Saturday, 31 May 2014

2013/14: Arsenal's season blogged

Before I begin this, I have a confession to make.

I'll admit that it was Gunnerblog that inspired me to adopt this feature in my blog. It seemed like a good idea to use it for my blog as well, and even though I know that I didn't write in the first two months of the departed season, I'm still eager to try this out. I'll be using some Arseblog and Gunnerblog extracts to highlight the key moments from June to September, after which all the other excerpts will be from my blog.

Here we go!

Time for club to prove words are not hollow | July 7, 2013 [Arseblog] 
"If there’s been confusion down the last couple of years about whether it’s money we haven’t spent or we haven’t spent because we don’t have the money, that’s well and truly clarified now. He’s spoken about his ambition, about Kroenke’s ambition, and put it up to the manager to use the funds available. If we don’t, it gives perfect clarity to the reason why.

The key question is whether Arsene’s modus operandi will change with it. While I don’t think you’ll ever stop him trying to unearth the gems and hidden talents, there’s the very real capability of going out and buying established talent at a level beyond what we’re used to. It’s one thing saying it, it’s another thing entirely to do it." 

Sanogo signs, Djourou leaves, Bender bid rejected | July 2, 2013 [Arseblog]
"He’s not the signing who will make a statement, who will fire us to trophies, and guarantee goals. Sanogo is someone who can replace Chamakh and Park in the squad, and the reality is we don’t have a young striker coming up through the ranks who’s ready for that at the moment. As such I’ve got no issue with his youth, his nationality, his price tag and hopefully he’s left his injury woes behind him." 

All striking eggs in Suarez basket as Higuain signs for Napoli | July 25, 2013 [Arseblog] 
"When you consider that Jovetic (with a far inferior goalscoring record) went for around £25m, Negredo cost £20m, and Cavani cost £55m, £30m for Higuain is nowhere near bad value or anything like it. Sometimes you’ve got pay what the market dictates, but clearly the manager wants Luis Suarez and all our striking eggs are in that particular basket right now."

Opening day preview: New season - no new faces | August 17, 2013 [Gunnerblog]
"I can’t hide my disappointment: this summer has been embarrassing. Our bizarre decision to declare our flush hand at the start of the window seemed hubristic at the time, and has proved so since. Arsenal have lurched from one dead end deal to another. The likes of Clement Grenier, Gonzalo Higuain and Luis Gustavo have all escaped our grasp. Luis Suarez seems certain to join that ever-expanding list.

If Arsenal fail to beat Aston Villa today, the Emirates will resound with the boos from fans who will understandably feel they have been misled. They were promised statements of intent and a change in policy. Instead they’ve suffered more of the same penny-pinching and indecision."

Arsenal 1-3 Aston Villa: Disaster | August 18, 2013 [Arseblog]
"Yesterday was the direct result of the summer. Sure, you can’t legislate for a referee having a nightmare, but you can put yourself in a better position to be able to cope if that happens. At the end of the day, there’s no transfer official making decisions which stop us spending money. We have, deliberately, chosen not to spend any money this summer.

At this point you can’t convince me that any business we end up doing is anything other than reactive. Oh shit, we’ve lost a game in a slapstick manner, bit of an injury crisis, better go buy some players. That’s no way to run a football club. We had the chance to be proactive. We make a complete and utter mess of it. Compared to the summer when it would have been seen as a signal of intent and ambition, it’s now the polar opposite."

Arsenal 2-0 Fenerbache: One job done, now do another | August 28, 2013 [Arseblog]
"For me, however, the need for signings is the same as it was before this game, before qualification, before the start of the season. The group of players we have has shown themselves to be capable, willing, determined and resolute in the face of intense pressure following that opening day defeat to Villa. If we buy the right players, and enough of them, we might just surprise some people this season."

An exciting investment opportunity | August 30, 2013 [Arseblog]
"At this stage, Flamini’s welcome and very handy because of the state of our squad. He’s experienced, versatile, will get stuck in for us, but let’s not pretend this was anything other than a bit of convenience for Arsene Wenger and a case of being in the right place at the right time for Flamini.

If the sum total of our summer is a freebie from Ligue 2, and a freebie Flamini, then it’s not unreasonable to be concerned that we might fall short in the final days of the window."

