Season Targets/ Target Achieved
- Win the league – Not Achieved. Was in the race till March.
- Automatic Champions League Qualification – Not Achieved. Was in the race till May.
- Win other prestigious trophies like FA Cup/UEFA CL – Not Achieved. Finished Runners-Up in Carling Cup.
- Development of Young Players – Achieved. Jack Wilshere and Wochiech Szczsney are first-team regulars now.
- Improve upon previous season – Not Achieved. Second worst season under Arsene Wenger
Overall Grade – 1/5.
How did they keep it away?
Almunia (2.5) – The Spanish veteran started just eight games this season, and showed exactly why the young Polish keepers in the squad are ahead in the pecking order. Almunia was a far-cry from the same goal-keeper who displaced Lehmann in the 2007-08 season with some fantastic keeping. When he was given the opportunity in the absence of most of the keepers in the league, he fared miserably, and the manager had to make way for the 41 year old Lehmann ahead of him. He is suffering from confidence and bad luck, and there is a very less possibility of the player returning back to his best days.
Lehmann (5) – The German was an emergency signing to cover up for Almunia when most of the keepers in the club were out injured. The former ‘Invincible’ performed admirably and passed on some much needed ‘experience/confidence’ to his young team-mates.
Fabianski (5) – The ‘other’ Pole in the team had a mixed season; he was quite phenomenal in patches, yet poor overall. Injuries have played an integral part in his season’s misery as well. With the development of his countryman in the team, he’ll certainly be second-choice next season.
Szczsney (8) – One of the biggest talking point of the season has to be the development of Woch. He is unusually talented and confident as far as his young age is concerned. Though there have been some goof-ups like the Carling-Cup Final, the Pole has been quite outstanding throughout the season. He has given the ‘shaky’ Arsenal defense the much-needed confidence boost. From here, the Pole can only improve; he is certainly a player to watch out for the future.
How selfish were they?
Eboue (3.5) – The Ivorian might have done some good things in the season, but the fans will most certainly remember him for the ‘ridiculous incident’ against Liverpool at The Emirates. When Arsenal were cruising with 5 milli-seconds left on the watch, Eboue ‘touched’ Lucas and almost closed Arsenal’s chances of winning the league this season. Apart from that incident, he has been very average, playing mostly during Sagna’s absence and not being employed at right wing as in previous seasons.
Gibbs (4.5) – The Englishman got a golden opportunity to make a mark this season, but failed to do so, with injuries to blame more than his form. During Clichy’s erratic form, he had his chance, but his feeble ankle didn’t help his cause. Defensively quite shaky, Kieran didn’t show any reason for Arsene to make him first-choice next season.
Vermaelen (5) – The biggest blow for Arsenal’s season was not having their most important Center Back for almost the entire season. The Belgian’s season got disrupted in September with an Achilles problem, and he could only recover to play a few games at the end when the title was already lost. No one would actually doubt if Arsenal would have done much better with the inspirational Vermaelen at the heart of the defense.
Squillaci (5.5) – Though Sabastean Squillaci was bought as a fourth-choice defender, thanks to Arsenal’s injury woes, the Frenchman had to play in a lot of matches. His slow pace and indecisiveness has cost the team quite a few points. With his experience and maturity, Arsene expected much more from Squillaci.
Clichy (6) – Another strange season for the French full-back ended with more glitches than ‘wonders’. Gael has been very consistent throughout the season, but his occasional concentration lapse have been very costly for Arsenal. He is yet to sign a new contract, and it remains to be seen if Arsene will hold onto his last ‘Invincible’ this summer.
Koscielny (6.5) – Though it was tough for a relatively unknown guy from a French League to come and make his mark straightaway, Koscielny did a fine job in his first season with Arsenal. He ground-work is very neat, as he hardly misses out on tackles. He needs to work on aerial balls , but with more experience at this top level, he can be a fantastic defender for the future.
Djourou (7.5) – The Swiss made a massive leap forward this season, proving why he has been missed in previous seasons. His aerial presence has been top-notch. He needs to work on his concentration level and pace, to put himself in the league of the best defenders in the league.
Sagna (8) – Quite easily the best defender in the team, Bac has been phenomenal with his consistency, delivering power-packed performances day in and day out. His team-mates need to pick a leaf out of his book as far as dedication and hard work is concerned.
How was the connectivity between defense and offense?
Denilson (1.5) – It has been a steady decline for the Brazilian from the top-class midfielder the he was in 2008 for the Gunners. He had recently mentioned in an interview how he had ‘given up’ eight months before the season was over, which clearly shows how ‘out-of-favor’ he is at the Emirates. He has most certainly finished his career at Arsenal.
Diaby (4.5) – The most tragic part of being an exceptional talent is that one needs to perform to live up to people’s expectations all the time. Abou Diaby, unfortunately spends most of every season in the medical room, and thereby fails to play a decent amount matches at a stretch. With the emergence of other young players in his position, his ‘need’ has greatly reduced in the team.
Ramsey (5) – Rambo’s return to football was announced with his match-winning goal against Manchester United. He has filled in quite well for the captain, and will only grow with every match he plays, in his path to complete recovery.
