highs and some lows and this is what I came up with.
High – Hull away, Nicklas Bendtner’s last minute winner.
High- Wolves home, Nicklas Bendtner’s last minute winner.
High- Barcelona away, for one minute when Nicklas Bendtner scored
High- Samir Nasri’s goal at St Andrews.
I chose my high’s on the basis of how much I lost it in a good way. In every one of these goals I shouted at the top of my voice and went mental. I remember at St Andrews, I was seated near the top of the stand and I honestly thought the whole stand was going to give way!
When every goal went in, I really believed. The goals in the premiership made me really think we had a real chance to win the league. The late dramatic nature of the goals seemed to make me think they were even more important. I am a forever optimise and every single game Arsenal football club play, I feel we can win. Away at Barcelona was no different, despite not having six first teamers, I still felt we could get a result and when Nicklas scored, that belief was strengthen for a minute or two at least!
The low moments include losing to spurs, the game at Wigan and also the defeats to man united away and certainly Chelsea away because I felt we had the ball the whole game and out played them, however they were more clinical and made their chances count which is a credit to them. The spurs game hurt the most because they are not only our biggest rivals but losing to them and to see them then go on and beat Chelsea and get champions league football made it even worse.
In terms of individual players, I have given my thoughts briefly about their performance this season, without giving individual ratings.
This has been very up and down season for Manuel. He has spoken publicly about his personal life and he has been through quite a bit this season. As a fan who has met Manuel a few times, I can honestly tells you, he gives 100% and really wants to do well for this club. I feel the competition he has behind him hasn’t been strong enough and that has not pushed him. When he was fighting (literally) with Jens Lehmann, he produced some good football and perhaps the competition needs to improve. Lets be honest, he is a great shot stopper but sometimes can make the wrong decision and that worries supporters at times. He had a good last season but this season, a lot of things went wrong for him on and off the pitch.
I think he should certainly stay in the squad, whether it is as Number one or as a number two is Mr Wenger’s decision, however, I think a new keeper will come in to battle it out with Manuel to become Arsenal’s number one keeper.
Not the best season for Lukasz however I must admit, to play one or two games here and there is very hard. He has not had a chance to prove himself and needs games. He looks a good shot stopper and a year out on loan seems to best option and I think if that does happen, only then should he be judged.
Vito had a decent season. The highlight was the game at the cottage. He was outstanding and won us the three points. He also needs games but the future looks bright for him.
Perhaps not as good as his first season however was good at times. Bacary too had a very difficult few years by losing his brother and has spoken publically about it. He is another example of someone I met and he is also desperate to do well. Bacary is not scared to go into a challenge and is still a valuable member of the squad and with Eboue; I feel we have two right backs capable of doing a great job for the club. Bacary is not as attacking as other right backs but is capable at the back and that is important and he has shown it by playing most away games this season.
Certainly a success story this season. He has played right back, left back, centre midfield, right midfield and left midfield this season! He has been very useful and has always been there when called upon. He and Bacary swapped often at right back and this helped the club as both players looked fresh more often. Eboue seemed to be leaving the club last summer but stayed on and fought hard. He has bounced back from rock bottom and has come back a better and stronger player and that’s a credit to him. He is the sort of personality you need around a club.
The criticism he received was bang out of order and I believe he had a great season. He was injured for three months of the season and was rushed back because Gibbs was not fit and Troare was having a tough time. He was put straight in to help the team and that is what he tried to do. Many supporters thought perhaps his time is up, but the way he came back once he was fit was amazing. One of the better players in the last few weeks of the season and proved he has the heart and determination to play for Arsenal football club. He can be a massive part of our future.
Injury ended his season early but I am convinced he will come back a better player next season, a future Arsenal and England left back.
Played a bit when Clichy was injured however looks more suited to a wide midfield role rather then left back.
Arguably his best season in an Arsenal shirt. He looked free after the captaincy issues that happened in the past. It was a real shame he got an injury because he looked solid. He was ever present along with Vermaelen in the Premiership till the end of January. He formed a fantastic partnership with Vermaelen and the pair of them looked solid. He also pitched in with a few goals. It is a real shame that it looks like he is on his way. I am desperate for him to stay however; you can’t blame him for wanting to secure his future.
