After what can certainly be described as a roller coaster of a season, we have once again guaranteed Champions League football and finished above Tottenham Hotspur. That finish might not have satisfied all our fans, and it certainly won’t be good enough next season, here’s a look at where it went wrong, and where it went right.
August: August was a frustrating month for the club. We failed to score in our opening two games against Stoke and Sunderland. We had hope in a defensive sense and Steve Bould’s importance was highlighted, but two points from two games was not a good start.
September: September started well, winning 2-0 at Anfield and demolishing Southampton 6-1. A victory at Montpellier followed before a hard fought point at City, where we perhaps deserved more. We then went on to beat Coventry 6-1 in the League Cup before losing our first game of the season to Chelsea. A frustrating defeat but not earth shattering, Chelsea were in good form at the time and that win kept them top.
October: Another Champions League win, this time against Olympiacos, was followed by a brilliant performance at West Ham, topped off by a brilliant goal from Santi Cazorla. What followed however was our first horror performance of the season. We went to Norwich in decent form but were actually outplayed and lost 1-0. Grant Holt put them ahead early and we never recovered. We then lost at home to Schalke in the Champions League with another disappointing display. A hard fought victory over QPR followed, but we had only scored one goal in three games. What followed however certainly bucked the trend. We went to Reading in the League Cup and scored 7 in a ludicrous, but memorable game.
November: Next came a visit to Old Trafford, the writing was on the wall within 3 minutes when that horrible traitor put them ahead. A 2-1 defeat probably flattered us that day. We followed that with a 2-2 draw at Schalke and a 3-3 draw at home to Fulham. The highlight of a pretty poor month was a 5-2 win over Sp*rs, which was followed by an easy win at home to Montpellier. We then drew two games on the bounce, at Aston Villa and Everton, leaving us having gained only six points from five league games in November.
December: December was a weird month really. It started horribly with a 2-0 home loss to Swansea in what probably eclipsed the Norwich game as our worst performance of the season so far. We then lost in the Champions League to Olympiacos before beating West Brom with two Mikel Arteta penalties, the first of which we shouldn’t have been given. What followed was the darkest day of the season at Bradford, a game we lost on penalties, throwing away a good chance of silverware. After that however we hit a little bit of form, winnig three on the bounce against Reading, Wigan and most memorably Newcastle, a game we won 7-3.
January: The year started with a poor performance at Southampton, followed by a draw at Swansea in the FA Cup to force a replay and a 2-0 home loss to Mancester City. A classy performance by Jack Wilshere helped us beat Swansea in the 3rd Round Replay, but we went to Stamford Bridge and lost again, falling further behind our top four rivals. A five one thriller against West Ham was followed by a hard fought 3-2 win at Brighton in the cup. The month ended with a good comeback against Liverpool in a game that could have gone either way, at this point we were struggling in sixth, four points of Tottenham and eight behind Chelsea.
February: Two one nil victories, at home to Stoke and away to Sunderland were a very good start to the month, but what followed was catastrophic. What seemed an easy home draw in the cup turned into another humiliating exit against Blackburn. In the following match we looked set to be humiliated once again after a 7th minute goal by Toni Kroos. We dug in however and gave ourselves a remote chance of qualification, losing only 3-1. February finished with a win against Aston Villa, three wins out of three in the league made February bearable, but it was in the other competitions that our chances of silverware slipped away once again.
March: March started in the worst possible fashion with a 2-1 defeat to Sp*rs. We were seven points behind them in the league and many people gave up hope. What followed however was completely unprecedented. A 2-0 victory in Munich was a brilliant result, coming so close to knocking out the eventual finalists. Victories at Swansea and Reading followed in March.
April: April saw five league games in which Arsenal went unbeaten. A win at West Brom, which was hard fought after Per Mertesacker’s red card set the tone for the month. Another hard fought win, this time at home to Norwich kept belief alive, the comeback after being 1-0 down after 84 minutes sending us third, at least temporarily. A difficult game in which Everton frustrated us followed, a goalless draw not ideal but not a disaster. A win at Fulham thanks to a Per Mertesacker header was poor in terms of performance but an ideal result. A 1-1 draw with the newly crowned Champions could have been so much more, our fate was out of our hands and panic starting to set in amongst Gooners once again.
May: A 1-0 win at QPR after a very early goal from Theo meant that the pressure was on Sp*rs. They failed to win at Chelsea which meant two wins from two would give us Champions League football. And that is what we did, beating Wigan 4-1 and Newcastle 1-0 in what was a perfect month in terms of results.
So that was this season, many ups and downs but we have, as I have said before, given ourselves a platform for next season.
Come On You Gunners,