This could still be Arsenal’s most important season
So it’s been a forgettable 2014 so far. A year that promised so much on its first day. We’ve stumbled far too many times, often had too similar accidents, but we aren’t crushed yet. ‘Cause we’ve still got seven reasons to fight.
The chance to end the season with silverware is very much realistic. The opportunity to have another crack at the Champions League hasn’t completely faded so it shouldn’t be all doom and gloom just yet.
When we surrendered the league title in humourous fashion in 2003, a cup win that season gave us the platform to achieve the unprecedented a year later. Granted, these are different players. But here’s a summer that could and should be different from the others. We’re at a position where we’ve got to equip the settled stars we’ve got with similar quality and a strong finish to the season will give us a nice terrace to do just that.
Something to finally look forward to
The club needs a lift, and the FA Cup is the perfect antidote. Other recent title challenging Arsenal sides who crumbled in squeaky bum time (07/08, 09/10 and 10/11) didn’t have the privilege of entering April with the thoughts of holding on to potential cup glory. This side have that. A chance to bail themselves out of an atrocious year and turn their season around by winning every single one of the seven matches left.
I’ve got the utmost respect for our remaining opponents but we’ve gotten the job done more often than not against the mid-table and relegation threatened teams. They’re all we’ve got left and there’s no better place to start afresh than with the less dangerous teams.
Despite Sunday’s defeat looking like the last straw that broke the backbone of this side, a pivotal cup win only six days later would remind everyone that there’s a reason to look forward to May, once again.
In like manner, a cup triumph wouldn’t only get the monkey off our back, but would also act as a springboard to build on, ahead of the coming seasons. Most successful sides have needed one beginning point to kick start their dominant reign and this looks to be what we could use to launch ours. The effect of winning a trophy could also spur this team on to the next level (with proper additions this summer, of course). The pride of finally being able to break a nine-year barren spell of silverware would do this side a world of good.
We would also see an up shoot in the confidence level of the players, most of which we’ve recently castigated. We’ve seen what confidence could do to players like Aaron Ramsey and Theo Walcott in recent seasons and a couple of the players could do with a similar transformation.
Cesc and co didn’t have a trophy to hold on to.
At a certain point in the last nine years, we’ve all always looked forward to a new campaign with genuine optimism, only to see our season fall apart in a matter of days/weeks. Perhaps one of the reasons for this was the absence of a trophy to give the players a target to improve upon, going into the new season.
However, a seven-match winning streak, along with a medal to crown a challenging year would help the team develop a winning mentality and aim for an even better 2014/2015 campaign. There’s no reason why we shouldn’t aim to go unbeaten next season. The games we lost this season where games a confident Arsenal side would have battled to earn a point from. A winning mentality built on the foundation of seven crucial victories would enable us achieve this feat.
A Cup win in 2003 helped Arsenal achieve immortal status in 2004.
More so, this is the perfect chance to finally eliminate the sad memories of our recent trips to Wembley. The defeats to Birmingham in 2011’s League Cup final and Chelsea, in the FA cup semi-final in 2009 (both 2-1 losses) are still very much fresh in my memory. The manner in which they came has also made those games difficult to reflect on. We wouldn’t get a better chance to heal those lingering wounds. It is therefore befitting that we’ve got two potential dates at Wembley to correct the misfortunes of our last two experiences at the same stadium. Hopefully, Laurent Koscielny and Wojciech Szczesny can get the right antidote to completely consign that nightmare into oblivion.
The duo deserve a second chance at Wembley.
The Ramsey Factor
Ramsey on Arsenal’s defeat to Everton: “We have to pick ourselves back up now,” he said. We have still got a lot of points to play for. We are in the semi-final of the FA Cup, so we have got to put things right. We have to put a strong run-in together now. We have five games left and we will aim to win them all to give us the best opportunity to finish fourth or higher”.
“Hopefully I can show what I can do, help this team achieve Champions League football again and hopefully have a medal at the end of the year.”
Despite playing only the first four months of the season, Aaron Ramsey is still the overwhelming favourite to become the Gunners’ Player of the Year. Such has been the standard he has raised for himself and the team, since August.
Like Arsenal, he had to begin right from the scratch after a career threatening crisis and last season gave him the platform to build his confidence levels. How we’ve missed him in the second half of the season. However, he’s returning just in time to take us over the line. In recent seasons, we’ve seen our star players tire out in the latter part of the campaign, which the whole team ultimately paid for, with horrible results.
This time, we’ve got our player of the year fit, with a chance to spur the team on to end the season with silverware. It’s a massive chance for him and his recent comments show that he’s relishing the chance to get his hands on his first piece of silverware as an Arsenal player. He’s also once suffered an FA Cup final heartbreak, in the loss to Portsmouth in 2008, and now’s a perfect opportunity to erase that.
Ramsey can take Arsenal over the line.
Perfect Scenario for Arsene
Finally, a cup win at Wembley would be a win-win situation for Arsene, either way you view it. If the Frenchman decides to call it quit after 18 years at the helm, he’ll be leaving with a parting gift to reward his loyalty, tenacity and foresight especially in the last nine years. He’s won the competition four times, and the trophy he last won in 2005 automatically becomes the trophy he’ll be remembered fondly with, if he decides to walk away in 2014.
However, a famous cup win for the 64-year-old could rejuvenate “Le Boss” and serve as an impetus for him to take this team to greater heights. He’ll also get the chance to finally complete his current construction of a successful team. He’s already built a strong core and we’re only a couple of Mesut Ozil-esque additions away from mounting a sustained assault on all fronts, in the coming seasons.
Arsene deserves another silverware moment.
After a highly promising start to the season, it looked like it could finally be our year. Disaster struck in mid-season but we’ve done well to stay in the FA Cup, despite playing a few top sides along the way.
Like most cup-winning sides, we’ve ridden our luck a few times and we’ve not stepped out of London in our bid to win the competition for a record 11th time. Five other highly significant EPL encounters lie ahead after Saturday’s Wembley date, which nicely coincides with the return of key players. Now it’s time to roll up our sleeves and take the bull by the horns, because all we’ve got left are cup finals.