Arsenal 1... £100m nil | September 2, 2013 [Arseblog]
"We’ve just shattered the hearts of the tiny Totts who were clearly hoping to use a derby win to soften the blow of announcing Bale’s departure to Madrid. Instead, they got beaten and then had to tell the world they’re losing their best player. We made that worse for them, and it’s fantastic.

Of course, that doesn’t negate our need to do business today. Arsene Wenger said afterwards he might have a ‘good surprise’ in the transfer market, and last night various reports said a deal was in the offing for Real Madrid’s Mesut Özil. He’s just one of the players linked with us and if it’s true it would be a staggeringly exciting signing, one almost worth waiting all summer for. Almost!" 

Mesut Ozil: A perfect signing in a far from perfect window | September 3, 2013 [Gunnerblog]

"Like the signing of Mathieu Flamini, there is the whiff of opportunism about Arsenal’s Ozil raid. And yet I couldn’t care less. When an opportunity like this arises, you simply have to take it.

Ozil is probably is out of our league – and that’s precisely what makes him such a thrilling capture. Only by signing players of that ilk will we drag ourselves back to the top of the English game.

I hope my delight about Ozil’s arrival is clear, because I have to couch it with the fact that his signing alone does not transform this window in to a success. Arsenal failed to recruit in several other key positions. In fact, had Ozil not become unexpectedly available at the last moment than this window could have ended in disaster."

Sunderland 1-3 Arsenal | Ramsey shines again [Arseblog]
"His control and pass for Giroud’s opener was brilliant. He seemed to click almost straight away with Ramsey and Wilshere in particular, he wanted the ball all the time, created some fantastic chances, and all the while he looked like a guy that wasn’t fully fit. It was a debut that augurs very well for the future."

And now me!

Great time to be a Gooner, eh? | October 2, 2013
"We're currently on the top of what I consider to be the best football league of the world. The talk of finally ending our long awaited trophy drought has been on the tip of the tongue of every Gooner, and while I certainly agree that the chances of us winning it are higher than before, pardon me for wanting to intervene and bring a bit of a reality check to all Gooners around.

Arsene Wenger has had an unsuccessful summer. He hasn't fulfilled the primary priority of bringing in a world-class striker, which has left us only with Olivier Giroud. While Giroud's movement, control, hold up play and finishing has increased markedly, people forget that he is still far from the class of Robin van Persie. Is Giroud the kind of guy who would change the face of the game with one swing of his foot?

I'm not saying that this season is destined for disaster. I'm just saying that Arsenal fans are expecting too much of the thin squad that we currently possess."

Arsenal 2-0 Napoli: A pleasant surprise | October 3, 2013
"In the game against Swansea, this team's defence seemed to have turned a corner. And against Napoli, the team's defence was as assured as it could be. We restricted a quality team to only one shot on target, which wasn't even remotely threatening to Wojciech Szczesny. It was a cracking performance from a team that seem to have gone on another level today, by facing a top team in Europe and making them look like kittens."

Mathieu Flamini: The Unsung Hero | October 10, 2013
"Flamini is rapidly becoming one of my favourite players at this club, and I would hate to see something as trivial as media pressure affecting his performances. Mark my words, Flamini is the only one-of-a-kind player at this club, and that alone could make him the signing of the season."

A thought on Arsenal's injury crisis | October 13, 2013
"The only player in our squad last season who could be classified as a world-class player was Santi Cazorla. Our only world class player played EVERY SINGLE PREMIER LEAGUE GAME of last season. That is like, the definition of overplaying, which hardly makes it surprising that he is injured right now. If Arsene Wenger overplays his world class players so much with such poor man management, the players are likely to succumb to injuries.

Needless to say, I have no faith in Wenger's man management skills, and at this rate, I expect Ozil and Giroud to be out for long term and Arsenal fans failing to see Wenger's fault in it."

Arsenal 1-2 Dortmund: Cracks beginning to show? | October 25, 2013
"I'm having serious doubts over Wenger's tactical capability after I saw that he didn't make any change to our strategy in the game. I had stressed earlier that Dortmund would be a difficult matchup, and winning dirty should be the order of the day. However, instead of facing facts, Wenger didn't do anything to the formation, the tactics or anything, and thus witnessed a repeat of the first half."

