Arsenal have always started a season with great results and performances through the season. However, during February or March, Arsenal collapsed and started wasting valuable points. Last season, Arsenal managed to score 119 goals with different 17 players on the score sheet, conceded 67 goals and used 31 players in all competition (Barclays Premier League, Champions League, F.A Cup and Carling Cup).
Last season, the Gunners came very close to snatching a trophy, the Carling Cup was the closest after a major error from Koscielny and Szczesny led to a defeat vs. Birmingham city. Last season had its lows and highs, such as the glorious Champions League victory vs. Barcelona at the Emirates Stadium.
Arsenal’s target was to win every competition possible. Arsenal had the perfect start to the Carling cup, destroying Tottenham 4-1 at White Hart Lane with two Nasri goals, then winning Newcastle four nil, Wigan two- nil and Ipswich three- nil. Unfortunately we lost the Carling cup final at Wembley vs. Birmingham city at the very last minute; a misunderstanding between Koscielny and Szczesny gave the ball away to Martins(Birmingham City’s striker) and he slotted the ball into an empty net.
The Champions League was a serious goal for the Boss Arsene Wenger. The Gunners started the campaign with a 6 -nil demolition win over Portugal’s Braga at the Emirates stadium, then Arsene’s red army won Partizan 3-1 away , with three penalties given during the match and two of those were missed. 3rd match of the Champions League was against Shakhtar Donetsk at the Emirates Stadium which was highlighted by the return of former Gooner, Eduardo A.K.A Dudu. During the game, Eduardo scored the final goal and it ended 5-1 to Arsenal, the commentator was quoted saying “I have never seen these much fans applaud an opponent’s goal(referring to Eduardo’s goal)”.
Moreover, Arsenal suffered two consecutive defeats away from home, by both Shakhtar and Braga which meant qualification wasn’t guaranteed. Arsenal then won Partizan 3-1 and made the knock out stages. Arsenal took their place in the last 16 of the Champions league for the 11th time in a row.
The draw pitted Arsenal against bogey opponents, Barcelona, with the 1st leg at home soil. Everyone predicted Barcelona will grab the victory, but after an amazing match with Barca leading 1- nil at half time, the Gunners played their sexy flowing game, and on the 79th minute Clichy passed the ball to Robin Van Persie and RVP slotted the ball to the back of the net with a magical strike. A few minutes later, Nasri passes the ball to Arshavin from a counter attack and Arshavin takes a beautiful shot at goal and scores the winner.
The Emirates Stadium was on its feet. Lots of Arsenal players, including Wilshere ,believe that the win over Barca was the highlight of the season. When the return leg came, Arsenal suffered a 3-1 defeat at the Camp Nou, but I have to say there were some extremely bad calls by the referee which led to Van Persie receiving a red card. So on aggregate we lost 4-3 and the European dream ended for us.
Barclays Premier League
The Barclays Premier League was at its toughest last season, and Arsenal yet again collapsed in March. The season started with a one -all draw vs. Liverpool at Merseyside. Arsenal picked up their winning momentum well , with great performances against Bolton and Blackpool, but then came the huge disappointments with two losses at home against promoted teams (Newcastle and West Brom). As well as a two-nil defeat at Stanford Bridge, one- nil defeat at Old Trafford and one of the biggest disappointments of the season; the shameful defeat at the Emirates vs. Tottenham after leading two- nil.
The Gunners showed some spirit and won big decisive games like Manchester City away 3-0, Chelsea at home 3-1 and an amazing display by Nasri vs. Fulham. By March, came the draws and loss of points vs. the likes of WBA, Sunderland and a last minute penalty equalizer vs. Liverpool, as well leading at half time 3-1 at our arch rival’s ground ‘White Hart Lane’ then ending up with a draw.
One of the most embarrassing matches Arsenal played last season, was vs. Newcastle at St. James Park. The Gunners led four- nil at half time , then in the 61st minute, Diaby suffers a tackle from Barton, which led to Diaby’s stupidity and starts shoving Barton and Nolan on the ground, which got him sent off. Then, Newcastle made the impossible possible, by scoring 4 goals in the last 20 minutes and salvaged a draw. A huge disappointment to all Gooners in the fight for the English Premier League Title.
The F.A Cup run was poor, starting with a draw vs. Leeds United, then defeating them away, a hard fought- win over Huddersfield and another two legged victory over Leyton Orient. The Gunners reached the Quarterfinals vs. Manchester United, which was a vicious match, but unfortunately we lost and got eliminated from the F.A Cup.
To conclude, Arsenal had a good cup run reaching the finals of the Carling Cup, almost defeating European champions Barcelona and not performing well in the F.A Cup. Regarding the English Premier League, as usual Arsenal’s run ends by March, draw after draw made it impossible for us to continue fighting for the title. 31 different players have represented Arsenal last season, a total of 9 red cards this season including Van Persie’s unfair sending off vs. Barcelona, with Koscielny and Sagna equal red cards (2). The Gunners was one of the teams, with the highest number of assists in the Premiership with 100 assists; Arshavin was on top with 17 assists while Cesc Fabregas had 16 assists.
In my opinion, Arsene needs to obviously strengthen the defense, starting with the goalkeeper and most importantly getting top-class center backs, as well as replacing Bendtner in attack. So overall it was another disappointing season, but I’m sure Arsene Wenger will make the needed changes in his own way to get the title back to the Emirates Stadium.
Written by Faris Al-Osaimi
Follow him on Twitter: @FarisTheGooner
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