Morning morning one and all and welcome to the end of season blog.
Given that this site is run by a few bloggers, all clamouring to have their say at the end of this season, we thought we’d do a collaborative effort on today’s blog. Ben and myself have therefore split our blog like the proverbial atom, so today’s instalment has two views, not just one. Double you’re money!
So, on to my two penneth worth…
Yesterday started with bright sunshine beaming down on London. With the final weekend of the season in full swing, a quick mosey around Twitter showed two things: the nerves of fans, as gooners worldwide counted down until kick off, and the party atmosphere building, as pictures of fans going to the ground dressed as chickens and other such caricatures gave the final week somewhat of a carnival atmosphere.
I’m of no doubt that the carnival party at Middle Eastlands would have been more fervent than anywhere else yesterday, but I care as much about City and their celebrations as I do about the price of peanut butter. I hate peanut butter by the way.
My focus was 100% on what Arsenal needed. Three points against The Baggies on their turf to secure third spot. That was what was required. Ignore what was happening along the Seven Sisters Road, Fulham were never going to do us any favours, instead it was all about how we would react.
And so to the Emirates did The Management and I travel. Through into the depths of London from West to North, and out at the home of football – the game live in the Club Level section of The Emirates Stadium. There must have been around a thousand of us in the stadium, and the atmosphere was so tense you could have cut it with a knife.
The Management and I took to our seats for the first half, and the kick off was greeted with a hushed and every silence. The increased tension further enhanced by the lack of sound or commentary. Quite why I don’t know. Anyway, as the game kicked off, and the hearts of gooners in our home ground rose up into our mouths, we were made to wait just four minutes before celebrating. An innocuous ball back to debutant deputy Marton Fulop looking to be covered, except he decided that he didn’t like the idea of kicking into touch, and instead wanted to let the ball roll under his foot and into the box. Unfortunately for him, he banked on a lack of red and white presence in the vicinity, a luxury he was ill afforded from Benayoun who nicked the ball off him and touched into an empty net.
Cue rapturous applause.
If any Arsenal fan thought this might be easier than we thought at that stage, they would soon be bought back down to earth with the cold hard kipper to the face of reality. By the time the clock hit 20 minutes we were 2-1 down with the kind of smash and grab goals that no fan wants to be on the end of. First Shane Long, put through (in an offside position) by Morrison, and then Dorrans volleyed in from inside the D. On both counts there were examples of some poor defending, but we can feel more than a little aggrieved with the first goal in particular. It was unsurprising that, in a season of consistently shocking refereeing (the worst season by far since I’ve been watching), yet another mistake was made.
So with 20 minutes now consigned to history and 70 remaining, many drab faces looked on nervingly inside the Emirates. And I have to say that up until Santos’ equaliser on 30 minutes, it didn’t look like much was going right for us. The passing rhythm didn’t quite seem to be there, and it looked as though we were being treated to a carbon copy of last weeks game at home to Norwich. Which was why, when the third goal was flicked in by Koscienly in the second half, the nails continued to be bitten.
That last half an hour, as we defended our single goal advantage, felt like it took an age. In the dying embers of the match, as Kieran Gibbs (on as a late substitute – who says Wenger doesn’t get tactical subs right?) threw everything at a tackle against a West Brom player through on goal, you never quite felt safe until that whistle had gone. And when it did, the eruption occured. Joyous faces in the away end at West Brom, joyous faces everywhere at The Emirates. It didn’t matter that Fulham had never sounded like they were in the game, we had finally, finally managed to secure third spot.
It may not have been a vintage season, it may have had some really extreme lows, but the platform we have prepared for next season means that Champions League football is secured already and we don’t need to concern ourselves with leaving our fate in the hands of Bayern Munich next week. It also means the club can do their transfer business early. But first, the small matter of convincing a certain Dutchman that his future lies where his heart is: at Arsenal.
So that’s it from me. More to be said over the coming weeks about what lies ahead, but without further ado, over to my co-pilot…
*Exhale*…..How do Gooners!
Its Monday and it’s great!
The Suburban Gooners would like to say congrats to Manchester City. Well deserved Champions.
What a final day to the Premier League season. Quite frankly we have the best league in the World. I can’t remember a final day with so many fixtures meaning something.
Third place! What a relief. The stress has been unbelievable. Will we? won’t we?
My honest feelings about the season – Was 50/50. Remove any thoughts of *THAT* summer, considering the squad we have – what we achieved was an absolute miracle and Arsene deserves some serious recognition for that. Now include the summer – *shudders* – it was very, very poor. If the summer had gone to plan, *Whispers* we could have won the league. With the amount of mistakes made by big teams, it could have been anyones. We finished 19 points off the champions AND we still managed to finish third.
