So that's it. The football season is once again over for arsenal fans. But where did a season that promised so much to start with go so badly wrong?
I think the first thing to remember is that at the beggining of the season Arsenal were all but written off by all the pundits, unlikely to finish in the top four we where told. Our squad is too small, not enough depth, not enough experience. How could we possibly compete with the financial might of chelsea, manchester united and manchester city? Tottenham are on the rise and surely this could be Liverpool's year. Well we should them all right? Right? Erm, not quite...
We did manage to finish in the top four, but we had led the league for so long, against all the odds. Our threadbare squad doing me proud. In the middle of February everything was looking great, we were flying high in the league, still in the FA cup, about to face Barcelona in the last 16 of the Champions league, and, perhaps best of all, a Carling Cup final to look forward to. A chance for our first silverware in 6 years. Since Patrick Vieira smashed home the winnig penalty in the 2005 cup final. Things couldnt possibly get any better could they? Nothing was going to stop the might Arsenal on their charge for four trophies, the unprecedented quadruple.
Nothing perhaps, except the ineptitude and inexperience of an Arsenal backline that wouldn't look out of place in a pre-school. A backline that was lacking in a true leader , an organiser, someone in the mould of Tony Adams, Martin Keown, Steve Bould. If only someone, or 60,000 people every week, had pointed this out to our esteemed manager.
For in the 90th minute of our first Wembley appearance since the famous two towers where brought down to be replaced by the arch, the dreams of all Arsenal fans where brought down in much the same fashion as the old marble. A simple long ball down the middle, the bread and butter of defenders and goalkeepers the world over. Except at Arsenal. For we do things a little differently. As Laurent Koscielny, several million pounds worth of centre back, forgot the one golden rule of defending. The one thing any school boy will tell you; if in doubt get it out. But oh no. To cut a long story, hes a muppet, Wojciech Szczesny isnt old enough to know better and Obafemi Martins decided to pick this one moment in his Birmingham career to do something useful. Cheers Oba.
Oh well, it was only the Carling cup, we still have the big three to look forward to. And who's next forus? The mighty Leyton Orient, bring it on. Promptly dispatched 5-0. And a hat-trick for Bendtner? Wow things are on the up.
So on to Sunderland and our relentless pursuit of the league title we hadn't won since 2004 and the mighty invincibles. This should be easy. But 90 goal free minutes later it was clear to see that Birmingham was a little more than a blip. Confidence was low and we never looked like scoring. Not ideal when your next opponents are the mighty Barcelona.
And so it proved. We were hammered. Destroyed. Not even a single shot on goal. We were humiliated. Out of two cups in the space of two weeks, about to head to Old Trafford for an FA cup tie, and not looking like we could buy a win, as if Wenger would buy anything anyway.
We lost again. This was not good. We were becoming a laughing stock. Out of three of our four, our season was decending in to farce. We only had the league to play for, but four draws out of our next six games put paid to that. Even though we then beat Manchester United we knew our season was over. A season that promised so much but ended with so little. Not even the guarantee of Champions League football next season. The doubters were proven right. Finishing the season in fourth, 12 points away from the league champions.
And there we have it. A season that offered so much but ultimately gave so little. But will i give up on my Arsenal? No chance. I'll be there next season, fighting our corner, cheering us on, defending the un-defendable, Because there is no better feeling than seeing your team lifting a trophy, any trophy, on the final day of the season, and its even sweeter when its the team you have worshiped since you were a boy.
GOONER 'TIL I DIE