Could you ask for anything more from a man in their first season? What a first season in the Premiership! A quite outstanding season for the centre back. He looked like a real leader and put his head where others would not put their feet! He was aware at the back and formed a great partnership with William Gallas. He looked like a future captain and looks to be an important part of the team for a long time. His goals also were an important part of his game and shows he has a knack of knowing where the goals are and any centre back that can get you five or six goals a season and defend as well as Thomas did then you’re on a winner.
From day one, I thought this was a masterstroke. He was watched by Mr Wenger for months before signing him and this proved it was well thought out signing and it worked a treat. During the latter stages of the season, when the wheels fell off, Sol Campbell was a leader. He looked as good as he did all those years ago in the unbeaten season and played a lot more then he first thought. Sol was also a massive part off the pitch and constantly talked to the younger players and ‘gave them a kick up the back side when they needed one’. Its vital Sol stays next season as he can play a huge part on and off the pitch and the spurs game showed he can still hack the pace in the big games and he showed it by out sprinting Gareth Bale in the process. It’s a great credit to him and his mental strength.
Perhaps this season showed that Silvestre is past it for a top level football club in England. For Manchester United to let him go says they thought he was past it, however, I do think it was a risk worth taking, to get some experience in who has been there and won it but unfortunately for him and us it did not pay off. His contract is over this summer and he may move on but good luck to him.
Another cracking season for the defensive midfielder. He had a great season last year and carried on and improving. From the moment he heard the boos at Fulham a few years ago, he has worked hard and improved. He was one of the first names on the team sheet and the whole club was worried what would happen when he goes to Africa and that was because of the player he had become. Many called for a defensive minded midfielder but Alex Song was given the role and he has delivered. He can only improve and get even better.
He had a very good season last year and got many games this year. He played in defensive midfield when Song was out injured and out in Africa. Denilson was slightly hit and miss. He had good games but had a few games where he could have done better. He is still young and can only improve but he is not a defensive midfielder and perhaps needs to improve his tackling in order to be more successful there when Song is out.
Hit and miss season for Abou Diaby. He started the season very well and scored many goals. He had some exceptional games this season where he dominated the midfield such as Pompey at home and even villa at home (Until Cesc came on!) He did have niggles but just needs some more consistency and I believe he can be a great player. He is a box to box type midfield and has the physical aspect to be a great player for our club.
Was really getting into his own before ‘that’ tackle sadly took him out and meant he missed the rest of the season. Aaron was starting to live up to his potential and we could all see this man could turn into a special player. His passing ability become evident and he added goals to his game. That goal at Fratton Park was a personal highlight. The FA cup game at Upton Park was one of Ramsey’s best games; he controlled the game and scored a goal.
Our skipper, our talisman, our top goal scorer and our main man. All that describes Cesc Fabregas. What a season for the 23 year old. This was his best season in my opinion since he has been at Arsenal. The formation was changed and this suited him and his goals showed this. When RVP was fit, Cesc, Arshavin and RVP really formed a partnership and were nearly unstoppable. Cesc’s vision was extraordinary and some of assists were Dennis Bergkamp like. There are a lot of rumours about his future but as a Gooner, I hope he stays here because he can really take this team far.
Started the season with a broken leg but came back strong and was a big part of the squad. He is still very young and still has improvements to make but he is improving. He had a very good period around the Porto game where he ran the show and was involved in one of my highs at St Andrews where he came off the bench and changed the game. The game was quite flat and he came on and added some creativity to it and got the goal which we thought would perhaps help us win the title. Samir can be a big part of the future regardless of if Cesc stays or leaves.
A decent season for Tommy. Let’s not forget how long he was out for. Usually medical teams say that however long a player is out for, it will take them the same amount time to get back to full sharpness, so with that theory, Tommy should have a better season next year. He used to get important goals and that was something that perhaps didn’t come this season. We got a taste of it in the home game against Everton when he scored a last minute equaliser. We saw his vision this season and some of the passes with the outside of his foot was the Rosicky of old. He signed a new long term contract at the start of the season so we will see more of him next season.
