An Early Review of A Once Promising Season

2007/08

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. 

  1. 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.
  2. 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. 
  3. 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.   
These are all reasons to be confident for next year. For me, our third downfall has been the players in between promising youngsters and the first team. These players include Gilberto, Lehmann and Eboue. With all of them set to leave in the summer, we look like we are going to have a squad that will truly challenge for the title, right up to the final day of the season. 
This summer I think that we have to get rid of those three players, Gilberto, Lehmann, and Eboue, and add a big, strong, no nonsense center back for cover, who our opponents will be afraid to go near. I’ve got my eyes on Per Mertesacker, the 6 foot 6 inch German from Werder Bremen. I also think we need another striker who is similar to Eduardo, maybe just on loan, and he will finish every chance he gets. I will post ideas about that man when I get them. Other than that, with Vela returning, I think that this will be a more than capable squad:
Goalkeepers: Almunia, Fabianski, Mannone
Right Back: Sagna, Hoyte
Left Back: Clichy, Traore
Center Back: Gallas, Toure, Mertesacker?, Senderos, Song, Djourou, Nordtveit
Right Wing: Hleb, Walcott
Left Wing: Rosicky, Vela
Striker: van Persie, Adebayor, Eduardo, Bendtner.
Coming up this week, a piece on the future, and previews to Reading. Also look out for new player profiles.  K-PO, Proud poster on the Gooner Forum

9 Responses to An Early Review of A Once Promising Season

  1. JamJam says:

    the squad needs more experience and world class to it also and Mertesacker and Vela dont bring that im afraid. we need 5 world class players:
    a goalkeeper
    a centre back
    a winger who can play right and left
    a centre midfielder attacking one
    a goal scoring striker whos direct like Defoe and players like him

    remember lehmann, gilberto, hoyte and senderos could all leave this summer
    and traore and denilson are 80% going to go on loan
    and flamini could leave so we’re losing quite a few players possibly

    it comes down to do we want a trophey or not………

  2. jrock says:

    I agree that the positives outweigh the negatives this season. I also agree that Gilberto, Lehman, and Eboue (I think Wenger will keep him) should go. We do need to add a big center back as you say, but I think we also need to add a new striker and winger. You are assuming that Rosicky and Eduardo will be fully fit next season and back to the way we know they can play. This, however, is not guaranteed. We already know how fragile Rosicky has been, and there is no telling how well Edu will recover from his injury. You also assume that Vela will be able to make an immediate impact. I think that it is imperative that we do not make these assumptions. Another question is whether Hoyte and Traore are of quality/ready to cover at RB and LB. Hoyte seems solid but not spectacular. Traore has seemed raw this season and not ready to make the leap to the first team. So to conclude, I think we need two experienced players this offseason:

    CB: Mertesacker or Lucio
    CF: E’to

    Here is the team next season as I see/wish it with backups:

    ————–ALmunia/Fabianski——————
    Sanga/Eboue—Toure/Gallas–Lucio/Senderos–Clichy/Taore/Hoyte

    Rosicky/Walcott–Cesc/Diaby/Denilson–Flamini/Song–Hleb/Vela/Edu

    ——–Adebayor/Bendtner–Van Persie/E’to——–

  3. hammmerhead says:

    This is the umpteenth time have taken the lead and thrown it away. It has happened bf and will happen again . this is getting ridiculous and something something must be wrong. I believe some of the players are in comfort zone because aw rarely drops players.
    If nothing is done it will be more of the same. Yes I know AW/Arsenal has over achieved when everybody was expecting Arsenal to challenge next season.However it’s better and perhaps had AW splashed on a couple of players who knows what might happened.
    the greatest irony was the move to the ES was to generate funds so that AW can compete in the market. His refusal known only to himself has cost Arsenal dear.
    I wonder what the excuse will be when Arsenal fail to compete for the title next time.

  4. charlie says:

    We need more platers than that. As the season progresses, we have to have players that can change the course of a match. MU and Chelsea does that all the time when they are not playing well. Even, having a reserve bench of atrs can have a negative impact on the opposition.
    I feel that we will nedd anothet winger-Scheinsteiger or Ben Afta.
    A goalie-Almunia does not inspire confidence.
    A striker- as a stand-in for Van Persie when he gets injured
    Most of all, a strong central defender.

    Overall, this was a great season for Arsenal. We not only over achieve but showed the world we could play the beautiful game.

  5. Satnam says:

    I also think we need a centre-back who is technicall good and a beast in air and also tall only and those c*unts saying that “Arsenal do not have in depth strength” will be silencend, and offcourse Flamini will be leaving.

    I would not play in a 4-4-2, why? Then we need to get another quality Winger becoz he know Hleb and Rosicky won’t go through a season uninjured and Vela won’t be enough alone. I go for a 4-3-3, a conjusted midfield, and who can avoid goals on Counter-attack, and that would take off the dependency on Rosicky.

    ————-GK————
    RB—–CB———CB—–LB
    ————DMF*———–
    ——–CMF—————
    —————-AMF——-
    RWF————————
    ————————LWF
    ———–CF————-

    *DMF has to be physically strong, High Stamina, the one who will sit in front of defense
    GK’s-Almunia, Fabianski,Mannone
    RB’s-Sagna, Eboue
    LB’s-Clichy,Traore
    CB’s-Toure,Gallas,Zapata/Mertesacker/Marquez/G.Milito,Senderos,Djrourou
    DMF’s-Song, Even Toure and DJrouru can play there
    CMF’S-Cesc,Denilson
    AMF’s-Hleb,Rosicky,Diaby
    RWF’s-RVP, Walcott
    LWF’s-Vela, Hleb,Rosicky,RVP can also play there
    CF’s–Eduardo (first choice),Adebayor,Bendtner

  6. Peter says:

    Aw revealed that Fergie offered his consolation. What for? If Arsenal win the title AW may as well send the red faced a bottle of wine.
    I find this season of real promise hard to take. Arsenal were on the verge of taking the title if moer had been done to add to the squad.
    the Arsenal fans ,I believe ,hold him responsible for messing up the season , He has no defence .

  7. naga gunner says:

    My goodness I am tired of saying this for the last 3 years, SENDEROS has to come ahead of ebue, gilberto and lehmann on the list of players to leave .

  8. alanc says:

    the ref did NOT give the pen yesterday and he was 7 yards away it was the lino 50 yards away from the angle and evra dived for the free kick did you notice no replays strange that i this super slow mo hd time. but the match stats are crazy 10 fouls for arsenal 6 yellow 12 fouls man utd 2 yellow how was evra not booked you see web is a arsehole and that is the second pen v us this season from him also dodgy one v boro and the carling cup final when he let chelski o what they wanted dont get fooled by all the sky propoganda let me tell you utd would not have a pen against them if that had happened yesterday.

  9. kpoafc says:

    Hi everyone, this is K-PO, this author. I think that the most interesting comment was made by Satnam. I agree that we should play with a 4-5-1, but not with a defensive midfielder, but an attacking one in Hleb. On the wings I think that Walcott and Vela should start, with this man: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fKidHvR4XFA

    up front. Fabregas and Flamini in center midfield, with the back four of this season, and with one of the centerbacks that Satnam mentioned, perferably Mertesacker, to eventually replace Gallas. Wenger’s most successful defensive partnership was that of Toure and Campbell, a short quick defender, and a tall no nonsense one.

    thanks for the comments

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