Palace 0-2 Arsenal: Below par, but who cares? | October 27, 2013
"The brilliance of the Arsenal team as a whole to contain a Crystal Palace assault quite calmly was a welcome sight to see. The old Arsenal, filled with teenagers and inexperience, would've crumbled at this game. They would've probably sulked over the red card and screwed up the match, leaving Wenger to hunt for excuses in the post-match conference. It is said that title winning teams have a trait of grinding results when things aren't going their way. I'm glad we showed that trait today."

Arsenal 2-0 Liverpool: Rosic-key to our success | November 4, 2013
"A simply stunning result where we maintained good control over the game and found the goals through convincing and effective play. And while we deserved to win this game, I'm a bit surprised as to how many Gooners quickly forgot how easily we could've lost it.

I just don't feel that most of our back four deserves credit for our win, because they were pretty below par. Suarez and Sturridge were finding spaces and causing constant problems for us, and we wouldn't have kept our clean sheet if Szczesny and Sagna weren't at their reliable best.

Sagna - I have no idea why he hasn't been given a contract yet. He played his 250th game in an Arsenal shirt with remarkable consistency once again. One of his few flaws - crossing - seem to be taken care of at the moment. He came back from two long term injuries and a disaster of a last season to continue being one of the best right backs in the country."

Dortmund 0-1 Arsenal: A crucial, memorable victory | November 7, 2013
"Tonight was when I realized what being a Gooner was all about. It's not about trophies, it's not about success. It's not only about applauding Mesut Ozil and it's certainly not about turning your back on the club in the wake of embarrassing cup exits. Being an Arsenal supporter is a way of life.

After 8 long years, our time seems to be finally approaching. Savour it, because who knows how long it is going to last for?"

United 1-0 Arsenal: Let's be honest | November 11, 2013
"Robin van Persie's header was a clear example how an out-and-out, world class striker can make a difference between two quality sides. What's even more painful is that he could've been the one who might've made the difference for us, had he still been in Arsenal colours."

My worries on Mesut Ozil and Aaron Ramsey | November 14, 2013
"Ramsey can be called decent, but no more than that. The goals that he scored against Swansea, Norwich and Liverpool were most notably goals that had a certain amount of selfishness in them. Don't get me wrong - sometimes you need to take matters in your own hands, but Ramsey is hogging up the goals rather than looking for better options.

The absence of Theo Walcott, Lukas Podolski and Oxlade-Chamberlain means that our team has had to adjust a lot and play in different positions. I'm constantly noticing a lack of movement in the final third, which would make Ozil difficult to find a man. I know that Ozil has really good vision, but shouldn't we give him something to see?"

Arsenal 2-0 Southampton: Back on track | November 24, 2013
"We've played 12 games now, so you can hardly categorize this part of the year as the "start of the season." We've faced difficult opposition in the form of Tottenham, Liverpool, Man United and Southampton, 3 of whom we defeated. We're 4 points clear of Liverpool and Chelsea, temporarily 8 points clear of United and the Spuds, and 9 points above Man City. I think it's finally safe to say that we're title contenders now."

Cardiff 0-3 Arsenal: Positives all around | December 2, 2013
"It capped another eye-catching display from the Welshman, who is rapidly becoming one of my many favourite players at the club. He is currently comfortably Arsenal's top goalscorer this season, which is simply magnificent considering his assigned deep midfield role. He's constantly reminding me of Frank Lampard this year, and resembling THE complete midfielder."

Man City 6-3 Arsenal: A humbling crash to reality | December 15, 2013
"I don't care if he's currently the face of Arsenal, I don't care if he's our X-factor or our Joker in the Pack, Ozil simply cannot pull off stunts like that. We've had enough talented players who haven't shown enough commitment and desire on the pitch in the past as it is, just ask Nasri, Arshavin or Adebayor. In this current Arsenal lineup, we have very few players who don't have the required amount of determination for the club. It's frustrating that our one out-and-out world class player, Mesut Ozil, is one of them.

Mertesacker's reaction to Ozil's disgraceful act was apt, and it's time that we - like the BFG - stop turning a blind eye to his falling levels of determination, just because he got here for £42m."

