Arsenal Season Review: The Future’s Bright

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Well, what a finish to the season.

We ended the 2012-2013 campaign with 8 wins and 2 draws from our last 10 games to clinch 4th position in the Premier League and the much coveted Champions League qualification spot. Need I remind you that before those 10 games, we had just lost to Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane and were 7 points adrift of our North London rivals.

Andre Villas Boas famously quoted at the time:

We are on an upward spiral in terms of confidence and they are on a negative spiral in terms of results. To get out of that negative spiral is extremely difficult.”

So even by AVB’s standards, we must have done “extremely well” to get out of this “negative spiral”.

All joking aside, the run in the final third of the season was outstanding. Arsene likes to talk about mental strength and we needed that with our run in. Knowing that any mistake would prove costly in our chances of finishing in the Top Four, there was no margin for error and so it proved on the last day – for our great run of results, we still only just finished a single point above Tottenham.

But as the old cliche goes, you deserve where you end up after a 38-game season and I don’t care if Tottenham were “fourth for most of the season”, they didn’t finish there did they?

In terms of the season review, I’ve simply divided it into two sections; positives and negatives:


Our end of season form.

In the last 10 games of the Premier League season, our results were:

2-0, 4-1, 2-1, 3-1, 0-0, 1-0, 1-1, 1-0, 4-1 and 1-0.

8 wins, 2 draws and 0 defeats.

Unless I’n mistaken, that 10 game run is the best form any team has shown in the league. And I’m sure you’ve seen the Tweets saying that if the season was based on 2nd halves, then we’d be top of the league.

Now obviously that’s not how football works but there are positive signs there. The big turning point in the season was the win at Bayern Munich. Nobody gave us a chance but we put in a performance full of fight and desire and against the odds and won 2-0. We were only 1 goal away from making history and knocking out this seasons finalists.

Since that game, our way of playing has changed and our results have dramatically improved. Defensively, we are much more solid, and Koscielny in particular has been phenomenal. I struggle to come up with more superlatives for him – he has been immense. And the final game of the season summed him up this year – strong, determined, focused and powerful. He has come on so much and has probably been our player of the season for me.

Our mentality has changed and as the results and performances has shown, we are more focused defensively. In that run we’ve kept 5 clean sheets, and not conceded more than a single goal in any of those games – which for an Arsene side is hugely impressive. We have sacrificed our expansive attacking play to ensure that we are solid and don’t lose games, instead of going all out to win them. Our new style, if it continues, bodes well for next season.

If we add some attacking flair and a finisher to the mix, we could really have a great go at the league next season. Yes, that statement is partly due to blind love for Arsenal but one of my biggest concerns was our defensive lapses and being too open but now that seems to have been addressed. We know Arsene can get the balance right and add a bit more ruthlessness up front, we can get another big run going and start climbing the table.

At the end of the day, we finished 5 points behind Manchester City and their billions of pounds, and 2 points off Chelsea, who have real depth and strength in their squad. So in that sense, we’ve over achieved.


Our problem with the Premier League in years gone by has been our inability to beat the lesser sides in the league. Cold away days at Stoke or travelling up to Newcastle proved to be problematic for us but this season, it has changed and we struggled to beat the Top 6 sides this year. Usually, playing a “bigger” side has worked in our favour as those teams would typically play a less defensive style of football and that would give us more chances to hurt them throughout the 90 minutes. But this year we only beat Tottenham at home and Liverpool away and failed to win any of the other big contests.

Is the problem mentality? Or is it that our squad isn’t good enough to stand toe-to-toe with the big teams? Whatever it is, that has to improve next season. With some more positive results in the Top 6, we could have been even higher in the table.

Another negative we’ve had this season is our games in the cup competitions. We lost to Championship side Blackburn Rovers in the 5th round of the FA Cup, and Bradford City in the Capital One Cup. By anyone’s standards, that is nowhere good enough and needs to be addressed. Of course, Arsene might just not think the cup’s have any real value or not believe they are as important as securing a Top Four finish.

And in a sense, I suppose he’s right – with the resources at his disposal, we managed to (just) secure 4th spot. Would we be happier with the Capital One Cup and finishing 5th?


The big question, as when every season ends, is can Arsene improve in the next campaign and break into the Top 2? For the first 8 years we were always 1st or 2nd, and since then we’ve been 3rd or 4th. Next year will be tough with Chelsea and Mourinho, Manchester United still strong and Manchester City fighting to win their title back, but we have the chance to be right in there if we’re smart in the summer in regards to transfers. There are a few players in the squad who are nowhere good enough and we need to start with offloading them and bringing in some real quality.

