Arsenal has won and retained the FA Cup last weekend, with a 4-0 thumping of Aston Villa. However, theird season overall cannot be termed as the real success, as they failed to challenge for the title once again. The arrival of Alexis Sanchez and Danny Welback proved to be a success overall, but holding midfielder crisis was clear to see as Arsenal could not capture the signature of Morgan Schneiderlin from Southampton, which proved to be a missing link through the season.
Arsenal began the season with high hopes of finally challenging for the title with the arrival of Sanchez from Barcelona, and Welbeck from Manchester United. The season started with an important match against Everton at Goodison Park, where Arsenal came back in the last 10 minutes with goals from Ramsey and Girourd after going 2-0 down with Coleman and Naismith scoring for Everton. Next week, Arsenal managed to get 2-2 draw against the previous Champions, City at Emirates as well.
Arsenal had a mixture of results at home and away, where they lost a couple of pretty winnable matches on paper. They lost to Swansea in week 35 at Emirates 1-0, which proved to be the turning point for them not being able to finish at the 2nd place, ahead of former champions City. They drew 2-2 against a relegated Hull side at the Emirates, which was another surprising result. They lost to Stokes at Britannia Stadium 3-2, where they conceded all three goals before the half time.
Arsenal’s form against the other top sides in the table was not up to the mark, which proved to be of immense importance for them not being able to challenge for the title. Gunner’s managed to earn only 11 points out of possible 30 in 10 matches against the other top 5 sides. Gunners just managed to win 2 games, drew 3 and lost 5 against the top 5 opponents, which shows again why they fell short of crossing the line. Gunner’s best performance of the league came against the defending Champions City on their own ground, where they thrashed them 2-0 in an impressive display of fast, attacking football.
Arsenal’s inability to keep on producing their best football was maybe due to the fact that there were some serious injuries, which left their thin squad exposed at a crucial time in the season. Injuries to some of the 1st team players like Giroud, Ozil, Debuchy and Wilshere left gaps in the Arsenal team, whom they couldn’t fill with the equal or more like equal replacements.
Arsenal’s best performer of the season was undoubtedly Alex Sanchez, the man they signed from Barcelona in the summer last year. He netted 16 goals, and provided 8 assists, and earn some very valuable points in the league for them. It was his attitude, his drive for the goals that set him apart from the rest of the squad, and that’s why he was the go to man for Arsenal during most part of the campaign. Apart from Sanchez, few other players stood out, more noticeably Santi Cazorla, Oliver Giroud, Mesut Ozil, Aaron Ramsey and Danny Welbeck, all had more than a decent season, where they put their hands up time and again for the Gunners, and made sure that Arsenal will once again qualify for the Champions league.
Arsenal’s biggest disappointment throughout the season was Jack Wilshere, who again had fitness problems and could not deliver the goods on the pitch with just 2 goals in 14 appearances for the Gunners. Another player who was a disappointment throughout the season was Oxlade Chamberlain, who managed to score a single goal and manage to give a single assist in 17 appearances for the Gunners.
In all, Arsenal with the kind of Squad they have, with the kind of stability they have at the club level, they were supposed to challenge for the Title, but it was not like that. They had a poor outing in Capital Cup, and were knocked out from the round of 16 once again in the Champions League to Monaco, which highlighted the fact that winning FA Cup is just not enough for Arsene Wenger’s side. Things look good for now as they won their 2nd FA Cup in 2 years, but it’s the league title Challenge and better showing in the Champions league is what fans are demanding for.
The article originally appeared on Playingfor90.com