Was bought to do something special in those tight but big games. He scored at Old Trafford and at Anfield. I would have loved to see him play in Barcelona or stay on the pitch longer at the Emirates against them. Some people got very frustrated at his so called lack of effort; however for me, those people have not looked at the full picture. He has not changed his game at Arsenal and has not showed a lack of effort at Arsenal. He has always been that sort of a player that can just do something special out of the blue. I knew exactly what sort of a player we were getting and I was not surprised. I just hope he stays and can do the special more often because he can be a special player.
Injuries hurt him this season. He never really got a run of games until near the end of the season. His highlight was coming on and changing the game against Barcelona. He scored a great goal and Barcelona obviously was very worried by him. I was lucky enough to meet him after the game and he was buzzing! He provided an assist in the away leg too. His other highlight was at home against Burnley where he scored and was a constant threat. I think he gets a lot of unfair stick and I believe this could be because he is the one Englishman in the Arsenal team (who is in the England squad) and people forget how young he is. If the injuries stop, he can be a real player next season.
Robin Van Persie
When you think of RVP, you just say to yourself the following words; ‘if only’. RVP was on fire at the start of the season and was involved in most goals and scored a fair few on his own. He was scoring, assisting and contributing to everything positive Arsenal did including making a good start in the Premiership. Then he went off for an international break and we didn’t see him until five LONG months later. Even then, he looked world class. For me its simple, if RVP was fit the whole season, we would have won the league or gone very close. I hope he stays fit next season because he is our Torres, Drogba or Rooney and we wouldn’t swap him for anyone!
Clearly is still lacking the confidence and isn’t close to where he was before he made the trip to St Andrews a few years ago. He scored a few goals this season but also missed many chances. He just needs to keep going and I am sure the goals will come.
One of my players of the year. People give him stick but he keeps playing and keeps going and more importantly keeps scoring. He was out injured for a while but when he played he did well. He started the season on the right hand side of midfield as a sort off winger. He did well and created many chances for his team mates. He then was out for a long time but came back and when he got to full fitness, he scored some vital goals. The header against stoke was a highlight because I don’t think anyone else in our squad could have scored that. It was a great header and got us back into the game. The winner against Wolves was massive and looking back, without them 3 points, we may have lost our third place to Spurs which would have been a shocker.
He needs more games and time. He has shown he is a good finisher but just didn’t get the games. He only started one premier league game and that was just not enough for Vela. Perhaps a loan deal could be something that will help him and with Chamakh in, perhaps he may get it.
Quite simply he is all I know. Being 22 years old, I have been following football since 1996 and going to matches since then and Arsene Wenger has been ever present. I still believe in the man and he is the best manager we have ever had. I often talk to season ticket holders and fans at the Emirates and most fans are still behind him. I think he knows where he needs to buy and I think he will do it. I think he has been under a financial constraint since the Emirates has been made. He was told when it was build that the next few years would be tough but once the debt is paid off, Arsenal will have no debts and the future is really bright, even though fans want success NOW, sometimes you have to be patient and I certainly am.
In Wenger We Trust.
If someone had said to me, at the start of the season, would you take third place and losing in the champions’ league to the holders, I may have just taken that. In a season where, Arsenal were in danger of losing their champions league position by the threat of Man City, Spurs and Aston Villa, many Arsenal fans may have taken it.
We finished fourth last season and third this season so there is a progression.
The problem over recent years has been keeping the squad together. Whenever Mr Wenger’s project gets going, someone leaves and more planning need’s to be done. Hleb, Flamini, Adebayor etc have all left and that has hurt us. Hleb and Flamini in particular were hard to take as he had built a team around the midfield of Hleb, Fabregas, Flamini and Rosicky.
Generally, we had a very good season but the regret of how it died at the end will haunt us until we win something and lets all hope that is next season.
Come on you Arsenal.
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