My predictions on Arsenal's 2013/14 campaign | December 19, 2013

Premier League: 3rd

"I seriously doubt that Wenger will buy a striker at all in the transfer window. If he indeed doesn't, then I shall solely blame him for the inevitable collapse that's certain to follow. That's why I feel that Chelsea will win the Premier League, with Manchester City finishing second and Arsenal a close third."

Champions League: Round Of 16

"I see barely any way for Arsenal to get past Bayern, I'm afraid. I'm grimly confident that Wenger will refuse the chances to get in "top top quality" or whatever, which will be a catalyst in bottling our Premier League lead and losing against Bayern."

FA Cup:

"This is one competition where we don't need any signings to win it. However, we need to take this chance seriously, and instead of playing rag tag promising players, Wenger needs to straighten up and play strong starting XIs in these matches. I think that Wenger's insistence to play reserve players against a mediocre side is what's going to cost us another trophy, with a side like Swansea or Norwich possibly knocking us out in a shock one-niller. 

It doesn't take a genius to figure out that the month of January may just define our season. It's the month which provides a window to buy a striker we so require, and a couple of FA Cup fixtures which we can either progress in or get knocked out of. In addition, if we string some good results in the Premier League, we might just set a good tone for the rest of the season."

January's here - Don't expect any arrivals | January 1, 2014
"While any striker - whether a marquee or a decent one - would be fine with me, I am quietly confident that we aren't going to see any additions to the squad, apart from a promising midfielder, of course. I absolutely have no faith in a manager who has failed to get a striker when it was necessary in January 2013 and August 2013 to use his money wisely now. You can say one thing for sure, though: Arsene will always look at the cheapest option first.

My judgement on Wenger is simple: if he wants the title, he'll get a decent or a world-class striker. If he's content with top four, we won't see any movement in January. Period."

Arsenal 2-0 Cardiff: Bendtner's heroics mask the need for a support striker | January 3, 2014
"I know that in the long run, a player like Bendtner has to be replaced with a more reliable one, but that's not to say that I won't miss his personality, which seems more likeable than irritating now.

However, we need to live in a realistic world, and Bendtner cannot provide good backup for Giroud in that world. News that Bendtner suffered a sprained ankle and is set to be out for weeks can actually be good news in disguise."

Arsenal 2-0 Spurs: A morale booster | January 6, 2014
Serge Gnabry is a wonderful prospect...
This guy has everything, really. Vision, pace, passing and even finishing. I'm not sure if he has the stamina for the rigours of the Premier League yet, but he certainly has the skill. It's a wise decision by Wenger to use him sparingly, unlike heap pressure on him like Manchester United's Adnan Januzaj.

Arsene may have lost faith in Lukas...
Is there a rift between the manager and Podolski? It's a possibility, but I don't think that's the case. In my opinion, Wenger just doesn't think that Podolski is good enough for a starting berth at Arsenal. People would argue that he's just recovering from a long injury, and that Wenger is just easing him in, getting him game time. If so, why not get him on for Rosicky instead of getting Ozil for Arteta, especially when Ozil himself was recovering from an injury and the game was already done and dusted?

Theo injured for the rest of the season: a signing is imperative now | January 7, 2014

"However, we've long since learnt that there's no use crying over spilt milk. In a way, it's better that we've learnt about Theo's injury now in January, when we have the time and money to get in a player.

Do I still believe that Arsene Wenger will not get a forward? I don't think I do anymore. I don't think that even Wenger can be so blind to not get in a striker or a winger. However, Walcott's injury means that nothing less than a world-class striker would rejuvenate our team. While I think that Wenger would go for a convenient purchase of a half-decent player late in the window, I pray the manager has realized how Theo's injury has changed everything."

Thoughts on Arsenal's transfer policy | January 9, 2014
"Some would say that getting deals done late to save financial losses is clever. I say it's cheap, and it's definitely putting money over football. If you're serious about winning a trophy this season, you would get in a quality striker early in the window - possibly by now - so that he integrates well within the team and performs well during the run-in.

Why does a player need to be injured for Wenger to realize that that area needs strengthening? Why didn't he make enquiries of a player before Giroud, Bendtner and Walcott got injured? Why do we Arsenal supporters have to pray for strikers to get injured so that Wenger realizes what the whole footballing world knows - that the team needs a forward?"

