This year is Arsenal’s year

Published: August 5, 2014
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Recently, the players’ below-par performances against the top teams have proved to be a damaging sign for Arsenal and Wenger. PHOTO: REUTERS

During the 2014 World Cup, a picture of Arsene Wenger went viral across social media in which he was caught playing football on a beach in Rio de Janeiro. The moment it caught the public’s eye, there was a wave of anger and disgruntlement amongst the Arsenal supporters (including myself), because by that time their rival clubs, Manchester City, Chelsea and Manchester United were active in the market and signing some talented, quality players.

When it was looking like another frustrating transfer window for Arsenal fans, Wenger, out of nowhere, pulled off a sensational coup of Alexis Sanchez from Barcelona which just showed that he was in fact putting together the missing pieces of the jigsaw of his Arsenal squad, albeit secretly. His stay at Brazil further strengthened the team as he went on to sign two of the World Cup performers – Mathieu Debuchy as a flamboyant right back to replace the departing Bacary Sagna and David Ospina as a solid and talented goalkeeper. He also signed a young Southampton defender, Calum Chambers, who very well might become the star of the future.

Alexis Sanchez and Mathieu Debuchy

Calum Chambers and David Ospina

After an impressive performance during last year’s Champions League and this year’s World Cup, Wenger also recalled prospect Joel Campbell and has clearly said that he has a promising future at the club, showing that he is completely ready to take last season’s FA Cup win forward and start competing for the title once again. Also, because of the growing injury issues that have been haunting the club for a long time, Arsenal has also acquired the services of Shad Forsythe, a fitness expert who worked with the Germany team and can hopefully end the misery of the constant injuries of the team players.

Joel Campbell. Photo: Reuters

An unusually positive stance in the transfer market has ignited a stance of optimism amongst the club and its fans. Sanchez would certainly add an extra dimension to Arsenal’s attack as he can play on the flanks and also upfront, which would give the opponent tough competition when coupled with the club’s head-on striker, Olivier Giroud.

Even though Arsenal had a tough last season while trying to adjust Mesut Ozil, their record signing, into the premier league whilst trying to match his extraordinary skills with the pace of Sanchez, Theo Walcott and Alex Chamberlain, this might be the season we start seeing the best of him. Aaron Ramsey had a spectacular 2013/14 season, and the expectations have risen that the Welshman can put up an even better show this time around.

(L)Calum Chambers with Theo Walcott. (R) Alex Chamberlain

Recently, the players’ below-par performances against the top teams have proven to be a damaging sign for Arsenal and Wenger. Last season, because of those lacklustre performances, Arsenal ended up taking the fourth position, despite being at the top for majority of the season. In order to compete for the title and present a challenge to their opponents, they will need to work hard if they want to take home the title.

This summer, however, has already been a sign of optimism and has started to reveal that they have serious commitments towards winning a major trophy. Considering they have started to buy players from the likes of Real Madrid and Barcelona, and are still in the market to further strengthen their current team, I believe that they are ready to compete for the major honours. Gone are the days when we would be happy claiming the fourth rank; gone are the days when we sell our best players to our rivals; gone are the days when Arsenal fans used to hear their rival fans chanting,

“Nine years without a trophy…”

Arsenal wins the 2005 FA Cup against Manchester United. Photo: Reuters

I hope this is the year we break that curse and win. We finally have a squad that is competitive to the likes of Chelsea and Manchester City. Let’s go Arsenal, let’s start winning the major titles.

Gunners till I die!

Ali Salman

Ali Salman

A proud Pakistani student currently doing his BBA from SZABIST, Ali is very passionate about sports. His interests include music and playing the guitar. He tweets as @aliwazirali twitter.com/AliWazirali

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Saad

    Wenger has been putting the jigsaw pieces together every season for 10 years now. Plus you are forgetting that Mourinho is rebuilding Chelsea’s formation, City has a limitless shopping limit, and van Gaal who can arguably turn Man United around to become champions once againRecommend

  • Hamza

    “This year is Arsenal’s year” is what Arsenal fans have been saying since the past decade. Took you people nine years to win a trophy…..and that too the FA Cup. Arsenal is going to end up right where they have been since the past 8 years. Fourth place.Recommend

  • Critical

    I’ve seen this article somewhere…Oh yeah…around same time last year….

    Arsenal fans crack me up every year,their level of optimism is undying and they would rather have u arrested under blasphemy for talking bad of Wenger

    Timeline of Arsenal fans

    May :We are going to sign Messi,Ronaldo,Ibra,Sachin Tendulkar,Maria Sharapova in our team

    August :So what we didnt sign big players,we are Arsenal,we create players not buy them (rather poach from other academies)

    October : Our signings are top notch and we are definitely going to win the league

    January : We have cleared the group stages and now we are targetting quadruple

    February :What is happening

    March :Holy ……

    April : We should target 4th place and get that UCL spot this year

    May: We have achieved our target but we have done it without spending anything….u clubs will go bankrupt and we will win the league that time…. Next year is our year…..Recommend

  • Abuzar Jamil

    Arsenal are a good attacking side but when it comes to defense they are shackled and I don’t see any quality defensive signing in this window.They were humiliated last year by the top teams.Recommend

  • ahmed

    dream on!!Recommend

  • Ali Salman

    1) The only difference between years ago when we used to get linked with thousands of players then and players linked now, is the fact that we ACTUALLY are getting these players. I wouldn’t have thought Arsene to spend 63 million pounds in 18 days, in fact, nobody would have.

