So what a roller coaster of a year 2014 has been then.
After being the form team of 2013, with just 5 league defeats in the calendar year, we entered 2014 top of the league and with out 1st realistic chance of winning the league since 2007/08.
After winning the first 3 games of 2014, Arsenal then went on a run of just 3 wins in 11 league games. The league title was thrown away.
A heavy defeat at Liverpool where we were 4-0 down after 20 minutes was closely followed by a 6-0 defeat to Chelsea were we again conceded 4 in the first half.
The low point was against Everton at Goddison Park where we did not get in the game and were comprehensively played off the park. When Mikel Arteta put the ball into his own net, the fire exit doors were kicked off their hinges and fans exited on mass. It was only 61 minutes gone.
At that point, we had gone from title contenders to top 4 being no longer in our hands. It was not good enough.
We managed to rally ourselves for the last 5 games of the season, gaining 15 from 15 and only conceding one goal, taking full advantage of Everton cracking under the pressure to finish 7 points ahead of the Toffee’s. A final league position of 4th meant we had once more qualified for the Champions League (Qualifiers).
The Champions League was very much ‘same again’. Punished for finishing 2nd with a draw against Bayern Munich saw us exit at the Round of 16 stage. Missed penalties, sending off’s and an injury to Ozil made it a campaign to forget.
Throughout the heartache of the league, Arsenal were ticking over nicely in the FA Cup.
Four home ties in a row led us to the Semi-Final, meaning we had the potential to win the Cup without ever leaving London.
We made it hard for ourselves in the Semi-Final against Wigan, needing an 82nd minute equalizer. The match went to penalties, where January signing Kim ‘Broken Back’ Kallstrom made his only significant contribution in an Arsenal shirt.
The FA Cup Final weekend was a thing of greatness. From hitting the White Swann on Highbury Corner at 11am, the high of walking up Wembley Way to the low finding ourselves 2-0 down within 8 minutes.
The roar that came with Santi Cazorla’s sublime free-kick was repeated with Koscielny’s equalizer taking the game into extra time.
The 108th minute is one engraved into every fans mind. That is the moment Aaron Ramsey won the cup. The Arsenal crowd went mental, 10 years of hurt over.
The party went on until late Sunday evening, where many fans would have found themselves in Highbury, wearing the same clothes as the day before, trying to work out what had happened in the last 36 hours.
It was a thrilling end to what had up to that point been a disappointing calendar year.
At some point (I forget when) the club informed the fans that they would be rising ticket prices by 3%. This mystified many, with hundreds of millions in the bank untouched, did they really need another £3 million?
The rise went through with very little protest – we as fans let ourselves down – and it was only later when a company owned by Stan Kroenke was paid £3 million for consultancy services that all became clear. Greed reared its ugly head once more and is quickly killing our great club.
During the World Cup, Arsene Wenger came in for a lot of criticism for being out in Brazil commentating rather than trying to improve his squad. But being out in Brazil seemed to be the right decision. Where else would you be able to sit down for dinner with the worlds best players and their agents?
In duty free, Wenger picked up Alexis Sanchez, Mathieu Debuchy and David Ospina. With Calum Chambers following, was this the light at the end of the tunnel? Arsenal winning trophies and spending money. The future was bright. Right?
Wrong. What should have been the beginning of a transfer window was also practically the end. With just Danny Welbeck joining on the last day, it left us short of a centre back and defensive midfielder.
With Thomas Vermaelen leaving for Barcelona (good deal) the promised centre back replacement never materialised, and boy did we end up paying.
The second half of the calendar year has been very much like the 1st. A couple of wins, a couple of draws, a couple of defeats. No real substantial run. Out of the title race in October, no victories against other top sides and disappointing results against the worst Tottenham and Manchester United sides seen in decades.
Injuries hampered the sides progress, but we only had ourselves, or Wenger, to blame, for leaving the squad dangerously thin.
Two 1st choice Centre backs, a 19 year old right back and a useless left back was our cover in the middle. And the world and his oyster could have predicted we would suffer injuries at the back, and low and behold, we did, and it has killed our season before it even really began.
In the Champions League, another season finishing second in the group actually worked out OK, with a tie against Monaco on the horizon.
Anger peaked in December with Wenger feeling the rath of fans anger at Stoke Train Station. This could be a sneak preview into what 2015 brings.
The fans split more than ever, many having more animosity to the manager and board than ever and people basically just not enjoying going to football anymore.
I feel we are only ever 1 defeat away from mass protests.
2014 could have been the year we saw change. unfortunately we failed to build on an FA Cup win and a good start to the transfer window, and it has left a bitter taste in many fans memory.
What will 2015 bring? Well with the title race over, out of the League Cup, and winning the Champions League unlikely, an FA Cup run and finishing 4th is all we really have to look forward too. Great!
Have a good one guys, and hopefully 2015 we see changes at the club!
Up The Arsenal