Football is not a matter of life or death, it is more important than that

The End

2008-09 The End

So that was the 2008/09 season, and yes it ended up being a season of “if only”, but as far as I am concerned it was a season that ended up also being a season where we The Arsenal did move forward. Okay so it is now four full seasons since we won anything of significance, and for all of us we have to be prepared for that stat being pointed at us all next season as well. But when I start to look at back a number of aspects of my club have moved forward.

But what exactly am I referring to, well a number of individual players have clearly stepped up and grown, for me Denilson, Song and Walcott have all progressed, Clichy is now maybe the best left back in the premiership, Almunia is easily one of the countries best, Robin reached the 20 goals for the season level, Cesc became the rightful captain and in January Andrey Arshavin, a real superstar, joined the club and really looks the part, while for me Samir Nasri was possible the best player across the whole season. But above all the real progress came in the collective mileage that these youngsters gained, remember these young players have all now played in cup semi finals, reached forth place in the hardest league in the world, and experienced what it is like to be criticized and how good it is to prove “experts” wrong.

However we also have to be honest and look at what went wrong. Injuries must be a separate paragraph of this review, so I won’t comment yet on that. For me the biggest disappointment were the performances of a few individual players, Adebayor for one did not get close to what he achieved last season, Gallas had a real mixed season, Diaby continues to miss out on what he should become, Kolo had a real drop on form for 3 months, Fabianski is not (yet) near good enough, and of course Eboue had a disaster for around 4 months. But is that the price we have to pay for having such a young team, or is that not an excuse.

Arsene made a few odd choices during the season, the team for the FA Cup semi being the worst, plus the signing of Silvestre and letting Traore and Senderos stay on loan when they clearly could have helped. But I for one am not someone who feels that Mr. Wenger should leave, in fact I think he should sing a new contract and stay and finish the job he has started.

Okay every club in the world can usually point to an issue with injuries, but this year we really were badly effected. Eduardo and Rosicky missed the whole thing, Cesc, RVP, Clichy, Gallas, Almunia, Adebayor, Walcott all missed vital times and games, it was just too much. However there is a silver lining to some of those injuries, and the emergence of Kieran Gibbs is maybe the best of all. Another possible positive is that next year, with Eduardo and Rosicky back it will be like signing two world class players for nothing.

The highlights for the season came in Europe, we had some great performances and some good results, however in balance to that the semi final was embarrassing, however the worst result of the whole season has to be the other semi in the FA Cup, that was awful on every level. Equally losing to Hull was poor and those sort of games is where next season we have to improve.

I said at the start of the season I really did feel this season would have a silver lining, and perhaps I am clutching at straws, but I was right, and no I am not going to use the Arsenal Ladies as my get out here, but the Youth team, they won their league, and at the time of writing lead after the first leg of the youth cup 4-1. And from that group I predict Frimpong will be the one that ends up making a real name for himself, that lad is special.    


© 2008 Paul Kavanagh. All rights reserved.