For me, there is real optimism for next season.

The well-reported sponsorship deals have apparently given Arsene and Arsenal a “war chest” (yes, we’ve heard this before) and all the noises coming from Arsenal are that we will be fighting for the title next season. Call it blind faith, but I think we can compete.

We all know about the financial constraints we’ve been working with over the last 7/8 seasons and you just feel that our time is now. We’ve managed to stay in the Top 4, and whatever you say Arsenal is still an attractive club to join. We have a side which knows how to defend for the first time in a good while (since we last won something) and that is a great basis to build on. The loss of Alex Song and RVP was painful at the time but you cannot deny that by hook or by crook, Arsene has still managed to pull it off. I thought losing Song was almost as bad as losing Van Persie but with Arteta, Ramsey and either Wilshere, Rosicky or Diaby in the side we look more solid. Sure, we may not be as free flowing up front but at true title-challenging team wins games 1-0 and 2-1. At times we’ve played some ugly football but we’ve got the results.

The reason for my optimism is because defending and keeping out goals is something we have always struggled with. How many times have we moaned about giving away a stupid goal? That (for now) has been eradicated from the game. And with Arsene, you know it’s much easier to fix the problems in the attacking part of the pitch than the defensive side. But now we have finally cracked that nut, we have reason to feel optimistic.

Our early season form was all over the place but in our last 10 games we were by far the best performing side in the league. We showed the infamous “mental strength”, and astonishingly conceded the 2nd fewest goals in the league, behind Manchester City. We lost 7 games this season, while United lost 5, City 6 and Chelsea 7. What killed us was the amount of draws we had. Manchester United may have won the title at a canter but we are not a million miles away.

And I think Arsene knows it. He is the master of analysing statistics and figures and will know that our defensive is something to build on. For the last 7 seasons, we have been that man who has been saving and saving waiting to buy that car he’s always wanted – and there comes a time where Arsenal need to spent that money. I’m not saying waste it on a overrated Brazilian who costs £60 million, but we should have the resources and scouting network to identify which players would really strengthen our squad.

We need to stop buying players like Gervinho, Denilson, Bendtner, Arshavin and Santos who are no where near good enough. We need to get rid of the deadwood and actually recruit quality players.

If nothing else, Arsenal have to invest in the squad soon to reward all of the loyal fans who have been watching their team for all of those barren seasons. Having a go at fighting for the title is the least we deserve.

But we need to ensure our very poor early season form is a thing of the past. In the last 2 seasons, we have finished extremely strongly but we need to maintain that consistency over 38 games. The old cliche is you can’t win the league in October/November but it can certainly be lost. We need to start the season well, put pressure on the teams around us and a great start would get the players to start believing that we are genuine contenders.

So what have been your positives and negatives of the season?


Arsenal Season Review 2008/2009

Well what an interesting season.

It’s hard to evaluate this campaign, mainly because it’s difficult not to judge it against seasons gone by.

This campaign is the 4th in Arsene Wenger’s youth experiment and once again it has provided entertaining football but not the results. We reached the semi-finals of the Champions League and FA Cup, and finished 4th in the league.

And the question isn’t whether this year was a success or failure but whether Arsenal fans are growing tired of being sold the future. We are promised that these kids will come good.

But the problem is that I, like other Arsenal fans just don’t believe it.

I’ve watched and supported Arsenal for almost 20 years and I haven’t seen this level of poor performance before. I’m not talking about talent, but basic desire and fight. I’ve brought this point up several times during this season and to me anyway, it seems like we’ve reached a point where most of our players think they have made it.

And it was this lack of heart that meant we were out of the title race by November.

We lost against Fulham, Stoke, Manchester City and Aston Villa, and then we had the farce against Spurs at home when Arsenal we leading 4-2 with only 2 minutes remaining. We managed to collapse and concede 2 late goals and only draw that game. That was truly unforgivable, but showed the fans this team wouldn’t get anywhere this season and that was later proved to be correct. Could you see any of our successful sides under Wenger capitulate a lead like that? Exactly.

A gripe I’ve had this season was the desire of the players and back in December I wrote:

One thing I would like to know is does Arsene Wenger have any idea how disillusioned Arsenal fans have become over this current and frankly average team?

Does he know there is a high level of negativity amongst the Arsenal supporters?