    2) Like mentioned already the major hurdles Arsenal have had in the past couple of years is our poor run against the top teams, our constant injuries and the lack of depth in the squad. If you look at the squad this year, we actually have a better squad. Deeper in number, as well as quality. To get rid of the injuries issue we have a world class fitness expert from Germany hired especially to get rid of these.
    I know the trolls and the usual stick from the rival fans won’t ever stop, and the fact that I have been an anti Wenger for the past 3 years, I can completely agree the 4th place mentality is an absolute joke. This year, we can see some kind of an ambition from Arsenal and Arsene Wenger, which I haven’t seen in a long time from him. You were laughing at us when we couldn’t anything last year, we won the FA Cup. (FYI it’s a trophy, if you don’t call it a trophy, I’m sorry you’re delusional). I hope they do it again this year and win a titleRecommend

  • Ali Salman

    Abuzar, Arsenal had the second best defensive record in the league last season, behind Chelsea. More than half of the goals they conceded were against the big teams. So, their defence was solid last year. However, they were caught napping against the bigger teams and their mental block against such teams is the reason why we lost almost every game, and conceded so heavily.Recommend

  • Racer

    All of you who’re bashing Arsenal obviously have very little knowledge about how the club is run. The new stadium meant that there was a huge debt that had to be paid that in turn negatively affected the club in the transfer market. Only a manager of Wenger’s calibre could keep the club in the top 4 throughout this period with the kind of finances he had. But times are changing now. Arsenal are a lot more stronger financially which means that they can buy top players in the market. The signing of Özil last year was a proof of that. One top signing and the trophy drought ended. This season there have been a few top signings already with maybe one or two expected in the near future.

    Compare this with other clubs. City and Chelsea were no way on the radar before they were bought and money started pouring in. Liverpool has also lost its position on the top in the past few years. And United were exposed as soon as Fergie retired. Arsenal has already passed through its rough patch gracefully. Now the graph will only be going up!Recommend

  • John Frank Zola

    Unfortunately,you are showing your ignorance in football by saying Chelsea and City were no where before takeover… Its right for City but Chelsea were battling in Europe even before Abramovich took over…
    They had stars like Zola,Desailly,Rudd Gullit,Hasselbank,Gudjohnsen,Le Saux who though werent the best but promised good entertaining football….
    They had one of the highest overseas fan before 2003…

    BTW,Arsenal were synonymous to boring football in 80s and 90s and people used to comment that winning 2-0 at Highbury was a miracle ..So think next time before telling Chelsea as boring footballRecommend

  • Ali Salman

    Okay, so it was okay for Chelsea to compete for Europe only despite having so many big players, and it is a joke for Arsenal to compete for Europe without such big names? You’re contradicting yourself here mate.
    It was difficult to see a 2-0 win at Highbury during the George Graham era, because after scoring one, they used to go back and defend. Something what Chelsea does brilliantly well when they face bigger teams. “PARKING THE BUS” is what Jose uses so often.
    Chelsea won just a single league title before Abrahomavic came in and that was in 1954-55. If they had big players like Zola, Gullit, why couldn’t they win the league back then? Arsenal despite being “BORING” won 12 titles before Abrahomavic came in.
    PS. If you will come here and say that Chelsea has won a Champions League, which makes Chelsea better than Arsenal, Nottingham Forest has won 2 Champions League titles, so they’re a better team than Chelsea?
    Without Abrahomavic, Chelsea were nothing, yes NOTHING.Recommend

  • Umar

    Lol Chelsea, Arsenal and Man City fans talking about winning the title. Poor souls don’t know that Manchester United, the biggest club in the world; I might add, is going to trump them. I won’t name the players we have that the writer has named, although we have the best strikers and no. 10s in the league and you know that, because we fight as a team, with a great manager. Our Hiatus is over. You will all be again forever in our shadowsRecommend

  • John Frank Zola

    You are the one who is contradicting himself…You said that “Compare this with other clubs. City and Chelsea were no way on the radar before they were bought and money started pouring in”

    I just said that Chelsea werent a midtable club but someone who were in regular contention in Europe…

    ” If they had big players like Zola, Gullit, why couldn’t they win the league back then? ”
    Other than Zola,players like Gullit,Vialli,Desailly etc joined Chelsea after their glorious campaign in Europe’s elite and were on the decline..

    Chelsea was playing with limited purse money and had to make bargain buys like what Everton is doing right now,while Arsenal were regularly breaking transfer records signing big money players…

    Its just the question of money,noone questions when Jack Walker literally bought an EPL for Blackburn or when Manchester United used to break transfer records consistenly between later 1980s to early 2000s.. Chelsea didnt have money when Arsenal had and now its the vice versa….Recommend