Because of their bad luck in the cups, this makes it another trophyless season for Wenger’s boys, meaning another season ultimately ends in disappointment as we the fans must watch another team shoot champagne at each other and celebrate the accumulation of precious metals.
So what should Arsenal fans be happy about?
For most of the season, signs were good. The trophy-monkey on our back looked as though it would be shaken off, as Arsenal were challenging well for four pieces of silverware. And they came so close!
Arsenal’s weakness and bad luck can be clearly chronicled. Facing Barcelona and Manchester United in the Champion’s League and FA Cup was bad luck, and we were beaten by both of them. Both these teams are world class, top five in the world, and it was unfortunate that we had to face them.
The Carling Cup was a little different. A stupid mistake, but essentially Arsenal’s inability to wear down Birmingham handed the cup to the Midlanders in the final. Since Patrick Vieira stuck away THAT glorious penalty, this was definitely Arsenal’s best chance to win something.
In the league, the hangover from cup disappointment transcended onto the field, and although it was a largely encouraging season, competing against teams who cost multiple times what ours did, it looks as though we will finish third.
Wenger has acknowledged that he will need to strengthen in the summer, and with his skills in the transfer market, we should be able to challenge in earnest next season.
The last couple of seasons Arsenal have not invested in any way close to the same rate as our rivals, and it’s shown on the pitch. While other teams buy in proven quality in place of young talent, we’ve sold proven quality and promoted our young talent.
It’s a good business model, but not the perfect way to win titles.
This summer, Wenger will apparently have £40 million to spend. Rather than not spending money and going for the cheaper option (Sakho- Squillaci), there might just be some impressive and proven players donning the red and white and calling the Emirates Stadium home.
All of the above players have been capable, we’ve just been waiting, and it’s a relief that they have begun to realize their potential.
Samir Nasri, who didn’t even get into the French World Cup squad, has taken the Premiership by storm this season. A Player of the Year nominee, he has proven to be quicker, stronger and have more cutting edge than most gave him credit for.
Jack Wilshere, Johan Djourou and Wojiech Szczesny are all young players who have been waiting for the time to shine. Wilshere won the award for the Young Player of the Year, and came second in the Golden Boy awardings. He’s also someone who will probably get over 100 caps for England, such is his calmness and authority in midfield.
Djourou has been, for me, the best central defender we have had this season. While he is still capable of making a mistake, this can be attributed to age, and he definitely has all the right elements to become a solid defender, with Thomas Vermaelen, for years to come.
Szczesny had a baptism of fire, starting for the first time in the league away to Manchester United. His distribution was poor, but apart from that he was solid. Since then he has improved his distribution, not let a massive mistake (in the Carling Cup final) affect his confidence, and you’d have to say he’s probably now the first choice goalkeeper at Arsenal, at just 21.
When Wenger said, "I believe one day he will be the No. 1 at Arsenal, certainly," he probably hadn’t thought it would be so soon.
There are more players that could be mentioned. Alex Song has had a great season. Robin van Persie has scored consistently. Despite the Barcelona issue, Cesc Fabregas has been on form. Theo Walcott is also becoming a serious danger when he gets into form, despite his supposed lack of football intelligence.
The absence of Thomas Vermaelen is really ignored by the press, despite how intrinsic he is to the team. He’s played just three games this season, after a debut season that reminded Arsenal fans of a slew of old-time greats.
Provided he is ready next season to play 30-plus games for Arsenal, just how many points would that be worth? Five? Maybe even 10!
Yes they had a half-decent Champions League run, until they played a world class team. And yes Rafael van der Vaart and Gareth Bale are amazing.
It seems childish bringing it up, given how apathetic Arsenal (and I) are to Spurs. But knowing how keen they are to overtake us, it’s still pleasant knowing what is a disappointing season for Arsenal would be the best season in Premiership history and have fans calling for ‘Arry Redknapp to be knighted, if it happened to Tottenham.
Arsenal just need to finish the job and make sure they finish in one of the Champion's League places.