It was not much more than a year ago, but I remember it like yesterday; Arsenal had somehow managed to go two goals behind to Hull City before 10 minutes were on the clock and but for a goal line clearance from Kieran Gibbs, we could have been staring down the barrel of yet another failure in a major final.
It felt as though we had blown it and that the nerves and the pressure of ending that horrible wait for a trophy had gotten to the players, but as we know the lads did us proud; fighting hard and finally showing the class we knew they were capable of and the mental strength and fighting qualities that had been called into question more than once.
Those battling qualities, work ethic and team spirit were put under attack again last week, when Gary Neville tore into us and said we lacked the grit and determination to win the Premier League. Arsene Wenger took exception to that and pointed to our back to back FA cup trophy wins to prove his point, as reported by the Daily Mail.
The Frenchman said, “We won the Cup last year. You don’t win the Cup unless you are mentally strong, believe me. That’s why I don’t agree with that.
“You have to respect everybody’s opinion. Pundits are just people who are filmed by a camera and give their opinion and you have to accept that but if a pundit gives an opinion and is not right in six months, nobody will come back and say: `well, why did you say that six months ago? You were completely wrong´.”
However, the facts are that Arsenal have not even been runners up in the EPL since the season after the invincibles did the seemingly impossible. While there are pretty good and well documented reasons for that, will our mental strength continue to be questioned until Wenger does steer the Gunners to the title once more? And if so, is that a fair criticism?