Arsenal Roundup: League struggles, FA Cup triumph and a Summer of uncertainty

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As the summertime fills the air, a flashback at the just concluded season and a projection on what the upcoming season holds for the Gunners is a genuine cause for concern for everyone connected to the north London Club.

From a 20-game unbeaten run, to back to back defeats at Goodison Park and The Etihad respectively in December, having avoided the November curse to a large extent, to a 3-3 explosive encounter with Bournemouth in January.

A further 6 losses in 8 games between mid-January and the end of March with sides such as Watford and West Bromwich Albion making the list as well.

Then a new system incorporated by Le Prof of a hybrid 3-4-3 system which invariably turned the tide of our season and almost saw us make the top 4 and of course win the FA Cup in magnificent style against League Champions Chelsea at Wembley, tells a tale of contrasting feelings, emotions and class.

The Wenger In/Out sections of the fans also made their mark during the season with banners, vocal outbursts, and even AEROPLANE displays. In short, any fan who missed the just-concluded season, literally “Missed" a lot.

Records were set while others were broken. The two most distinct of the above stated are the 13th FA Cup title and Wenger’s 7th making Arsenal the most successful club in the competition as well as missing out of Champions League football for the first time in Arsene’s reign of 21 years at the helm.

That said, it is prudent to analyse what we did right and cement it and also highlight all we got wrong and fix it to avoid re-occurrence. For starters, Arsene Wenger’s body language in the market shot us in the foot as the purchase of Shkodran Mustafi and Lucas Perez almost seemed like an afterthought.

This invariably led to an opening day defeat to Liverpool and a couple of unnecessary draws earlier in the season as the team whom should have been acclimatised to playing with each other during the preseason, were still trying to find synergy within themselves after the season had begun.

Olivier Giroud proved to be an excellent reader of the game as he always left a mark on the pitch whenever he came on from the bench. Fondest memory of this was his influence at Old Trafford to secure a draw with our lone strike on goal for the game.

The perennial loss of Santi Cazorla in November as well proved to be an insurmountable challenge. To keep it short, the team over felt his absence through injury…again.

Despite his commitment and tenacity when called upon, Lucas Perez suffered a lot of neglect in terms of selection which was met by disapproval by the fans week in week out. Alexis Sanchez was a revelation this season bagging 30 goals and double-figure assists to show for it.

There were a couple of players who like our season burned brightly at the start and became ordinary at the business end such as Coquelin, Iwobi, Oxlade, Özil…to list a few.

As the saying goes: “you are damned if you do and damned if you don’t" very much applies to Le Prof’s change in tactics. However, the fact remains that the Boss has a penchant for being reactive rather than proactive.

As regards transfers, as much as fans would like to see new faces and big names added to the current squad, I fear the reality may be quite the opposite as this current team seems to lack more of consistency than numbers.

The everlasting contract extension saga of Özil and Sanchez is another huge concern and a big failure on Arsene’s part who has insisted he won’t work with a director of sports at the club.

It is quite apparent that the responsibility of managing, coaching and administrating may be too tall an order for the Boss.

With “Silent" Stan very quick to quell all rumours concerning Usmanov’s £1billion offer for his shares but being completely mute on all serious concerns raised and experienced by the club prior to the “shares rumor".

One can safely assume that Stan and the board are much more concerned about the finances they reap rather than success on the pitch.

A gentleman agreement is said to have been made with Sead Kolasinac which remains to be seen as well as an agreement struck with Eupen’s Nigerian youngster Henry Onyekuru who seems like a real talent based on what we have seen.

With Arsene Wenger’s 2 years contract extension, the only question left is, when will Özil and Sanchez put pen to paper and extend theirs?

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