This article was formerly known as “Despite Being Out of the Title Race, The Gunner’s Have Had A Great Season to Look Back On”
So it’s finally over. It’s now down to Man Utd and Chelsea, and it’s Man Utd’s title to lose.
Some Gooners aren’t satisfied with us finishing in 3rd (most likely), nor us going out of the Champions League in the Quarter-Finals. Well we have made two giant steps forward, and this team can do nothing but improve at this point. Plus, it was two penalties that sent us out of those two competitions.
Now, to all you Gooners who think that this season was a failure, it was not. We have visibly made massive progress towards winning trophies, and we have many brilliant moments and improvements to look back upon from this season.
But before I look at the good moments, I want to take you back to the two most dreadful days of Arsenal’s season, and maybe even perhaps its existence. The first of these events was on Saturday, February 16, 2008. On that day, Arsenal were thrashed 4-0 by Manchester United in the FA Cup. Wenger didn’t want to have anything to do with the FA Cup, so he started Traore, Hoyte, Gilberto and Eboue. He threw it away. He didn’t want to have the embarrassment of going out of three competitions in a very short amount of time, a humiliation that he suffered last season. By doing this, Wenger brought down the confidence in the squad, and provoked public humiliation of his own players.
The second event was just seven days later against Birmingham in the Premier League. After just 2 minutes, Martin Taylor put in an absolutely horror, X-rated tackle on hit signing Eduardo da Silva, and broke his leg. The injury visibly affected the players, especially Fabregas, Hleb, and Adebayor, who were firing on all cylinders just a month or two before. This event really brought the moral of the team down to a level of depression, and the downward spiral started.
In between the 2nd minute versus Birmingham and now, a few hours after the loss to Manchester United, Arsenal have won two games, lost three, and drawn six. That is unacceptable for a team who is trying to win the Barclays Premier League Title. If you subtract the Champions League results, that makes it seven points out of a possible twenty-four. And we drew teams like Wigan, Boro, and Birmingham. Teams that we should have thrashed.
So that’s where the season began to unfold. The thrashing at Old Trafford and Eduardo’s injury proved to be our downfall.
Now, onto the good points.
- For me, the biggest, most important thing that was gained this season was the experience of being in a title race. The only players in the first team who have truly participated in a Premier League Title scrap are Gallas, Fabregas, van Persie, and Toure. The rest of them are new to the whole thing, and this is valuable experience, especially for the youngsters, such as Walcott and Bendtner.
- Speaking of youngsters, one of the great things to watch this season was the emergence of Theo Walcott and Nicklas Bendtner. These boys have both gotten their first Premier League and Champions League goals this season, and are brilliant prospects for the future. Halfway through the season some Gooners called for Walcott to stay on the bench until he is of age. Now, after his “comparable to Messi/Maradona” run, most Gooners will never consider him a bench warmer again. Bendtner, on the other hand, has not won over so many faithful supporters, but he has proven his worth by getting three Premier League goals, two in the Champions League, one in the FA Cup, and one in the Carling Cup.
- We have seen the spirit and togetherness of the team become as high as it has been since the Invincibles. At the beginning of the season we played some of the best football since Brazil in the 1950’s. Our first team is stronger than ever, while also playing beautiful football.