You will get those people who will spout the obvious “you’re not a proper Arsenal fan” just because I’ve made criticisms but where do you draw the line? No football team has a divine right to be in the Top Four or in the Champions League every season and while it might be an extreme example look what happened to Nottingham Forest and Leeds United. Those sides were at the top of their game and look where they are now.

I’m not asking for much.

I would just like to see a football team that is willing to compete. Over the last 10 years I haven’t seen a team lacking in fight, spirit and desire as much as this current crop of players.

I don’t want £40 million signings like Kaka or Messi. Just players who have pride in wearing an Arsenal shirt. Players who realise that it’s a privilege to play for Arsenal Football Club. We’ve had players in the past like Ray Parlour and Mathieu Flamini who weren’t the most gifted footballers but they always gave 110% every time they crossed that white line.

They knew what it meant to play for Arsenal.

It actually hurts me when I see players like Eboue, Song and Diaby just stroll through games. Where’s the heart?

Arsene has had the unadulterated faith of the Arsenal fans over the last few years because each season has seen a gradual improvement on the last. But after leading most of the 2007/2008 season and then losing key players such as Flamini, Hleb, Gilberto, Lehmann and Senderos in the following summer (and Diarra in the January transfer window) then it was clear that this season wasn’t going to be an improvement on the one before.

Some of you will question the quality of some of those players but the fact is some of them have gone on to sign for some of Europe’s biggest teams; Real Madrid, AC Milan and Barcelona (with mixed success I’ll admit).

Our response was to bring in Silvestre, Bischoff, Ramsey and Nasri.

And added to our plight, our over-pampered kids (who constantly hear from the manager that they have incredible ‘mental strength’ every week) decided not to perform this season. We already knew the desire of players like Eboue, Diaby and Song but this season players like Adebayor who were excellent and determined last season weren’t even bothered anymore.

What chance did we stand in the Premier League?

So in the end we were essentially in a battle for 4th spot with Aston Villa, and in all honesty we were aided by an Aston Villa collapse.

Yes, we went 21 Premier League games unbeaten but how many were draws? If a high percentage of those were victories then surely a 21 game run would have put us right back in the title race. But we finished a massive 18 points behind eventual Champions Manchester United. Particularly disappointing when you consider the season before we finished 3rd and only 4 points off top spot in the league.

But Arsene single-handedly saved Arsenal’s season with one signing. And that was Andrei Arshavin.

Since he arrived in January we saw a different Arsenal. Not title challenging but far better than the side which played in the first half of the season. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say he carried the side on many occasions and that wasn’t more evident than in the 4-4 draw at Anfield. Basically, if it wasn’t for him we probably would have lost 4-0 and we wouldn’t have ended Liverpool’s title challenge.

Because of the decent run since January many people forget how abject we were from August to December. Some of the performances (such as against Boro) were truly terrible. We drew that game with a shocking lack of heart and effort and what can you put that down to? The worst thing was that only a week before Hull’s Marlon King ripped that same Boro defence to shreds. Marlon King did more damage than we did which is criminal.
By December, we had conceded the same amount of goals at Spurs, who at the time were in deep relegation trouble. The sad fact was that from the best defence in the country (in the invincibles season) we had one of the worst. Now you can point the finger at individual mistakes and injuries but ultimately Wenger is the man who overlooked the defence.

We lack that resilience that we had last season. If we play well then we’ve got a chance, but if we don’t we’ll lose. We can’t grind out results anymore and that is a problem. We are a confidence side and we don’t know which team will turn up on the day. In the Champions League, we were comprehensively beaten by Manchester United over two games, and Chelsea gave us a footballing lesson in the league. Once things go wrong we give up.

You will turn and say our players are young and need experience but Arsene’s ethos is ‘if you’re good enough you’re old enough’ and that is reflected in our annual wage bill. We pay roughly the same amount on wages as Manchester United. It’s an uncomfortable feeling to know that Eboue, Diaby and Denilson are on comparable wages to Hargreaves, Fletcher and Anderson – proven winners. No wonder you see several of our young players stroll around the pitch. You will find it hard to argue that half of our squad apply themselves as much as Ray Parlour or Mathieu Flamini did. Yes, they are different players but the fans aren’t stupid and they know when people aren’t applying themselves on the pitch. Look at Adebayor this season for example.

One of the major things I will remember from this season is Arshavin being missing from the starting line-up against Chelsea in the FA Cup. As things turned out a victory would have seen us in the final against Everton, and no disrespect to them but we would have been favourites to lift the cup. And if we did manage to win it then I would have considered this season to be a success – it would have been the first trophy this young side had won and could have been the catalyst for further honours in the future.

