Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Arsenal End of Season Review/Player Awards

Season Review


I’m not sure you’re supposed to have roller coaster months in August but ours certainly was. The lack of signings and defeat at home to Villa meant a summer of fury was unleashed around The Emirates. We even contemplated Fenerbache eliminating us in the Champions League but that ended up being a demolition. So we left the month of August having signed two players, both on frees.


This has been a pretty grim month for us and when it starts against your closest rivals (in terms of locality) and they’ve spent a whopping 100m+ trying to overtake you, then we were very much in squeaky bum territory. Giroud’s sublime finish was enough to ensure all three points and later that evening Wenger confirmed we were talking to Ozil. MESUT FUCKING OZIL as he became known on twitter and the place went umlaut crazy. The only downside was that a poxy international break stood between us and our 42 MILLION POUND signing. Who’d have thought it, us spending money. We were also drawn against tough opponents in the champions league. This led to the inevitable 'arsenal will be eliminated' routine that is becoming somewhat tiresome. We were unbeaten in September, playing six and winning five. The release of positivity was timely, especially given the poisonous atmosphere in August. Were the good times about to return?


It began with a bang in our first big CL game. Napoli were rolled over in a comprehensive 2-0 win and Ozil scored a beauty. 6/6 in our group, a good healthy start.The rich vein of form continued and it saw our joint biggest victory of the league season at home 4-1 v Norwich. Strange to think that we only scored four goals on two occasions in the league. We suffered our first defeat since the opening day of the season at home to Dortmund. Suddenly with a trip to the Signal Iduna our group was looking a lot more difficult than it had at the start of the night. Maybe the media were right? We did however put the defeat behind us, as we went to Palace (probably at the right time) and got 3 points and stayed top of the league. Even an Arteta red card didn’t hamper us. The month did end on a low though, as we went out of the Capital One Cup to Chelsea. I’m never sure what our players gain for the alleged experience on offer, particularly as some don’t play again for the rest of the season. We also introduced Giroud and Ozil from the bench but 1-0 soon became 2-0 and out we went. 


The dreaded November which was nicknamed Death Run 1.0. A week of Liverpool (H), Dortmund (A) and United (A). Would our big game bottlers tag be shaken off? You know the drill, we were fantastic against Liverpool, as Santi noticed his first of the season and Ramsey, well he just continued being Ramsey. Then onto Dortmund and my only European voyage of the season. Little was expected from the game and we offered no threat in the first half and were lucky to go in 0-0. Ozil whipped in a world cross, Giroud knocked it down and Ramsey stooped to head home. 1-0 TO THE ARSENAL. It was to stay that way and suddenly you started to believe that the players could start to take confidence and they could see they could compete against the best. Let’s not forget that six months earlier Dortmund were in the Champions League final. This was definitely the highlight of the month. And just like Arsenal do, one high leads to one mighty low. We seemed to accept that two wins from three was good enough. We were abysmal against United at OT.  It left a sour taste but it was still a positive week. The sides character was again apparent as we won out through the rest of the month. November brought with it nine premier league points and six champions league points. Quite something given some of the November’s we’ve had before. 


Sometimes you can look at some games, not necessarily your worst performances or defeat of the season but Everton still irks me. They played excellently against us but we took the lead with less than 10 minutes to go and for a side that had not conceded in four games it was disappointing to concede so late on. It is often these moments that lead to a poor run of form and that’s exactly we we got. Napoli was far too close for comfort, knowing we could lose didn’t help as it certainly affected our mindset. Callejon netted the 2nd in the 90th minute and we hung on to progress to the knockout stages. So i’ve spoken about our character and ability to bounce back from defeat, well this time it to us to fortress Etihad - The land of the demolition. Free scoring City against high flying Arsenal. We went in at HT 2-1 down and Kosceilny had left the game injured. It was painful viewing as it threatened to get as bad as a game previously played in Manchester some two years sooner. 6-3 it finished and although a lot went against us that day, you have to think there was a bigger picture. We exposed our weaknesses and it was put down as a freak result which may explain we why didn’t have an answer against other similar performances later in the season. We then had the opportunity to beat Chelsea but Mourinho came and loaded up the space and restricted our attack,. A penalty appeal and a red card shout went unnoticed and it was 90 minutes that nobody was getting back. Lukas Podolski rose from the ashes and turned the game on it’s head at Upton Park, as Theo continued his good run of form in front of goal. Then to Newcastle and Giroud glanced home as took the points in a very poor contest but again six point on the road is superb. 


Happy New Year to Arsenal as we got back to grips with our form. Cardiff were beaten, admittedly quite late on and then we had Sp*rs at home in the 3rd Round. Walcott led the line and despite not scoring he looked quite lively but within 48 hours it was confirmed his season was over. Maybe now we’d sign another striker, lets not forget we chased Higuain and Suarez when we had Giroud and Walcott. We were about to become very one dimensional very quickly. Wins followed against Villa, Fulham and Coventry but January was to end on a disappointing note. We fell behind at St Marys in one of our many poor first half performances. However, the team turned the game on its head. Santi equalised and Giroud steered home brilliantly to give us a 2-1 lead but we switched off and Southampton capitalised. It was definitely two points dropped but again at the time it didn’t seem too bad but February was just around the corner. 


