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2010/11 Review of the Season: Arsenal

May 30, 2011

It all seemed to be going so well. On Sunday February 27th Arsenal faced off with Birmingham in the Carling Cup final at Wembley, still contenders in the other three main competitions of the season. In the build-up to the game, ‘quadruple’ was whispered; just ever so quietly. The possibility of emphatically ending their barren spell of no trophies in five years with all four pieces of silverware was being considered.

And then it happened. In the dying moments of normal time with the scores tied at 1-1, Wojciech Szczesny and Laurent Koscielny left the ball for each other. What should have been a routine clearance for the Frenchman or any easy pick-up for the Pole was instead allowed to bounce towards Birmingham’s Obafemi Martins. The Nigerian striker swept the ball into the goal and in that moment, a meltdown began. Within six weeks, Arsenal’s challenge in all competitions ended and the incredible work that had been put in to build up to that moment was seemingly wasted.

Arsenal end the season without any silverware once again but there were moments of enjoyment along the way. Over two ties with Barcelona, Arsenal were more than competitive until Robin van Persie was sent-off. Things could have ended very different had the full complement of Arsenal players stayed on the pitch.

On its own, fourth place in the league, last sixteen of the Champions League, Carling Cup runners-up and FA Cup quarter finalists isn’t a bad return from a season. The problem for Arsenal fans is that it had promised so much more.

Regular Starting Eleven

Game of the season Arsenal 2-1 Barcelona An incredible game and an incredible night saw Arsenal matching and then outplaying the apparent best team on the planet. Arsene Wenger’s side saved their best performance for the crucial leg and walked away with a well-deserved lead. They were disciplined in defence; keeping Barcelona at arm’s length and clinical in possession. The move for Andrei Arshavin’s winning goal was amongst the best football you’ll have enjoyed all season long. Sadly, it all went wrong in the second leg.

Player of the season Jack Wilshere In the space of one season, Wilshere went from the ‘great English hope’ to the anchor of the England midfield for years to come. His natural comfort on the ball means he regularly finds space in a packed midfield. Even when he was expected to look out of his depth, in the clashes with Barcelona and the crunch games with the other teams of ‘The Big Four,’ Wilshere simply rose to the level of the game and flourished. He fronted up against Xavi and Andres Iniesta like he’d been doing it for years.

Season in a tweet

Biggest disappointment Sebastien Squillaci He should have been the experienced head with previous of playing at the top of European competition that helped Arsene Wenger to shore up his troubled defence. But in truth, the Arsenal back-line looked more liable for a mistake every time that he played.

Changes needed for next season? Depending on who you listen to and what you read, Arsenal’s summer could be vastly different. Szczesny has done enough to warrant a full season as the number one and in front of him, it could really depend on who Arsene loses in the close season. Denilson and Nicklas Bendtner have already expressed their desire to leave and if more follow, Wenger will need to replenish his numbers from further afield than his youth teams.  Fabregas could finally be on his way to Barcelona which would leave a massive gap in the pivotal role of Arsenal’s system.

A striker to shoulder some of Robin van Persie’s goalscoring duties, a central defender to play alongside Thomas Vermaelen and a creative spark in midfield would be a start but things could get very busy around the Emirates especially as Wenger has already indicated he is expecting to be more active than he has been for some time.

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. wonderbrawl permalink
    May 31, 2011 1:14 pm

    Arsenal will sign Richard Dunne (£10m), Lee Cattermole (£8) and Peter Crouch(£25m) and sell Fabregas (£8m) to Real Madrid, Nasri to Inter (£10m) and Wilshere to Man City (£300m + Nigel de Jong).

    Arsenal will play the long ball to Crouch (who, and this is not said enough, has a great first touch for a big lad) with Cattermole and De Jong picking up where Wilshere and Fabregas left off, Dunne holding the back line with the poise and agility we have become used to.

    • June 1, 2011 7:44 am

      This has to be my favourite summary of Arsenal’s needs that I’ve seen although surely they can do better than Cattermole with the £300 million they get from Wilshere?

  2. May 31, 2011 9:52 pm

    Already getting tired-head about all the players Arsenal COULD sign. First it’s Cahill, then Benzema, and I even heard Samuel Eto’o mentioned this morning on Twitter. Yes…signings will make a big difference…especially to straighten out the back. But this team needs to work on it’s MENTAL TOUGHNESS too. Laying down the last 2 games of the season…for me…is unacceptable. It starts with Wilshere, RVP and the El Capitan.

    @jasonjonesSWT

    • June 1, 2011 7:47 am

      You say that like mental toughness is something that they can magically pick up overnight?

      Where do you expect it to come from within the current set-up? Most, if not all, of the Arsenal players have came through the club… If they haven’t got it now, a change needs to be made so that someone or something introduces ways to work on it for next season.

  3. Lol permalink
    May 31, 2011 10:01 pm

    Wonderbrawl, your a joker lol. There’s a problem with your regular starting eleven. Nasri is missing?

    • June 1, 2011 7:45 am

      Nasri’s problem was that he played in a number of positions. When Fabregas didn’t start, he played in the hole and played really well; but when Fabregas returned, he was pushed wide to accomodate.

      Unfortunately that means he misses out as he wasn’t the most commonly picked player for any position.

      • joelk11 permalink
        June 16, 2011 10:33 am

        Probably could replace Arshavin on the left wing, Nasri played there a lot and the Russian was often a sub. Otherwise, great write up! As an Arsenal fan, I made a point of reading this particular post, but all the Premier League Season Reviews on this site are brilliant.

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