Southampton 2-2 Arsenal: Call for the Cavalry | January 29, 2014
"Another sickening blow - aside from Theo Walcott's injury is - that Aaron Ramsey will miss another month of football due to aggravating his calf injury. Forgive me when I say that this is a blessing in disguise, but it seems that Wenger's hand is forced on the transfer market owing to Rambo's injury.

As an Arsenal supporter, the key to a good deadline day is low expectations. Don't get your hopes up until you see the player in question in an Arsenal jersey (even on the Draxler thing, ESPECIALLY on the Draxler thing)."

Wenger gambles on our season | February 1, 2014
"I know that Kim Kallstrom is supposed to be a short-term fix, but I doubt that he would be necessary over the course of 4 months. In reality, I have a strong feeling that Kim would be obsolete after a month, because that's when Flamini, Ramsey, Wilshere and Rosicky would return.

Look, the season isn't dead yet. We still have the FA Cup to look forward to, and can entertain ourselves over two legs against Munich. However, one would be optimistic - if not foolish - to expect more from this season."

Arsenal 2-0 Palace: Our Ox on the field carries the burden this time | February 3, 2014
"This is why I feel that players like Wilshere, Rosicky and now Oxlade-Chamberlain will have a very good second half of the season. Unlike a majority of the squad, the above mentioned players are ones who are prepared to make electrifying runs and press the opposition higher up the pitch, rather than sit back and soak pressure."

Liverpool 5-1 Arsenal: Worse than the 8-2 | February 9, 2014
"In my opinion, it was Bould's coaching and Mesut Ozil's signing that had revolutionized Arsenal's form over the past 5 months. Now that the gloss of Ozil's buy has worn off and a suspicion of Wenger overruling Bould in the training ground has arisen, I'm actually terrified to see what is to become of us in the upcoming matches."

Fabianski announces summer departure - beginning of an exodus? | February 10, 2014
"Once again I emphasize - this season may be one of the last times that we witness an Arsenal team challenging for the title. I am scared for the future, I really am. It seems to me that the scene is set for heartbreak at the end of the campaign, and an exodus is to follow. Wenger will only buy players sufficient enough for qualifying for the CL in the summer, which would lead to another tug-of-war with Tottenham Hotspur for fourth place."

Arsenal 0-0 United: Adjust your sights for the remainder of the campaign | February 14, 2014
"I badly want this team of all teams to win the EPL. However, when everyone knew that we needed a striker and Wenger refused to buy one (not failed, REFUSED), that was when we lost our chance. All that hard work done by a plethora of honest, dedicated players like Szczesny, Mertesacker, Ramsey, Flamini and Giroud was laid waste by a blind manager who cares about his job more than our title hopes."

A case to defend Olivier Giroud | February 26, 2014
"What Giroud needs is motivation and rest. He has shown us from time to time again that he will perform when rested or faced with the threat of losing his starting berth. Not to mention that he still works really hard even after being completely jaded due to gross overplaying by Wenger. With a proper balance between fitness and form, I'm sure Giroud can perform much better than he currently does."

Stoke 1-0 Arsenal: Proof that the title is lost | March 2, 2014
"Facts: We registered 2 shots on target against a team fighting against relegation. We were outclassed in possession and tactics by Mark Hughes. A team with Walters and Crouch defeated a team with Cazorla, Podolski, Ozil and Rosicky. And it wasn't a one-off; anyone watching the game knows that. The loss was deserved.

This isn't a collapse - it's the result of tired legs who are demoralized after not getting the resources that they wanted in January."

Arsenal 4-1 Everton: Wembley beckons, bitches! | March 8, 2014
"It's impossible to not be proud of the players. It was a massive occasion, the whole season was at stake and boos were certain to follow if we lost. The FA Cup, let's face it, was and is the only way we can transform this season into a success. And we're bang on track so far."

Spurs 0-1 Arsenal: Scrappy, but I'll take it... for now | March 17, 2014
"Winning ugly is a trait of champions. However, making a habit of it is not. Winning ugly is what Manchester City did against Hull, or what we did against Southampton (H) and Crystal Palace (A). Barely going past one of the worst Tottenham sides in half a decade is not a sign of champions, I'm sorry. If we dare to repeat the same performance against Mourinho, I promise you we'll get hammered worse than Manchester United did against Liverpool."

