New Era Dawns At Arsenal
I wrote back in August last year that this was the season for Arsenal to make serious ground on their rivals and whilst my prediction of them winning the Premiership did not materialise, they have managed to shift the burden of their '9-year itch' and in doing so also made Mourinhio look decidedly foolish after his "specialist in failure" tag that he presented to Arsene Wenger a few months ago.
It is fair to describe Arsenal's season as a rollercoaster ride. After their opening day embarrassment losing at home to Villa their form improved dramatically and they also smashed their transfer record indicating their intent that they meant serious business. They held the top spot for something like 12 weeks, by far more than the chasing pack around them. Ultimately, the league title slipped away from their grasp after a wretched run of luck, poor form; in the morning kick-offs at Man City, Chelsea and Liverpool where they were absolutely battered out of site. The loss of Theo Walcott in the FA Cup victory over Spurs was a telling loss and Arsene's failure to replace him in the January transfer window infuriated many Arsenal fans who saw this as contributing significantly to the Gunners loss of form in the second half of the season.
Still, on reflection, the plus points well outweigh the negatives. We all know there is a fine line between success and failure and Arsenal fans will look back with a huge amount of relief and feel that Arsenal have had a very good year. I have to confess, as a Gooner, I was a tad 'emosh' seeing the 'Verminator' lift the FA Cup and the happiness etched on the manager's face showed Arsenal fans exactly what they had been missing for the last 9 years.
TalkSport's Adrian Durham constantly reminds Arsenal fans, almost on a daily basis, ribbing them on the theory that a fourth place finish is better than winning a trophy. Arsenal fans fell into the trap of believing this and begrudgingly will now admit that Adrian has a point when he says this. I have to say that I am 100% behind Mr Durham on this point and I think the '4th place brigade' will now keep their mouths firmly closed as the taste of real success filters through to all Gunners fans. I am not saying that 4th place is not an achievement, of course it is - and it has helped us to pay off our brilliant (but soulless) stadium, and make Arsene and Ivan very handsomely paid Arsenal staff. But, there is no substitute for winning a trophy.
Arsene's immediate post-Cup Final announcement that he will be signing a new contract is great news for Arsenal fans. A new era is on the verge of dawning. With a new contract and a reported £100M war chest to signal even more intent Arsenal will be there or thereabouts again next season. I would be happy with a third place finish and capturing the league cup. How would you describe success next year?
PS. I hope Arsene spends the £100M better than Levy and AvB did the previous year.
You can follow Fevzi Hussein on Twitter @fevzihussein
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