When Arsene Wenger’s men successfully lifted their second consecutive FA Cup at the terraces of Wembley last Saturday, it was certainly a significant scene for the many present Arsenal fans.
No longer can the Gunners be labelled the Premier League’s biggest underachievers in the silverware department, for as the last two seasons have clearly displayed, the North Londoners are now well and truly back on track when it comes to winning domestic accolades.
2014/15 could therefore easily be seen as an impressive campaign for Arsenal. New signing Alexis Sanchez made an instant impact in front of goal this term, Wenger’s side have once again qualified for the Champions League in traditional style – and in landing their second FA Cup trophy in only two years – it seems that the Emirates faithful have had a great deal to cheer about recently in comparison to seasons past.
As it remains truly hard to please every fan involved with your club however, Arsenal’s recent triumphs seemingly haven’t been enough to satisfy some sections of the Gunners fan-base ahead of the 2015/16 campaign.
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So then – have Arsene Wenger’s side witnessed an undisputed season of success in 2014/15, or has this past campaign simply been another year of ultimate disappointment for Arsenal in the grand scheme of things?
In eventually lifting the FA Cup at the end of the season, Arsenal now find themselves well on their way to proving their many doubters in this country wrong.
The Gunners famously went nine long years without securing a trophy before their recent success in England’s illustrious cup competition, and although the shackles of such a burden initially proved tough to shake off, Arsene Wenger now oversees an improved atmosphere in and around the Emirates as a result of his side’s triumphs.
Arsenal also gave a pretty good account of themselves in the Premier League this year as well. Despite the succession of ill-timed injuries afflicting key members of Wenger’s current squad throughout the season, the Gunners still managed a third place finish – one place ahead of Manchester United after they spent crazy amounts in the summer, and beaten only by the financially boosted likes of Chelsea and Manchester City in first and second.
Both Manuel Pellegrini and Jose Mourinho have massive squads these days thanks to the inflated financial excess going on behind the scenes at each of their respective clubs. Arsenal simply don’t operate in the same ball park when it comes to resources, so to have done as well as they have this term does certainly seem admirable at the very least.
With Champions League football secured for another season at the Emirates, as well as Arsenal becoming the new home of the FA Cup in recent years, the Gunners faithful do have a lot to be proud of looking back on 2014/15. Their squad is growing stronger with every passing transfer window and Arsene Wenger seemingly remains as hungry as ever with future goals on his mind.
Having said that however, such a perspective simply doesn’t account for the fact that Arsenal no longer command their once untouchable status that came all so easily at the club. Because the likes of Chelsea and Manchester City have taken the lead in the title race recently, the Gunners are undeniably slipping behind as it stands, with the Premier League’s smaller clubs no longer approaching their matches against Arsenal with the same fear that they once did.
As troublesome as injuries prove to be in football, it has been an ongoing problem for so long at the Emirates now, it really is hard to see why nothing has been done about it. Signing one marquee name a year certainly bodes well for shirt sells – but does such a tactic address Arsenal’s increasingly shrinking squad size and overall lack of depth? – No.
In crashing out of the Champions League rather embarrassingly to Monaco this season, it has become clear that the Gunners are not as mentally strong as they need to be if they want to continue winning titles. The FA Cup is a great achievement for sure, but in this rapidly globalized era of modern day football competition, the Champions League is ultimately where the real achievements can be found.
Unless Arsenal start showing some consistent fight for the title throughout the whole season and finally make some real progress in Europe sooner or later, Wenger’s side could regrettably fall by the way-side if they’re not careful.
2014/15 has therefore been a good season for the Gunners, but with no dramatic signs of improvement being made at the Emirates in truth, it has been a campaign largely defined by treading water above all else. 2015/16 could nevertheless turn out to be a promising year for Arsenal with a few certain tweaks this summer.