The highs and lows of Arsenal's season so far
Arsenal have suffered more lows than enjoyed highs this season
A football season is always labelled as a 'rollercoaster' of emotions and this term has been exactly that for Arsenal Football Club.
A campaign that started so well for the Gunners is slowly fading away and could in fact be their worst season ever under Arsene Wenger. A 2-1 derby day loss on Sunday means a top four finish is looking more and more unlikely for Arsenal, and a lowest finish under Wenger is becoming an increasing possibility.
So what factors have impacted Arsenal's season so far? We look into the highs for Arsenal but also, of course, focus on some significant lows…
Last summer was mixed with good news and bad news. The signings of Santi Cazorla, Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud filled the fans with hope and expectation as Wenger strengthened his team with three very well-known footballers.
However, with arrivals, came departures. Alex Song left for Barcelona after a fall-out with new assistant manager, Steve Bould, but worst of all, Robin van Persie left for fierce-rivals, Manchester United. The summer was just the start to the crazy season at the Emirates.
The first five
The season started off very well for Arsenal as theGunners went the first five Premier League games unbeaten and, with only two goals conceded, the appointment of Steve Bould appeared a stroke of genius. After two 0-0 draws at home to Sunderland and away to Stoke, Arsenal then went to Anfield and won 2-0. They then thrashed Southampton 6-1 and got a credible draw at champions Manchester City. A great start for Arsenal as they finally looked like the solid outfit at the back and at the front.
Arsenal 5-2 Tottenham
When the north London derby came around at the Emirates, no-one could have predicted that it would end 5-2 once again, however it did. After going 1-0 down to an Emmanuel Adebayor goal, who then later got sent off, Arsenal were able to turn the game around and go on to record the same score they had the previous season. Any victory over Tottenham is considered a high point in a season and this was certainly one.
The announcement that Emirates and Arsenal had struck a new deal was just what Arsenal wanted to hear off the pitch. It meant that more money would be coming in and the deal was struck at £150million a season, which meant the Gunners would be potentially be gaining an extra £30million a season towards transfers. It was a deal that gave Arsenal much needed relief behind the scenes at the club.
Return of Jack Wilshere
The return of Jack Wilshere seemed to take forever to come around for most Arsenal fans, but this season has finally seen the Englishman return to the first-team. Wilshere had the world at his feet before an injury kept him over for over a year, and the youngster looks better than ever.
Arsene Wenger warned fans that he wouldn't be back to his best for a while, but as soon as he returned, it was like he had never been away. Wilshere has given Arsenal fans a massive boost amongst a season of frustrations, with a number of top class performances.
Form against the top teams
A lot of people say how you perform in the top of the table clashes determines how well you do in a season. Unfortunately for Arsenal, if that is the case, they will not fare well. The Gunners have lost home and away to Chelsea and also lost to Manchester City at home after getting a point at the Etihad. Arsenal have only played Manchester United once and that was at Old Trafford, but they lost 2-1 on the day, and things are hardly boding well before the leaders' visit to the Emirates.
Lack of signings in January
When it came to January, Arsenal were well off the pace in the title race and were not looking on great form either, however the club still failed to make major transfers in the transfer window. Many fans were left infuriated that the club were only able to bring in one new face especially after it was announced that they had made heavy profits.
Tottenham 2-1 Arsenal
Another north London derby and this time it was not one to remember unlike earlier on in the season. Tottenham ran out winners on the day thanks to Gareth Bale and Aaron Lennon goals and the loss saw Arsenal fall well off the pace in the Champions League race.
Arsenal used to be considered one of the main title contenders every season without fail, but these days, it is very rare if they are still in the title hunt come the new year. This season presented a newer challenge as, not only were the Gunners trailing in the title race, but a place in the top four was far from secure.
This was something that no-one could even imagine for a club like Arsenal. After the north London defeat, Arsenal were sitting seven points behind Spurs and five points behind Chelsea, while they are staring their lowest ever finish under Wenger right in the face with just ten games left.
Many people say Arsenal are not considered good enough to win the Premier League or the Champions League, so they should instead focus on the FA Cup or Capital One Cup to end their trophy drought. But Arsenal's performances in the cups this season left the club humiliated. A Capital One Cup defeat to Bradford City and an FA Cup defeat to Blackburn Rovers saw them face another trophyless season. A 3-1 defeat to Bayern Munich in the Champions League first leg dented their trophy quest even further. The lowest of the lows for Arsenal as they face an eighth year without a trophy.
So being an Arsenal fan comes with good times and bad times, much like supporting any football team I guess, but that is one reason why we all love the game, for the emotional ride.
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