Arsenal’s season has been very underwhelming and the Gunners parted company with Arsene Wenger after 22 years at the helm. Here’s my end of season review.
Final league position: 6th
Europa League: Semi-finals
FA Cup: Third round
Carabao Cup: Runners-up
Top scorer: Alexandre Lacazette (14)
Arsenal’s season has been one disappointment after another. Uncertainty has been a running theme throughout with the futures of Mesut Ozil, Aaron Ramsey and others unresolved during the campaign. Ozil finally resolved his future in February and his performances have been inconsistent since he became the club’s highest earner on around £350,000 a week. The Gunners missed out on Champions League football for the second consecutive season and Arsene Wenger departed after 22 long and largely successful years. Once Wenger’s departure was confirmed, Arsenal fans came together to give him the send-off he deserved and celebrate the Frenchman’s achievements.
Rating for the season
5/10. Arsenal have been extremely poor this season and 6th place is all they deserved after a dismal campaign. Arsenal have been found wanting defensively on too many occasions with Shkodran Mustafi usually culpable. The lamentable away form since 2018 began has cast a cloud over the season. The Gunners lost seven consecutive top-flight away matches for the first time since January 1966 before finally winning away against Huddersfield on the final day of the season. Huge improvements must be made during the summer.
Rating for Arsene Wenger
5/10. This season was worse than last and that’s no mean feat. Wenger was condemned to his first FA Cup third-round exit after Nottingham Forest beat Arsenal 4-2. There were more embarrassing defeats against the likes of Stoke City and Swansea City. Arsenal finished 6th this season, their lowest finish under Arsene Wenger. It is the right time for him and Arsenal to part ways. Since announcing his departure, it’s as if a weight has been lifted off Wenger’s shoulders and he looks 10 years younger. Merci Arsene.
Alexandre Lacazette. The former Lyon striker joined for a club record fee of £46.5m. He started well, scoring on his debut at the Emirates against Leicester. For some reason, Wenger consistently took Lacazette off around the 70-minute mark and his frustration was clear to see. Then the Frenchman endured a goal drought before undergoing an operation on his left knee. Despite all the obstacles, Lacazaette finished as Arsenal’s top scorer in his first top-flight season. Now that he has become accustomed to the rigours of the Premier League, next season should be even better.
Shkodran Mustafi. £35m is a lot of money to pay for a defender who constantly struggles with the basics of defending. Countless times this season, a long ball over the top has left Mustafi helpless and resulted in a goal. The worst thing about Mustafi’s constant mistakes is that he often blames those around him rather than taking responsibility himself.
Arsenal 5-0 Burnley. There have arguably been better Arsenal matches this season but this was Arsene Wenger’s last home match at the Emirates and he was given the perfect send-off in style. From the guard of honour before the match to Arsenal’s performance and then his farewell speech. The day was all about celebrating Arsene Wenger and the team did that in style with their five-star performance.
Liverpool 4-0 Arsenal. The second of many awful away performances from the Gunners as they were humiliated at Anfield. Everything that could go wrong did go wrong as Liverpool dominated throughout. Wenger’s decision to leave then club-record signing Lacazette on the bench backfired spectacularly. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Alexis Sanchez started despite the transfer speculation surrounding them. Oxlade-Chamberlain signed for Liverpool just four days after the defeat at Anfield. Sanchez joined Manchester United in January. That match set the tone for the season that followed.
Hopes for the 2018/19 season
A new manager who can significantly improve the current players. A top-four finish. Defensive stability. Surely that’s not too much to ask for…
Featured image credit: Zakarie Faibis