Arsenal’s season has been a bit of an ambiguity so far. Despite being the only club not to have signed an outfield player last summer, they’ve made a great move in poaching Cech off Mourinho to solve their long unsolved goalkeeping problem.
Likewise, results have been a mixed bag with some promising league performances, competing for the top while seemingly getting over their big games complex. On the other hand, they’ve been dreadful in Europe and riddled by injuries. Again. So are Arsenal’s banter years of hopelessness actually over? Yes, and here’s why.
First of all, it’s worth pointing out that Arsenal are now actually winning stuff. While most of the mockery directed at Wenger’s team came from their lack of trophies, the drought (and huge mental block it came with) finally ended in 2014 after a painful but incredibly valuable FA Cup win over Hull.
Arsenal have since won another Cup. While still unable win the top trophies, they have won more than Man Utd and Liverpool in recent years. Which is a start.
Areenal may not win the league this year, but at least they are in contention! Few people would argue they are not in the top 3, if not 2. By contrast, they used to struggle to even make European spots. Looking at the current squad, it’s hard to imagine a repeat of those notoriously embarrassing 4th spot celebrations Gary Neville loved to criticise.
While in the past they have looked nowhere near the level of league leaders *cough* 8-2 *cough* Arsenal’s luck has turned recently. Their ability to compete for the Premier League is surely a good indication their banter years are history. As is the 4-0 thrashing of United last month, which was a personal highlight 🙂
Finally, there is the appeal and financial power to attract top players like Sanchez, Ozil and Cech. These are players who would get into any team, and they chose Arsenal. It would’ve been inconceivable to keep them 3-4 years ago, never mind actually recruit them.
Roll back the years to compare them to some of their predecessors (at random, say Bendtner, Hleb and Almunia respectively) and you can really see how far Arsenal have come. Looking at their status at the time they were signed, these 3 arguably stand as the most prestigious signings of the entire Wenger era.
Yes the injury situation is as bad as it’s ever been, and yes the squad is far (far) too small. And let’s not even start on a European campaign so awful I’ll save it for a blog post of its own right. But the most important thing is we no longer have to look across at rivals with envy, so despite the recent poor run of form, let’s form forget how far we’ve come.