Arsenal FC forged ahead in the Carling Cup Tuesday evening with a 3-1 defeat over League Two side Shrewsbury Town.
They climbed from a one-goal deficit to defeat The Blues and avoid a shock cup upset which would have put Arsenal supporters on high alert after a sluggish start to the season.
Rewind to February in the Carling Cup final in which Arsenal looked ready to solve their prolonged trophy drought in a match against relegation-threatened Birmingham City.
Arsenal would lose the game, 2-1, via a last minute goal by Obafemi Martins – Birmingham would eventually be relegated, and Arsenal remained without a major trophy.
The Gunners would go on to finish fourth in the Barclays Premier League and qualify for the UEFA Champions League. However, another season devoid of trophy celebrations set in on North London.
Arsenal went into this season with the rumor afloat of star midfielder Cesc Fabregas being transferred to Barcelona.
While Febregas would still be a Gunner when the season began, it did not take long for Barca to match Arsene Wenger’s asking price for the Spaniard.
As if that was not enough departure to handle, attacking midfielder Samir Nasri was linked to a move to heavy-spending Manchester City, where owners have apparently set up a revolving door outside of Eastlands, watching players going in and cash going out.
Both players are big losses to the team, but it is not difficult to turn down the money for two players that are hopefully replaceable down the road.
After an 8-2 demolition by Manchester United, it was evident some changes needed to be made to Arsenal before the transfer window closed.
New striker Gervinho was brought in during the summer, but the Ivorian spent most of the early season serving a lengthy suspension due to a dust up with then-Newcastle defender Joey Barton.
However, it was the blowout defeat at Old Trafford in which Arsenal fans realized there needed to be vast improvements to the roster.
He would also look to Premier League sides in signing Yossi Benayoun on loan and Mikel Arteta from Everton.
Almost all of these players would feature in a UEFA Champions League contest last weekend at Borussia Dortmund, and the changes seemed to work well, as the Gunners looked well on their way to securing three points in their opening group stage match.
However, an impressive 88th minute goal by Ivan Perisic limited Arsenal to just one point.
It could be considered a good result for Arsenal, who were seemingly reeling going into that game.
Now the Gunners would look forward to a Premier League contest at rock-bottom Blackburn last Saturday afternoon.
The game would start off well at Ewood Park, with Arsenal taking a 2-1 lead in at the break thanks to goals from Gervinho and Artea.
The game would completely derail in the second half for the North Londoners as Blackburn benefited from two own goals and eventually won the game, 4-3.
In what looked like a rescue game against a team that had failed to gain a league win, and would propel Arsenal into the top-half of the table, was just the next disappointment in what seems to be a long period of shortcomings for the club.
The latest misstep in Arsenal’s season could possibly push supporters to the point of panic. Arsenal currently sits one place atop the relegation zone in this early campaign.
However, seeing as sports are always cyclical, supporters must be patient as Arsenal now looks to rebuild its roster and move forward to winning championships and not just Champions League berths.
Arsene Wenger has shown he can do this in the past with the Gunners, and this time around is no different.
Losing Febregas and Nasri are certainly big blows to the club, but with cash and newly transferred players, Arsenal might end up being stronger a few years down the road because of the outgoing players.
A team that has struggled the past few seasons and is now hoping to surge back into the top-four of the Premier League is Liverpool.
After Champions League success in 2005 and an FA Cup championship in 2006, Liverpool missed out on the Champions League the last two seasons.
The need to rebuild was definitely there, and Reds supporters now have more Kenny Dalglish years to look for along with an improved roster. The outlook looks favorable at Anfield.
For long-term success, periods of some hardship or maybe even growing pains must be experienced— and Arsenal is no different.
Even with the recent spending sprees by Manchester City and Chelsea, these teams needed to regress before they could hit their recent peaks, albeit spurred on by impulsive shopping.
One thing that separates Arsene Wenger and the Arsenal board from the decision makers at other big clubs is that they won’t go to the mall and buy a plethora of new toys: They believe in building from within (see Wilshere), and making smart buys on players who will continue to develop over their careers.
Arsenal supporters will need to understand that if the team is to experience long-term success, rebuilding stages will need to occur.
Hopefully the team is strong enough this year to bring in a top-five finish and qualify for Europe.
If anything needs to happen, it is the consistent development of younger Arsenal players under Wenger.
The Board does owe it to the fans to bring forth a winning product, and the Gunners are currently on the right track to deliver that a few years down the road.