Arsenal’s trophy seven year trophy drought has become the Most Famous Trophy Drought English Football Has Ever Know (TM). Of course, it isn’t, but you wouldn’t think that with the way a lot of fans talk about it.
It is because Arsenal once won trophies regularly and for many to see a ‘big’ club, as it were, not win anything for so long raises a few smirks amongst opposing fans, and rightfully so too. But, hey, at least we’re not Spurs.
Things could have been very different, though. Of course, that is very easy to say but I can pinpoint an exact moment where Arsenal’s recent past could have been changed. I speak of the 2007-2008 season, easily Arsenal’s best chance to win the Premier League title in the last 8 years or so. Emmanuel Adebayor was in fantastic form, knocking in goals for fun and new signing Eduardo was proving to be ‘buy of the season’ material.
Arsenal were top of the table (hard to remember what that feels like) and then it all unravelled during that fateful trip to Birmingham in February 2009. Eduardo, whose importance to the club was growing and growing, had his leg snapped in two following a very poor and reckless challenge by Martin Taylor. An entire blog (or two) could be written on the tackle itself and the fact that Taylor only received a three match ban.
The players slumped, clearly affected by the horrific injury and were soon 1-0 down thanks to James McFadden free kick.
A 19 year old Theo Walcott scored a brace to give Arsenal the lead but Gael Clichy gave away the stupidest of penalties at the end of the game to give Birmingham a draw.
William Gallas, Arsenal’s captain at the time, then threw the biggest of the strops, kicking hoardings and generally being a massive cry baby. Not what you want from your captain.
Now, imagine if that had not happened. Theo Walcott’s winning goal would not have been forgotten in the aftermath of the game and Arsenal would have taken the three points and, I believe, gone on to win the Premier League that year thus ending this ridiculous trophy drought hoodoo. Gallas would not have had the ultimate strop and kept his captaincy.
But, alas, it was not to be and that game against Birmingham is permanently seared into my memory. For the remainder of the season, Arsenal’s form faltered and without the goalscoringprowess of Eduardo we were left with the Greatest Striker that Ever Lived Nicklas Bentdner to carry the goal scoring burden.
Clearly, the team weren’t the same after such a capitulation and Manchester United went on to win the title that year.
Jerry van Wav