Buoyed by winning the FA Cup trophy and ending a nine year drought Arsenal and their fans were optimistic by what the 2014/15 season might bring in terms of success.
There was a decent amount of transfer activity in summer which saw the arrival of Alexis Sanchez, Mathieu Debuchy, Calum Chambers, David Ospina and finally Danny Welbeck on deadline day. Those signings were all desperately needed and have provided Arsenal with the necessary boost they needed even if it did take a few months for the team to adapt.
The first few months of the season were tough, Arsenal didn’t have the impetus we all expected straight away and it seemed like we were reverting back to our days of struggling to finish games. The Gunners opened the season with a win again Palace and played well for a few games and then by September the form had slipped. Losing games to Swansea, Man United and Stoke it appeared we were struggling tactically and nothing was being done about it as the same mistakes were made in each game.
The defining game that instigated improvement was the loss against Southampton on new years day, it was an epically bad game and everyone looked frustrated and angry. Szczesny was accused of smoking in the shower, Mertesacker was furious with just about everyone one the pitch and Sanchez just looked beat. It was the moment the season could have gone one way or the other but the team bounced back with victories against Stoke and Man City and they were on their way to an much improved run of games.
The introduction of David Ospina and the return of Francis Coquelin were definite factors that enhanced the strength within the team and they instantly settled into their roles and earned their places in the team. As a result we have finished the season with Coquelin quite possibly our most valued hidden treasure-if only we had utilised his talent many seasons ago.
Best Player of the Season
He has been consistently the best player for Arsenal for the entirety of his debut season. When everyone else in the team were underachieving he was the person that kept them going on the pitch. He has incredible talent and energy, he has worked tirelessly all season and given us plenty of goals to cheer about too. Even when he was injured and told to rest he was caught by staff halfway up a climbing wall with weights on and refused to get down until he reached the top-that’s dedication for you.
Best Young player
A dream season for the Spanish youngster as he secured a promotion to the first team squad and then earned himself a regular spot in the back four. Bellerin has been Arsenal’s best defender by a wide mile and he has improved with every game. His age belies him as his talent is that of a defender at his peak, if he is this good this young he will on thrive further and dismount Debuchy as first choice right back.
Flop of the season
Just over a season ago it looked like a world class goalkeeper was emerging and Szczesny’s potential was starting to shine through, move forward a year and we couldn’t be any further than that. Szczesny has been weak this season, he was struggling with kicks, not aiming his throws out precisely enough or even placing them towards players who were unmarked but his performance at Southampton coupled with smoking in the shower cost him his place in the team.
Arsenal finished the season strongly despite squandering second place in the remaining weeks of the season but given how they started I don’t think anyone expected Arsenal to finish in the top 4 so third was a very good position. Retaining the FA Cup for a second year in a row has also been a great achievement to maintain.
Overall a good season, still plenty of flaws and weaknesses to be ironed out in regards to tactics, the way we approach Champion’s League and injury issues need to be addressed again. We improved our results against the other top 4 teams and managed to beat Man United at Old Trafford in the FA Cup tie. With three maybe four signings this summer-a goalkeeper, centre back, defensive midfielder and a striker it could give Arsenal the momentum to mount a decent challenge for the title next season.
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