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Arsenal and the elusive Premier League title

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With new signing Petr Cech on their books, the common consensus is Arsenal have finally put together a team capable of challenging for the title 11 seasons after their previous triumph.

It is easily forgotten however that they have come close to winning the league on four previous occasions during that period: 2007-2008, 2009-2010, 2010-2011 and 2013-2014 season.

We’ll take a look at what happened in those seasons and why Arsenal are still in search of a first title since 2004-2005.

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2007-2008

Arsenal started the season in excellent form, leading the Premier League by five points in February. Cesc Fabregas successfully replaced Thierry Henry as the star man, and Emmanuel Adebayor did a more than adequate job at replacing his goals with a tally of 24.

Final position: Third

What happened?

A late season capitulation was fuelled by the injury to Eduardo da Silva and William Gallas’ subsequent sulk.

Arsene Wenger’s decision not to get a replacement for out of form goalkeeper Jens Lehmann and stick with Manuel Almunia who, before the season had made only 11 appearances in three years, was also risky to put it nicely.

2009-2010

Again Arsenal started the season strongly, with Thomas Vermaelen proving an excellent purchase and the attacking players combining well, with many tipping them to score a century by the end of the season.

Despite the injury to Robin van Persie in November they had managed to stay within touching distance of first place until the start of the January transfer window.

Final position: 3rd

What happened?

With only Nicklas Bendtner and a returning Eduardo available, the window had come at the right time to get a striker. Yet to the surprise and ridicule of many, Wenger opted not to buy a striker, choosing instead to rely on Bendtner and bringing Sol Campbell in on a free transfer.

It turned out that Wenger didn’t know best, as by the time Van Persie returned in April it was far too late. Arsenal finished the season 11 points off the top, and a team which scored 36 goals in 11 games could only manage 83 goals at the end of the campaign.

2010-2011

Again a good start saw a host of players turn in brilliant performances, most notably from Samir Nasri prompting calls for him to be a potential player of the year. The 2-1 win against FC
Barcelona in the Champions League last 16 first leg led to speculation of an unprecedented
quadruple for the Gunners.

Final position: 4th

What happened?

Zero trophies after a loss of form following the defeat to Birmingham FC in the Carling Cup final. Despite goalkeeper Wojciech Szczęsny’s rise to prominence it was arguably his inexperience which cost them in the final, raising questions as to why Wenger did not pay the meagre £3 million sum to bring Mark Schwarzer to the club in the summer.

Wenger’s trust in the centre-back pairing of a young Laurent Koscielny and Johann Djourou was also misplaced to say the least.

2013-2014

A terrible 3-1 loss at the hands of Aston Villa forced Wenger into the record purchase of Mesut Ozil. His good early season form, alongside a scarcely believable Aaron Ramsey and the solid centre-back pairing contributed to 128 days at the top of the league.

Final position: 4th

What happened?

Injuries to key men Ramsey and Theo Walcott had a significant impact, and high-profile losses against rival opposition including a 6-1 loss to Chelsea underlined Wenger’s failure in strengthening a position currently fulfilled by Francis Coquelin.

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Topics:
Robin Van Persie
Nicklas Bendtner
Jens Lehmann
Thomas Vermaelen
Carlton Cole
Da Silva Eduardo
Wojciech Szczesny
Theo Walcott
Arsenal
Premier League
Laurent Koscielny
Manuel Almunia
Francesc Fabregas
Aaron Ramsey
Sol Campbell
Johan Djourou
William Gallas
Arsene Wenger
Thierry Henry
Mark Schwarzer
Petr Cech
Francis Coquelin
Emmanuel Adebayor
Football
Samir Nasri

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