A year ago we had a team that was falling apart. Henry had been injured and looked lost – as well as having personal troubles. We were even doubtful about making 4th in the league, and there was talk of Tottenham over-taking us.
We’d previous lost Vieira, and clearly Henry was going to go – could we even hold onto our stars?
Meanwhile there seemed to be an excessive emphasis put on youth. Cesc was good, but was he that good? Where were the big players to hold the team together?
We were also using free transfers like Flamini, who was rumoured to be going – no one particularly minded. And we were destined to end the league about 2000 points behind the leaders.
So what happened? The gap this season has closed dramatically. We are not going to win anything, but the team without Henry looks much better balanced. For most of the season we have looked terrific, and there was a serious chance of winning the league until that moment when Birmingham City attacked Eduardo.
It all fell apart in that game – and of course if we had been serious contenders we would have pulled it back together. But we were close – Cesc and Flamini turned out to be sensational, and with a couple more players (who are certainly coming into the first team next year) we are going to be there.
A year ago Wenger was said to be past it. That will be said again this summer – but just as last summer regulars at the ground could see the start of something extraordinary, so next season we will see its flourishing.
(Coming up in part 2 – the finances; in part 3 – the players coming in next season)
- WSL Round Up – West Ham v Arsenal Sunday 18:45
- Arsenal lost, but it is all part of the drive toward long-term sustainability
- Everton v Arsenal: a happy video, line-up and what the league table will look like after
- Everton v Arsenal: Injuries, points needed for 4th, and Arsenal the first to 100?
- Everton v Arsenal: extraordinary figures seen in the last 6 games table