A season that promised so much, delivered almost nothing but finally delivered something. The season started for Arsenal on a promising note after the Gunners splashed the cash in the transfer market on talented left back from the Scottish League, Kieran Tierney and smashed their transfer record to bring in exciting Ivorian winger, Nicholas Pepe from Lille. It looked like the Gunners were finally not just ready to finish in the top 4 but to also engage in a tussle for the title.
There was little or no excuse for their Spanish manager, Unai Emery, he was expected to do better after his first season where he “narrowly” missed a top 4 finish and got to the Europa league final. It was believed that with adequate signings, he could do better. Arsenal are not known to be heavy spenders in the market but the hierarchy did their best to bolster the squad with the additions of Pepe, Tierney and Luiz.
The first half of the season was a disaster, strings of draws and expected losses in the Premier League and Capital One Cup brought Emery’s reign to an abrupt end and Ljungberg did not fare any better in interim capacity. In came Arteta to face a monstrous challenge of redeeming things; bring Arsenal up the table, take the goal difference from negative to positive and make Europe.
Definitely, winning a title was not part of the script handed to Arteta. Who would have thought that the Gunners that were low on confidence on and off the pitch could go all the way in the oldest trophy in England? Arteta hit the ground running, got the players thinking straight again, desire restored and competition for places returned. Arsenal’s league form was far from convincing and the jury was out for Arteta after Arsenal were bundled out of the Europa League by little fancied Olympiakos. Arteta kept his focus and it seems it has paid off.
Arsenal might have finished 8th in the league, the lowest position since like forever but a record 14th FA Cup win has put a wool on that wound and breathe some life into a campaign that was considered dead, buried and never to be exhumed.
With the FA Cup win, Arsenal are back in Europe and have access to some more funds which would help Arteta in his rebuilding process. The Arsenal project is far from perfect but knowing what to do is key in completing the project. The win would go a long way in not only positively impacting the finances of the club but also convincing the biggest name in the team, the FA Cup hero, Pierre Emeric Aubamenyang to stay.
Besides financial expectations which is touted to be 250,000 pounds weekly wage demands, the Gabonese lethal forward wants to see ambition on the pitch. Arsenal have shown that by winning the FA Cup trophy. They not only have a cup in the bag, they also have a ticket to the dine at the table of top clubs. Europe is a big deal whether Champions League or Europa League.
Arsenal are champions of a major trophy and deserve to celebrate but they must not gloss over the fact that the team still needs strengthening. This is the time to delve into the market and get the needed signings. The signs are good but the right things must be done. Wenger was the past, Emery was a distraction but Arteta looks the future and with the right players, it might just be a bright one.