But for one reason or another Arsene decided not to play his strongest side, and even Nasri was on the bench.

Some people believe that Wenger wanted to save Arshavin for the Premier League game against Liverpool because 3rd place was more important to him. Other theories are that Arsene was wary of Chelsea’s aerial threat and decided that Diaby would provide better cover from set-pieces, although when have we ever seen Wenger concentrate on his oppositions tactics? Then rumblings from the infamous Q&A session with Wenger suggested that he wanted his young side to prove that they could win the big games, and he admitted it didn’t work.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing, and maybe Arshavin wouldn’t have made a difference. But it’s hard to ignore his influence after he smashed in 4 goals at Anfield only days later.

When you look at the Arsene Wenger Q&A transcript it makes hard reading.

It’s obvious some Arsenal fans aren’t happy with what they see on the pitch, and it’s disheartening to see a great man like Arsene Wenger having to defend himself against all these types of questions. There’s no doubt he is the most important man in Arsenal’s entire history and he has transformed a mid-table side into one of the biggest clubs in the world. The fact is Arsene is a victim of his own success.

The pressure has never been as intense, and Wenger is right when he points out that Liverpool, a massive club themselves, haven’t won the title in 19 years. He is also right to defend his players, because there’s nothing else he can do but. As fans we take defeat and poor performances to heart and rightly so, but Arsene will be feeling the pain a million times more.
Arsene has made some mistakes this season, but a lot of the players have let him down as well. He puts faith in these players and rewards them with increased wages and they don’t pay him back. And front of that particular queue is Adebayor

So the strange feeling I have after this season is one of disappointment, anger and pity for the manager.

Disappointment and anger because some of the performances this year have been quite disgraceful. It’s not the defeats so much as the lack of application from the players. All you can ask as a fan is the team to give 110% once they cross that white line and have pride in wearing the shirt of Arsenal. The first half of the season was poor and then when it mattered (the Champions League and FA Cup semi-finals) we didn’t turn up.

Then the manager.

What is it down to? Is it because he is stubborn and fixed on his unique vision, or is it because he has no money to spend? Does he lack a number two who questions his decisions? Sometimes when you have so much power at a club like Arsene has then you have a distorted view on things.

Wenger has stated that if Arsenal don’t win a trophy in the next 2 years then his experiment would have failed. I’m glad to see the back of this season and am already looking forward to next with my usual hope and faith for a brighter season. After all, that is what Arsene is selling to us, so come August we will have to hope that the squad is strengthened in key areas and we have a team that can compete and do us proud.


A 2006 Review: Looking Back Over The Year

A Year of Highs and Lows…

Well the year is coming to an end so I thought I’d post up my highlights over the last 12 months.

This year will mainly be remembered for Arsenal making the Champions League Final, securing 4th position in the Premiership, Thierry Henry committing his future to Arsenal and Cashley Cole moving to Russia – certainly a year of highs and lows.

Top 3 Highlights of 2006

The Champions League Run
Arsenal were simply fantastic in the Champions League, beating Europe’s elite to reach the final including Real Madrid and Juventus in Feb-March-April of 2006. Jen’s Lehmann had set a record in that he didn’t actually concede a single in the CL last season, but his sending off in the final put Arsenal in deep trouble. But Sol Campbell gave Arsenal hope with his 37th minute header and we did so well to hold on for 77 minutes – but eventually Barcelona managed to get through the tiring 10-man Arsenal team. Such a valiant performance really deserved better. There were many highlights in the run-in but the most memorable include Jen’s sensational save from Riquelme in the semi-final and Henry’s goal against Real Madrid at the Bernabeu.

Finishing 4th in The Premiership
Losing Patrick Vieira in the summer of 2005 was a shock to the system as Arsenal lost their consistancy in the league. Some irregular results put Arsenal well out of the title race and even worse was that Spurs were favourites for 4th place, and Champions League qualification. April 22nd was the crunch tie with Spurs and it was eventful as ever when Robbie Keane slotted the ball into the net as Gilberto & Eboue lay injured in the centre of the pitch. Arsene squared up to Martin Jol and all hell broke loose. But Arsenal won their remaining 3 league games culminating in a memorable 4-2 in the last game at Highbury, with captain Henry scoring a hattrick. Even better, West Ham beat Spurs on the final day secure 4th spot and we all know why!

