By Nayan Teja Yalavarthy
Arsenal finished the 2013-14 season on a high and managed to cling onto a top four place, but had plenty to do going into the last summer. So how did they fare in the Premier League this season, here’s our review of our League season.
SUMMER TRANSFER WINDOW:
Alexis Sanchez – 35m Pounds from Barcelona
Mathieu Debuchy – 12m Pounds from Newcastle United
David Ospina – 3.2m Pounds from Nice
Calum Chambers – 16m Pounds from Southampton
Danny Welbeck – 16m Pounds from Manchester United
Lukas Fabianski – Free Transfer to Swansea City
Bacary Sagna – Free Transfer to Manchester City
Nicklas Bendtner – Free Transfer to Wolfsburg
Thomas Vermaelen – 15m Pounds to Barcelona
Carlos Vela – Rights worth 12m Pounds sold to R.Sociedad
Arsenal started the season with just 2 wins from their first 8 games marking the worst ever start to a season since 1982. The Manager clearly stated that the World Cup and an extended holiday to the players added up to the misery.
The Gunners faced problems in the defense due to the absence of Per Mertesacker and injuries to Laurent Koscielny, Mikel Arteta and Mathieu Debuchy. This led to Nacho Monreal, a left back play to play at centre back, while young Calum Chambers and Hector Bellerin had to fill in at right back.
This resulted in the vulnerability for Gunners at the back which led to the 22 goals scored against this season, out of the 36.
But none of this affected Alexis Sanchez as the Chilean scored 15 of his 24 goals overall in the first half of the season. He, along with Englishman Danny Welbeck filled in the space for Olivier Giroud, who suffered from a foot injury.
This meant that if the club from North London had to recover from that poor start, it had to be during the end of the year games where they played Liverpool, QPR, West Ham and Southampton in a span of 10 days. Santi Cazorla and Tomas Rosicky stepped up to the task and ensured that the Emirates Club would not lose it’s course.
WINTER TRANSFER WINDOW:
Gabriel Paulista – 12m Pounds from Villareal
Krystian Beilik – 2.5m Pounds from Legia Warsaw
Lukas Podolski – On Loan to Inter Milan
Yaya Sanogo – On Loan to Crystal Palace
Joel Campbell – On Loan to Villareal
Arsenal kicked off the New Year with a 2-0 defeat to Southampton after which Wojciech Szczeny was caught smoking in the shower. This action immediately led to the Pole losing his spot between the sticks to Columbian, David Ospina. The players out injured were returning and Francis Coquelin and Hector Bellerin were emerging into two of the finds of the season at the Emirates.
The breakthrough of Francis Coquelin into the first team meant that the Gunners now had a Policeman, like Thierry Henry said, who would watch the team attack and sit infront of the back four. The Frenchman brought stability and balance into the team.
Olivier Giroud scored 12 of his 18 goals overall in the second half of the season. This includes his goal in the away game to Manchester City, which did a world of good to the team as we were always accused of not being able to win against the top 3. Mesut Ozil returned to find his golden touch, as he and Cazorla shared 12 goals and 21 assists between them.
The Gunners then went onto record an 8-match winning streak after a painful loss to Tottenham and ended the season on a high. On the way, Arsenal won crucial games against Liverpool in the League and Manchester United in the FA Cup, which boosted the spirit of the Gunners, as they faced terrible losses against Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester City last season.
The end of the season saw two Englishmen, Theo Walcott and Jack Wilshere return from lengthy injuries and perform out of their skin to give Arsenal a new dimension in the attacking half, the latter then marked his comeback by scoring a hat-trick in the last League Game of the season.
FINAL POSITION : 3rd (+1 from last season)
POINTS SECURED: 75 (-4 from last season)
BEST MOMENT OF THE SEASON: 2-0 win against Manchester City at the Etihad.
WORST MOMENT OF THE SEASON: Loosing 2-0 to Southampton and the Szczeny Incident.
GOAL OF THE PL SEASON: Jack Wilshere vs West Brom (Emirates) and Alexis Sanchez vs Manchester City (Etihad)
PLAYER OF THE SEASON: Alexis Sanchez
The Gunners definitely improved in terms of drawing results from the top 4 teams but a bad start to the season put the title hopes far from vision. The fact that they stand 3rd while drawing 4 points less from the last season’s tally shows that this PL Season was about the teams recovering and standing their ground. The Gunners would’ve felt they missed out on a golden chance to end the League title drought of 10 years.