This season mirrored many others of the previous few seasons, as Arsenal again displayed beautiful stylish, flowing football and they produced some memorable nights at the Emirates Stadium, including the defeat of Barcelona in the Champions League group stage and an emphatic victory over Chelsea.
The optimism of the early season was short-lived as Arsenal again finished the season without a trophy, the Gunners finished in fourth place in the Premier League, which will now require them to qualify for next years Champions League group stages.
Like so many of the previous seasons in recent years, the Gunners season was full of promise and they looked certain to win their first trophy for six years when they faced a lowly Birmingham side at Wembley Stadium in the Carling Cup Final in February, but Arsenal were surprisingly defeated by a determined, tough tackling Birmingham side, who showed a resilience that Arsenal have sadly lacked over recent years. The defeat in the Carling Cup Final appeared to shock the team and their confidence evaporated, as their season finished with a whimper.
Even the most fervent Arsenal fan must now begin to question the policies and management of Arsene Wenger, who enjoyed so much success during his early season with the club. Failure to correct obvious problems within the central defence and a lack of tenacity within the team, took its toll as the season progressed. Many fans have refused to criticise the manager in previous seasons, but now most realists will admit that any criticism are justified.
Wenger has vowed to continue with the club’s policy of developing their own players and refusing to spend huge amounts in the transfer market, unlike many of their Premiership rivals. This decision will place the manager under huge pressure next season, with the likes of Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea and even Liverpool set to spend large amounts on players during the summer months.
Arsenal are still credited with playing beautiful football and have continued with the development of several young players, including Jack Wilshere who is set to become a leading player for both club and country in the years to come. Wojciech Szczesny is proving that he has the talent to become the reliable goalkeeper that Arsenal have been seeking for several seasons.
Arsenal’s activity in the transfer market this summer will be closely watched, failure to make the right signings could be a defining moment for their manager, as the fans who pledge their allegiance to the manager and display banners around the stadiums reading «In Arsene we trust» they may finally lose patience.
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