Thierry Henry Staying at Arsenal
After the Champions League Final Thierry Henry finally decided to stay at Arsenal and snub Barcelona. The speculation started way back in 2005 but after Arsenal’s performace in the final Henry saw enough potential for success with the current squad and added impetus to add more experience, with Rosicky, Gallas and Baptista joining us in the summer. The future’s bright, it’s red and white.

Top 3 Matches of 2006

1-0 Versus Real Madrid (Santiago Bernabeu, Feb 21st)
Nobody gave Arsenal a chance. Especially since we had recently lost against Bolton, Liverpool and West Ham – and Real Madrid had won their last 10 games in La Liga. But as usual when you write Arsenal off that’s when they really perform and we created a number of chances from the kick off. Reyes and Henry had big chances within the first 10 minutes and with Real under the cosh Arsenal controlled the game and created other chances before the break. But then a couple of minutes after the restart Cesc fed the ball to Henry on the half-way line. The captain then proceeded to beat Ronaldo, Meija, Guti and Sergio Ramos before placing the ball into the far corner past Casillas – giving Arsenal the win and a historic result at the Bernabeu.

2-0 Versus Juventus (Highbury, March 22nd)
The build up was all about Patrick Vieira, but it was Cesc who people were talking about after the game. The opening goal, on 40 minutes, was created after Bobby tackled Vieira just past the half-way line and then fed Henry who slipped the ball to Fabregas on the edge of the box. Cesc then slotted the ball through Emerson’s legs and gave Arsenal a much deserved lead. Then on 68 minutes, Hleb, Cesc and Henry combined well to give Arsenal a 2-0 lead and put one foot in the CL semi-final.

1-0 Versus Manchester United (Old Trafford, Sept 17th)
Wins at Old Trafford are always memorable and this one was no exception. Once again, everyone was writting us off before a ball had been kick but Arsenal controlled large periods of the match and Adebayors goal on 84 minutes was the least we deserved. Gilberto also missed a penalty in the first half but that didn’t stop Arsenal pushing on and winning the game – our first vital win of this season’s Premiership campaign.

Top 3 Arsenal Goals of 2006

There were some great goals this year but the following 3 were the ones that made me scream the loudest and go totally berserk. Thinking of these goals again still gives me goosebumps…

Sol Campbell versus Barcelona
He might have had an indifferent season but Sol played in the CL final after Senderos picked up an injury and made the perfect impact with his headed goal on 37 minutes, especially with the Gunners down to 10 men. Arsenal fought on bravely and Barcelona might have ended up winning the final in the end but that goal gave every Gooner hope that we might just win the biggest club competition in the world. And we were so close…

Emmanuel Adebayor versus Manchester United
With no Thierry Henry and seemingly no chance, Arsenal travelled to Old Trafford needing to win to keep their title chances alive. Arsenal played with no fear against a team who were in scintillating form and attacked throughout the match. Scholes cleared off the line from Adebayor’s header in the first half and won a penalty – but Gilberto’s effort was saved. But then with only 5 minutes remaining Cesc played in a well-measured through ball for Ade to coolly slot past Thomas Kuszczak for the opening goal and all 3 points! A great goal and such a vital win over the currently leaders of The Premiership.

Mathieu Flamini versus Chelsea
The game had so much tension it was almost unbearable. There was the Cashley fiasco before the match and the game itself was electric, with Arsenal having the best of the first half. Chelsea had the better of the second period, but with only 13 minutes remaining Hleb and Flamini combined to deadly effect and scored a goal that looked like giving Chelsea their first defeat at home since way back in 2004 when we beat them 2-1 thanks to Edu and Vieira. The goal itself came from no where which added to the exhilaration and Hleb’s skill in creating the chance against Cole in the build up was even better. Chelsea equalised with a scuffed tap in from Essien 5 minutes later but that couldn’t hide the fact that a team missing Henry, Gallas, Rosicky, Toure and Lauren (with only Gilberto & Lehmann as the experienced players) coped with a full-strength Chelsea squad – and could have stole all 3 points.

Top 3 Players of 2006

Kolo Toure
There is no doubt that Kolo has been simply immense for Arsenal over the year and has been our most consistent player. His pace, positioning, strength and above all his desire is what has kept us going and he is certainly an Arsenal captain of the future. He keeps putting in performance after performance and is a true leader in the pitch.

Cesc Fabregas
The kid is still only 19! Along with Kolo probably the most consistent Arsenal player over the last 12 months, and like his team-mate has played the majority of Arsenal’s games. His all round play is improving all the time and he keeps racking up man of the match performances throughout the seasons. It’s hard to imagine there’s more to come from this boy!