Contract updates + dissecting Wenger's injury comments | March 19, 2014
"There really couldn't be a better time for Arsenal to announce Wenger's renewal...
It's getting clear now that the board are rightly stalling over Wenger's contract. I have no doubt that Wenger wants to stay at Arsenal, but I'm having doubts that the board want to keep him. Either the board want to see how the season ends before making hasty decisions, or Wenger's holding the club to ransom (for a better deal) or there already is a mutual agreement in place regardless of how the season ends... I really don't know what's happening behind the scenes."

Chelsea 6-0 Arsenal: Expected disaster | March 23, 2014
"At any other club, I don't think that any other manager has overseen so many disasters, yet managed to stay at the club. Yet there seems to be a soft spot for the once invincible Wenger, only because he offers Champions League football and decade-old memories.

For the first time in years, I wouldn't mind if Arsenal fail if it means the end of Arsene Wenger. He built a wonderful legacy but is slowly destroying it, and I can see no way back now. I pray that other Arsenal supporters have realized that as well, so they can join the real Arsenal fanbase and show Wenger the door before 5th place starts to become a trophy.

Happy 1000th, Arsene."

Arsenal 2-2 Swansea: There is no hope | March 26, 2014
"Hope is everything one needs in life. There should at least be something to believe in that would egg one on to optimism, to belief, to success, to glory. At Arsenal, after witnessing the manager's ineptitude rub off on the players, I must concede. There is no hope."

Finally, some hope. | March 30, 2014
"“Yes [I will sign it], unless I decide otherwise. I have told you many times we have had no time to sit down and do it. Nothing, not going anywhere, don’t worry for that. But I want to have a feeling coming out of the season that that I have done the maximum for the club.”

That, in turn, makes it clear that his future rests solely on the FA Cup. It's a win-win. Lose the FA Cup, and Wenger leaves the club for good. Win the FA Cup, and we can end the trophy drought and instill happiness among millions around the globe."

Everton, Wenger, Cygan and my Wigan wish | April 7, 2014
"Let's leave speculation aside and look at cold, hard facts that no Arsenal supporter would disagree on.

  • Wenger and his staff don't know why his players keep getting injured, he said as much.
  • Wenger sat with his chin propped on the touchline while Arsenal lost comprehensively to Liverpool, Everton and Chelsea.
  • Wenger publicly said he doesn't know why Arsenal collapsed at Stamford Bridge.
  • Wenger did not buy a striker in January after Ramsey and Theo got injured, and after Juventus publicly put Vucinic on the transfer list on January 29th. Our striking options, as of today, are Giroud, Bendtner and Yaya Sanogo.
  • Wenger is paid 6.5 million a year under a supposedly financially constrained Arsenal.

Glaring blunders in one season - aren't these sackable offences in itself? Would any other club tolerate that? For a year I can understand, maybe even two, but for 7 consecutive years?

Wenger should go, I realized that this time last year around the Blackburn and Bayern losses. I have long since moved on, good runs and the team's toughness did not delude me. After our 3-0 hammering, it increasingly looks like Wigan will either end or prolong Wenger's reign."

Arsenal vs Wigan: Match Preview | April 12, 2014
"If you think rationally, the FA Cup does much more for Arsenal than just provide something tangible for this season:

CASE 1: We win the FA Cup, get the trophyless run off our backs and provide consolation to a season that admittedly should have provided much more. We finish in the top four, and the manager stays on.

CASE 2: We lose today, yet make the top four. Wenger leaves regardless.

CASE 3: We win today but lose the final. However, we still make the top four. In this case, I reckon the manager will stay.

CASE 4: We win today but lose the final. To add to that, we miss out on the Champions League. Heartbreak, but Wenger definitely leaves.

CASE 5: We lose today and screw up top four. Let's not think about that."

Arsenal 1-1 Wigan [4-2 on penalties]: Worrying performance, wonderful result | April 14, 2014
"However, that's the trouble. Barely scrapping past Wigan is not a sign of a progressive team. In all honesty, we really were lucky to have gotten into the final. If we want to fulfill our objective of finishing fourth and winning the FA Cup, big short-term changes are needed.