Cracks began to appear at Liverpool after we suffered our second drubbing of the season at Anfield. It was a horror show, we invariably raised more questions than answers but we were handed a lesson in terms how ill discipline can lead to utter disaster very quickly. We had the opportunity to right our wrongs against United and we failed to deliver, again. How we never scored against them this season given the amount of joy they’ve given to Premier League fans is beyond me. We went on to extract revenge against Liverpool by eliminating them from the FA Cup, despite fielding what you could say was a weaker side. The CL got underway and Bayern came to town and did a number on us again. Although we missed a pen and gave away one, Szczesny’s sending off changed the game and the tie. We lived to regret a late Koscielny charge forward as we got caught napping. 


The worst month of the season. We lost to Stoke. We lost to Chelsea 6-0. We threw away a last minute lead v Swansea and ended the month without a win in three games. We were also officially eliminated out of the CL. The positives, well, we won at Spurs for the first time in approximately seven years and we remained in the FA Cup, which meant our season had some substance going into April, not just race for 4th.


If we thought March was bad, then April didn’t start any better. We got spanked at Everton. Despite this I still thought we had enough to make top four. Our run-in versus Everton was much more favourable and we’d started to get players back. The disappointment was soon put to bed as we beat Wigan on pens to make the FA Cup final. It was a poor contest and one we made far more difficult than it should have been but hey-ho we made the final, that’s all that counts. The positive trend continue as we netted three goals in three consecutive against West Ham, Hull and Newcastle. Ozil and Ramsey were back in the side and suddenly everything appeared to be a lot better,

Merry Month of May

Champions League qualification was sealed prior to our against WBA. Our league campaign ended with two wins meaning we are actually on a five game winning streak going into next season. Lets be honest though, May was all about the FA Cup and our dramatic comeback to end, as the media would say:





If ever anyone says we celebrate fourth like a trophy, then clearly they have never won one because although I celebrated our last days wins at WBA and NUFC nothing compares to Saturday. Seeing Gooners happy at Wembley, North London and across the globe was brilliant  Seeing the pleasure it brought to the team was just fantastic to see. The celebrations went long into the night. It was just a great day. Everyone has their memories from the weekend, whether you were there, at a pub or at home. It was special and it’s great to see everyone lapping it up.

Overall, the season promised more than it has done for a few years we’ve won silverware and that’s what it’s all about. You can debate long and hard about what is more important re: European Qualification but you don’t get the high we experienced on Saturday. There are ifs, buts and maybes. However, if you were offered 4th and the FA Cup after Villa on the opening day, you’d have taken it. We’ve made progress in some areas and there is still a lot of work ahead but for not it’s all good. 

End of Season Awards

Best Player

Aaron Ramsey - No description needed.

Worst Player

Carl Jenkinson - Lots of effort, lacks ability. Not good enough. However, he’ll soon be our only right back 

Goal of the Season

Tomas Rosicky - Yes, ladies and gentleman. I, the self confessed Rosicky hater I'm given ‘Super Tom’ as some of you refer to him the honour of Goal of the Season. Now, I know Wilshere’s goal is great but it was against Norwich in a 4-1 win. I prefer goals that have bigger meaning, so Rosicky’s effort at WHL swings it for me. An absolute thunder bastard (as Ian MacIntosh would say) and it give us our first win there and in a good few years. 

What If Moment of the Season

January Transfer Window - We had the lead, what had the momentum but we didn’t reinforce in order to see what we could have become. Yes injuries played a part but when the likes of Walcott and Ramsey are injured and you only bring in a broken Kallstrom then you’ll pay the price. I think we could have won had we invested but we didn’t but you always think ‘what if’. 

Most Ridiculous Moment of the Season

Mathieu Flamini - Of course there are many, not just relating to Flamini but his red at Southampton was stupidity at its finest. Not only did he commit a ridiculous challenge but he missed game against Liverpool and Man Utd. Games in which we could have done with him, particularly at Anfiled when we needed defensive shape. Instead we had to throw in a ring rusty Wilshere and the rest is history. 

Biggest Win

Borussia Dortmund - Nobody gave us a chance and in a season where we’ve had a lot of questions asked of us and had little reply, we came up big in Germany. I was lucky enough to go to that game and i can’t say I even contemplated victory but we snatched it courtesy of Aaron Ramsey. 

I’ve done all of these off the top of my head, so feel free to disagree (your thoughts are welcomed). Anyway, that’s all from me for now. I’ll be back some time soon with the Arsenal Power Rankings, drop me a line if you want to be a part to be a part of it. Thanks for reading and until next time, enjoy the fact out of all the Premier League teams, only two have won silverware and one of them is us.