Rosicky (5) – The Czech captain didn’t find enough chances to prove his worth, but whenever he did get his opportunity, he failed to make a mark. Tomas has gone well past his ‘Borussia’ days, and it is unlikely he’ll be able to perform up-to that level again in his career. It won’t be surprising if the manager offloads Rosicky in this transfer window.
Song (6.5) – After the departures of Gilberto Silva, Diarra, Vieira and Flamini, Arsene Wenger had only one thing in his mind. He had to ‘make’ Alex Song the ultimate central defensive midfielder that his strategy demanded. Alex had a decent season, often being the savior in matches when the defenders needed to be bailed out. He was a big miss whenever he was out injured.
Cesc (7) – The fact that Cesc started only 22 games for the team shows how injury-prone the talisman has become due to excessive football at such an young age. Cesc had a very good season, but the team fails to replace his creativity when he is not around. Arsene’s biggest job this window will be to convince his captain that Arsenal can ‘actually’ challenge for the title and not pretend to do so.
Nasri (7) – Samir had a fantastic first half of the season, in the absence of Cesc; he even took over the arm-band and gave some unforgettable performances this season. But, after an injury in January, his comeback to form never happened, and he faded into mediocrity much to everybody’s surprise. He is another player Arsene needs to hold on to, but at this moment, it looks quite unlikely though.
Wilshere (9) – ‘Pick of the season’ Jack Wilshere played a total of 49 games for Arsenal this season. He has lived up to his expectations, taking up a new position, adjusting himself to the strategy employed by the manager. He has been exceptional with ball control, ‘holding-on-to-the-ball’ and first-touches. He will be a fine player for Arsenal in the future, and the young Englishman just needs to fine tune his ‘tackling’ skills.
How many did they score?
Vela (3.5) – Carlos Vela was involved in the ‘goal of the season‘ for Arsenal, in which 24 passes were exchanged before he scored the memorable goal. The Mexican was loaned to West Brom in the January Transfer Window, but he failed to impress even at The Hawthorns. Though he scored a crucial match-winner against old rivals, Wolves, Carlos didn’t take enough opportunities given to him. He will probably be loaned out yet again or sold before the next season starts.
Arshavin (6) – ‘Stats don’t lie’ may be a bit misleading for the diminutive Russian, as eleven assists and six goals doesn’t draw a true picture about him. For most parts of the season, he has looked quite disinterested and ineffective. In the later half of the season, he has increased his work ethic quite a lot and has quite made up for his lack of the same earlier in the season. Arshavin has played the most of games for Arsenal in the league, this season.
Bendtner (6) – Having played most of the season out of his position, the Dane has done quite well. If Arsene had employed the best header in the team as a center forward, it might have been a different story for the Gunners in ‘tough games’. Many believe that Nicolas has served his time at the club and he needs to move on for the satisfaction of both parties.
Chamakh (6) – Though Chamakh had a fantastic start to his career at Arsenal, he failed to find his shooting boots in the second half of the season. His poor form wasn’t helped much by the emergence and breath-taking form of Robin van Persie. The Moroccan is sure to get his chance next season if Arsene plans to change the formation.
Theo (6.5) – Theo Walcott scored 9 and assisted 7 in 28 games for the club this season, which looks like a very decent turnaround for a wide player. But, for a player of his caliber, these stats are not good enough. He has underperformed on many occasions and has failed to deliver the ‘killer balls’ whenever needed. Theo needs more matches under his belt before he can become a dependable winger or striker for the team.
van Persie (9) – 18 goals in 19 starts for the charismatic Dutchman is almost the highlight of his Arsenal career. If he stays fit for the team an entire season, he can be lethal. Unfortunately, he has never started more than 24 times in a season in the seven years for the club. van Persie needs to keep himself fit for the entirety of next season if Arsenal are to win some silverware.
Epic Highs of the Season
- Beating Barcelona in the Champions League at The Emirates
- Beating Manchester United in the league at The Emirates
- Beating Chelsea in the league at The Emirates
Epic Lows of the Season
- Losing to Spurs in the league at The Emirates after leading at half-time.
- Drawing against Newcastle United after being 4-0 up at St. James Park.
- Losing to Birmingham City in the Carling Cup Final.
Best Player Moment/s of the Season
Samir Nasri against Fulham
Arshavinnnnnnnn….. against Barcelona
Worst Player Moment/s of the Season
Player/s of the Season
To be shared between Robin van Persie and Jack Wilshere
Manager’s Report Card
3 League titles, 4 FA Cups and 4 Community Shields are honors that Arsene Wenger keeps in his cabinet, but unfortunately none of those came in the last six years of his reign at the club. If we analyse the season in its entirety, Arsene has made many ‘tactical’ mistakes which has led Arsenal to slip up in the race for the title. Apart from that, his obduracy in bringing in experienced and ‘if-needed’ costly players to fill in important voids in the team, has heavily cost the Gunners. If Arsene is to win some silverware next season, there are many things that needs to change at The Arsenal.