Knowing Wenger, I don't think we'll see any changes. If we do get fourth, it would be down to scrappy victories against mediocre opposition. At a time when we were supposed to be challenging for the title, we're looking uncertain over fourth. What a mess."

Arsenal 3-1 West Ham: Fourth place trophy recovered | April 17, 2014
"Ramsey makes us tiki-taka...
As soon as he came on the team felt alive, reminiscent of how we were in the first half of the season. His mere presence just changed everything, including the scoreline, where he gave a sublime assist to Podolski's clincher. I'd feel much more comfortable about the FA Cup Final if Ramsey were properly fit."

Arsenal 1-0 West Brom: Goodbye Sagna? | May 5, 2014
"As the players went through the customary lap of appreciation, one chant in the Emirates Stadium rang in chorus, above all others:

"We want you to stay, we want you to stay! Bacary Sagna, we want you to stay!"

Who could argue with that? I still haven't ruled out the possibility that Sagna will stay if we win the FA Cup. From time to time again he's spoken about his dream being to watch Arsenal "compete", and winning a trophy at long last would certainly suffice that. Does Sagna's future rest on the FA Cup? I think so, but I'm not sure. We'll see."

Norwich 0-2 Arsenal: Are you happy with fourth? | May 12, 2014
"What I want next season is for Arsenal to compete in the Premier League and the Champions League. If we don't win it then I'd be sad, but at least I'd know that we'd be on the right track. It would provide hope and a good foundation for the future.

Whatever happens, I don't want this 'flattering to deceive' nonsense again. I don't want the season to be a predictable collapse, foreseen a day after the transfer window ends. I don't want the club to go meekly out of the Champions League and fall short in the EPL. I want competitiveness, right from the first day till the last.

Win the FA Cup, get the deals done early, listen to the experts, and it might just happen, Wenger. Come on."

FA Cup Final Preview | May 16, 2014
"We really should be winning this, but I think we've seen enough of Arsenal to know it isn't a given we will. It's almost definite we'll make hot water out of it, yet I don't care. As long as the final result is in our favour, I don't CARE.

I don't know what will happen tomorrow, but I know there will be tears at the end of it. Whether it's tears of joy or of sorrow, that's up to Arsenal to decide.

Geez. What's left to say? Come on Arsenal."

Arsenal 3-2 Hull (aet): Hands down, best moment of my life |  May 22, 2014

"THIS is what football is all about, I can't believe I have to point it out. It’s not about passing off bank balances, stadiums and Champions League qualifications as trophies. It’s about actually going out there and winning silverware, triumphing in the face of adversity and ridicule and returning something to the fans.

Even though my opinions on Wenger will not dwindle, I felt happy to see him lift the trophy. I wouldn’t say he deserved it, given all the rash decisions he made during the past decade. However, even though my mind hates him, my heart loves him. It felt great watching him lift the trophy and end the wait. And let’s face it, the day we won the FA Cup was a day for the heart.

I’m an emotionless, stone faced guy, but football is a place where my emotions tend to leak out. No, I don’t believe that winning the cup will be the beginning of our glory days, nor do I believe that it will transform Wenger for the better. However, for once, I’m not worrying about the future and instead, focusing on the present.

And the present, as Freddy Ljungberg would call it, is fucking excellent."


Wow, what a season. The end really ensured we finished out on a high. Even so, as I said after the Premier League season ended, I would love it if Arsenal went out there and competed for major honours all the way, this time around.

Until then let's raise a toast to Arsenal's 2013/14 season, one which began with such catastrophe but ended with our best season in six years.

P.S. Also read:

Arsenal Player Ratings thus far | January 27, 2014

Arsenal vs Palace: Match Preview | February 2, 2014

One life, one love. And it's Arsenal. | February 14, 2014

Arsene Wenger: The Professor who lost the race against time | March 5, 2014

My dream Arsenal: one bereft of Arsene Wenger | March 24, 2014

As the days go by, Klopp seems more and more perfect for Arsenal | April 10, 2014

A truthful Gooner quits the club + 2014/15 predictions | May 1, 2014

2013/14: End of season awards

-Santi (Follow me on twitter: @ArsenalBlogz )