Jens Lehmann
Since being dropped for a few games a couple of seasons ago Jens has been in inspirational form, which resulted him being Germany’s first choice keeper in the World Cup. He has made some really excellent saves over the last year but certain highlights that stand out for me include THAT save from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at Old Trafford, a penalty save from Steven Gerrard at Anfield in February which almost earnt us a point. But the moment of the year for Jens was his stop against Riquelme’s penalty in the semi-final of the CL. I have never cheered a save so much!

Thank you for reading and let me wish all you guys a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!


Arsenal Season Review – 2005/2006

Arsenal Can Only Get Better?

It’s been a real rollercoaster season for Arsenal fans – in the Premiership we finished 4th which is, by our high standards, disappointing. But we have a chance to build on this season with Champions League football which is the most important thing. And pipping Spurs in the process – so not all doom and gloom!

The big question is did we suffer with Vieira leaving for Juventus?

Hard to say really.

When you lose a player who has been so influencial for the last 8/9 years then surely any team would suffer. I don’t personally think we suffered quality-wise in the squad, but there is no doubt that psychologically the team had a problem without their captain in the dressing room.

It is interesting to note that when Vieira was missing for the first couple of months of the 2004/2005 season, we were still smashing teams like Everton and Norwich 4-1, and who could forget the amazing comeback from Boro to win 5-3 at Highbury – what a game!

I think Arsenal suffered because the team knew Vieira wasn’t injured, but had gone for good. We also had Henry out for about a month in September which didn’t really help the start to our season.

The team took time to find some belief in themselves and that didn’t come until the later parts of the season. Our away form was dire this season and we lost a total of 11 games. We really suffered against the so-called ‘physical’ teams like Everton, Bolton and Blackburn who would bully us out of games. I personally don’t berudge these teams for using these tactics – in the end the 3 points is all that matters. We can’t complain about it, we just have to find a way around team who use this approach.

Arsenal also had major injury problems this season, with Lauren, Campbell, Senderos, Cole, Freddie and many others on the treatment table for big parts of the campaign.

But through adversity Arsenal showed great character, and players like Flamini and Eboue showed us how good they are. Giving youth a chance this season will surely help Arsenal when the season starts again in August, and the experience they have had will be priceless.

The major part of our season was the European campaign.

Once Henry scored that wonder-goal at the Bernabeu against Madrid Arsenal was the start of something special which took us past Serie A champions Juventus and Villarreal – and almost got us past Barcelona.

It’s so strange how things pan out – our worst domestic campaign for 10 years results in our best ever European season. To have both domestic and European success you need an amazing squad of players and no-one can argue that Barcelona have that.

Arsenal really deserved better against Barca, but that’s all in the past now and we have to move on. Football can be cruel sometimes!

Ironically the defeat to Barcelona in the Champions League Final could have been the reason Henry decided to stay at Arsenal.

He wasn’t particularly happy with Barcelona’s ‘sportsmanship’ when Lehmann was sent off and the fouls he suffered against Puyol and Marquez. It’s funny how now that Henry has decided to stay that Barcelona ‘didn’t want him after all’. It’s alright though, they’re going for Forlan.

The grass isn’t always greener on the other side, as Petit, Overmars, Anelka – and Vieira to an extent – have found out. And where else in the world would Henry have a team based around his strengths?

The Season: Overall

The postives from 2005/2006 is that over the last 10 seasons this is by far the worst we have had to endure from Arsenal – and we still have Champions League football.

We are also moving into a state-of-the-art 60,000 stadium, have Henry to lead us out and with the signing of Tomas Rosicky we look like to be improving the squad. But we have to address the loss of legends Dennis Bergkamp and Robert Pires so Arsene really needs to bring in a couple of real top-quality players to the squad if we are going to compete.

But now to the negatives.

We finished a massive 24 points behind Chelsea.

This is simply too big a gap and baring in mind re-claiming a league title is much harder that winning it the first time, Chelsea still had a pretty easy campaign.

And despite Manchester United having a make-shift midfield consisting of Fletcher, O’ Shea and Alan Smith we finished 16 points behind them. Of course, we had Europe to concentrate on unlike United but a fixture build up is a part of English football.

And now Chelsea have added world class players like Andriy Shevchenko and Michael Ballack to their team. And they are strongly linked to Roberto Carlos. Ouch.

I hope Arsenal can add a few names before the World Cup begins but that seems less and less likely as Germany gets closer and closer!