As we bask in the glory of our first major trophy in 9 seasons, I think it’s time to evaluate and see whether this season was a success or a failure.
Before the transfer window ended, things looked pretty gloomy. Jose Mourinho had joined Chelsea, Manchester City had spent big money, Tottenham Hotspur had lost Gareth Bale to Real Madrid but had spent around £100 million on reinforcements and Manchester United were still the champions from the season before (and still had the same squad that went on to win the league by a massive 11 points), added to that they had strengthened with Marouane Fellaini, a player we were reportedly after.
We had just lost to Aston Villa at home in the first game of the season, and missed out on any big signings. We had brought in Yaya Sanogo and Mathieu Flamini, both free transfers. We missed out on Luis Suarez (stayed at Liverpool), Gonzalo Higuain (Napoli), Stevan Jovetic (Manchester City), Marouane Fellaini (Manchester United) and host of other big names we were linked with all summer.
So it’s hard to establish what our expectations were at the start of the season. At the start of the summer everyone was optimistic that we would use the massive “war chest” at Arsene’s disposal and at that point I think most of us thought that this might be our year and we could finally win something, and at least compete for the Premier League. But after the Aston Villa game we wondered if Arsenal could finish in the Top Four and some of us even wanted Arsene Wenger to leave.
The Mesut Ozil signing lifted spirits and his arrival alone inspired Arsenal to top the Premier League for 128 days, the most any team was at the Premier League summit. Obviously, you only need to be top for one day (that last day) but there are positives and negatives to this season.
The positives are that we were so good for so much of the season, and the table doesn’t lie. Ozil and Ramsey in particular were the catalyst for all the good things we did for the first part of the season which saw us lead the Premier League table for most of the season. We were playing great football, had the belief and at times we were unstoppable.
The negatives however where that after managing to get ourselves in such a fantastic position we didn’t capitalise on our advantage. It was glaringly obvious that we needed another striker (possibly even two) to share the burden or replace Giroud, depending on your viewpoint, and we didn’t strengthen in January. There’s no doubt that Arsenal could have won the league if we had added a world class striker to help us kick on going into the second half of the season. Of course it’s easier said than done to find another striker but that’s what Arsene Wenger and his highly paid staff are at the club to do.
Another negative was the performances in the big games. We simply disappeared and had embarrassing matches against Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester United and Manchester City all away from home. When you consider we finished 7 points off Manchester City at the end of the season, it’s not hard to realise that draws in those games and a top striker could have made the difference.
Everyone is saying that if Liverpool were ever going to win the league it would have been this season, as they don’t have the resources to improve next season and might lose their top players, but you could also say the same for Arsenal. They had such a good base to work with this season so it almost feels criminal that we didn’t maximise our potential and take that extra step and win the league.
Chelsea are only missing a striker and they’re certain to get one this summer, Manchester City will strengthen despite the transfer issues and Manchester United have recruited Luis Van Gaal who is one of Europe’s top top managers – and he will reportedly have around £150 million at his disposal. Tottenham will no doubt add to their squad (and will appoint someone who isn’t worse that Tim Sherwood), Everton are a bit of an unknown quantity and so are Liverpool, although the red side of Merseyside might come back stronger next season.
So it does feel like an opportunity missed.
Obviously, the FA Cup success was fantastic and I like every other Arsenal fan is still over the moon. It’s the least Arsene Wenger deserves, the players deserve it and most importantly the fans deserve it. And to be quite frank it’s just amazing to win a major trophy!
We say this every summer but you do feel that this is a massive summer for Arsene Wenger and Arsenal. After winning the FA Cup, it’s imperative that we kick on and build on this success.
So was this season successful or a failure? Vote below and leave your thoughts in the comments section: