Arsenal star Petr Cech has cited injuries as the reason behind their indifferent campaign.
The Gunners head into the last game of the season against Aston Villa third on the table, and despite already being guaranteed a Champions League spot, Arsene Wenger’s men will be looking for three points to have a chance of catching London rivals Tottenham Hotspur in second.
However, the season will go down as something of a failure, with Arsenal unable to take advantage of the other big teams stuttering in the league this season, as Leicester City shocked the English top flight to finish as champions.
But Cech believes the trophy would have been in their hands if it wasn’t for injuries, with the likes of Santi Cazorla, Alexis Sanchez, and Francis Coquelin missing huge chunks of the campaign.
“It was a very strange season in a way. If you look at the number of injuries we had, it is not a big number compared to previous years or compared to other clubs. It’s not a big difference but unfortunately for us, every time we’ve had an injury, it’s been long-term,” he is quoted the Daily Star
“We had a great squad at the start of the season. Danny was coming back, Jack was coming back, and it was a very strong group. Unfortunately, Jack got injured right before the start of the campaign, Danny had the same problem, Tomas had the same problem, and these were all long-term injuries. Santi and Alex became long-term injuries too.
“If you have so many important players out with long-term injuries, it does give a chance to everybody else, but it can hurt you at certain times. If you have seven games in 21 days and your opponent has had six days off to prepare, you don’t have the advantage of rotating players.”
The former Chelsea goalkeeper went on to add that he believes the team can bounce back and be a force next season.
“I thought we did so well most of the time to be able to cope with that, but unfortunately in the end we lacked a bit of energy in February and March when we dropped points,” added the goalkeeper.
“This is where the difference was made. Overall, it’s been a good season, not one you would look back on and call a brilliant season, but there were a lot of positives and things to build on.
“Hopefully we can step up and have a great season next year.”