Have another go on that slide this summer Arsene we aren’t that far off…
The tail of the summer – Cesc Fabregas, The heart beat of the team, finally made his long-awaited move, ‘home’ to Barcelona. Samir Nasri who left us dangling on whether he was to sign a new contract or not eventually left for vaster riches – (Who by the way, showed his true character in his interview with sky sports….) – and Gael Clichy who was a great servant for the club, just came to a point in his career where he just needed to move on. All of which added up to very horrific time to be an Arsenal fan.
Once the realisation struck that some of our best players where leaving – Who was going to come in and fill the void? With a bank full of money (well, you know what I mean), I was hoping for a marque signing… A player to boost the squad and the fans. But we got..
*Palm to face*
I remember driving in my car listening to TalkSport and Adrian Durham saying the Arteta deal was off. This is at 8.30pm, with half an hour to go. At that point Champions League qualification wasn’t even going through my mind, yet did I know what later was going to unfold…
For me where the struggle began – I remember watching to pre-season game with Benfica. Benfica won 2-1 (Van Persie 33 – Aimar 49, Nolito 60). Arsenal line-up ‘seemed’ to be, our strongest XI. Which worried me. The Benfica goals would sum up our season to be. Shocking defending. Poor positional play from the midfield leaving the defence exposed. But only for our blushes to be saved to Robin Van Persie (Well sort of).
On the 13th of August, Day one of the season, New Signing Gervinho learnt a very valuable lesson – Don’t raise your hands in the Premier League (even for Joey Barton). Which ended up costing us all three points that day. That result, started off what would be our worst start to a Premier League season ever. We lost to Liverpool at home (0-2) and where humiliated at Old Trafford (8-2). At the end of August we had 1 point, yes one point. Relegation anyone? Well, TalkSport thought so. The only positive for the month of August was away from the League, qualifying for The Champions League eventually over coming Udinese.
Bad performances and the not so great results continued. Notably we scrapped a point AT HOME against swansea. *That* 4-3 against Blackburn. But we did manage a draw against the German champions Borussia Dortmund.
2nd October, D-Day. Spuds away. We lost 2-1. Van Der Vaart caught ..*Cough* controlled the ball with his ‘Apex’ to give them than an early lead and inevitably first blood. The biggest blow was losing Bacary Sagna to a very serious Injury.Things looked terrible..
The situation didn’t improve until October 29th. Chelsea 5-3 at Stamford Bridge (Lampard, Terry, Mata – Van Persie 3, Santos, Walcott) – What. a. day. I was over the moon, I have many Chelsea supporting friends *rubs hands*…. John Terry falling on his face has to be a the highlight.
I thought we would get some consistency after that result - but instead we where very hap hazard. We got our revenge on Blackburn beating them 7-1 but we lost 2-1 to Sunderland in the FA Cup…Things looked bleak.
November and December – We beat Dortmund to qualify for the Champions League last 16. Grinded out some well needed 3 points. We where back…
The return of the Henry ! – All I need to say is Arsenal 1-0 Leeds. Lots of people where doubting if he could still do it..by god he can. No arguments that man gave us a kick in the right direction.
One of the strangest moments of the season - Sending Arshavin back to Zenit on Loan !? Clearly the move was for Arshavin benefit and his chances for the European Championships but we where in dire straights, very odd.
We got cained by AC Milan, cained. They punished us. A very sad night. But the month of February was saved by one greatest derby victory ever ? 5pur2 ! We seemed down and out at half time. But a rejuvenated Tomas Rosicky helped propel us to victory. That game saved our season we then went on to beat Liverpool, Newcastle, Everton and Manchester City. But bad results against QPR, Wigan and Stoke almost cost us.
Thank you, Martin Fullop and Kieran Gibbs. You have helped Gunners Wives, Girlfriends, Partners.. go back to Living happy . *Thumbs up*
Worst Moment of the season
My Worst moment has to be the 8-2 lose to Manchester United. So humiliating. I remember Sir Alex Ferguson being embarrassed when united got the sixth let alone the eight ! – Ben
Best moment of the season
5pur2 ! Best Derby result, considering the situation, ever. Will remember that day forever – Ben
Goal of the Season
RVP vs Everton – What. A. Goal! Technique out of this world – Ben
Let us know your ‘Moments’ of the season. Let’s share them all together.
We would like to thank you for your time this season, I hope you have enjoyed the blog. We certainly have. On to next year and a trophy winning season *hides*.
Have a great summer what ever you end up doing – Be Happy