Has Arsenal’s roller-coaster season still got one turn left? (Opinion)

Arsenal’s season has been exhaustingly full of extreme lows and surprisingly high highs, but I’m not holding out for any more surprise.
Guest post by Sarah Rohan

The end of the season is nearly here and to be honest I can’t wait for the summer break. I need a rest from watching our team. It’s been a draining season. We have been the most sporadic team in the league.

Here’s my recap on our season.

The beginning of the season losing three games in a row, including our embarrassing loss to newly promoted Brentford and huge loss to Manchester City. Then we went into an eight-game unbeaten run and including winning games in the EFL Cup.

Then back to reality meeting Liverpool and realising that our team isn’t up there with the top teams yet. Although we could see the promising signs of our youngsters.

Then we went onto some mixed results but still in both cups. Happy days!

Oh dear, in the space of a month we were knocked out of both cups, by an impressive Nottingham Forest team in the FA Cup and by Liverpool in the EFL. No excuses in the FA Cup as we were poor. Against Liverpool though we were the better team, unfortunately the disciplinary issues reared their ugly head again.

Also, the same month the transfer window where we shipped out the ‘deadwood’ but brought in a goalie from the states. I think supporters were 50/50 on the decision not to bring in reinforcements. I for one thought it was a mistake not bolstering the team.

So now we have a minimal squad who we must rely on week in week out playing regularly. It made a difference to our team unity and the support of the fans. The departure of one player in particular seemed to bring the closeness and moral back for our players.

We went onto a six-game run of no losses this time, and everyone was excited about how our team were playing. Even the doubters started to come round to the team, although hesitatingly maybe.

Then oh dear once more the Scousers came to town and another disappointing loss. Hold our heads up once more! We wasn’t expected to beat one of the big teams anyway as we are in a ‘process’

Onwards and upwards, the 4th spot is still in our sights we just have to win the easier games out of the next five. Well, we all know what happened there. Three losses to Palace, Brighton and Southampton. How was this possible? What is wrong with us?! Say goodbye to top-four place now. Even though we never expected a CL spot and we would be happy with top six earlier in the season…

Then we faced our tougher teams. We have no chance here. How will we win when we’ve just been thrashed by the more mediocre teams?

Well, lo and behold we smash Chelsea, Manchester Utd and top it off West Ham. Top four which we didn’t expect to have a chance at is in our grasp once again. We even beat Leeds for good measure.

So four points clear of S###s! The huge North London derby, we win we are in Europe. Well in my opinion the occasion didn’t get to us it got to the ref.

Light pen decision and how did VAR not get involved in one decision in our game? Mike Dean of all people was the official in the room. But VAR was involved in the pen decision against Burnley? That still baffles me.

Being down to ten-men saw Tottenham spank us. They now were two points in front. But we still needed to win our last two games and we snatch the illusive fourth spot. Destiny was in our hands still and you’d think the team would be fully up to it!

Last night came against Newcastle and to be honest I had no hope before we started. I just had a bad feeling and felt no excitement before the game. The Toon had nothing to play for but their fans. We had the pressure and we dropped like a sack of spuds.

I was actually disgusted in the way we played. No fight, no ideas, tired players. Where was the team spirit? One of our top players of the season Tomiyasu was left for dust quite a bit and he obviously came back too early. The long arduous season had caught up with us again. It was like going back to our first three games.

Top four is now out of our hands, and we need a miracle from Norwich. A Pukki hattrick, Kane or Son getting a red and Conte throwing in the towel would be ideal.

But we also need to win so I don’t hold out much hope. So, I’ve accepter that we will be in the Europa League next season.

To sum up our season. Inconsistent and sporadic from the team, the results, the manager and the supporters.

What do I hope for next season?
Many articles ago I said Arteta will be here to stay whether we like it or not, and his recent contract says that will prove true.

We now have to hope the owners give Mikel the money to buy the players. Hope we buy the right players. Hope that players will want to come to us. Probably ship out some more players that are unlikely to play regularly. I think we know who they are!

Pray that Arteta doesn’t fall out with anymore players.
Plead with him for no more strange tactics. Have hope that after two seasons he will gain from experience and lead our team into next season with more consistency.

For me I’ll trust in Arteta and ‘the process’ one more season. If the same happens next season I will have run out of excuses to keep him, and he will have to go. I’ll even go and drag him out myself.

If you don’t hear from me after the next game. I’m probably drowning my sorrows somewhere, that THEY have finished above us apparently seven seasons in a row. Somebody pass me the sick bucket!!

The only good thing is they still haven’t won anything!

Until next time Gooners!

Tags Early season review


  1. Fair enough. The new contract is signed so, he has all of next season to pull a rabbit out of his hat. Even though I doubt he can or will, but I’m still hoping he can and will, for the sake of the club.
    On the job training period is over. Time to put on his big boss boots and kick it with the best and the rest. Here’s hoping…

  2. Even if somehow Spuds lose against Norwich to make us get the UCL ticket, we still don’t deserve it. It’d be better if we move upwards slowly, since our squad quality is still not on a par with Liverpool’s and Man City’s

    As for next season, the expectation should be the fourth place. I bet there’s a clause that allows Kroenke to sack Arteta if he can’t meet that target

    1. To get on par with the like of Liverpool and Man C would take us at least five years. And, that’s if we bring in someone of Klopp’s or Pep’s experience. Add to that, a club willing to spend money on the best they can afford. That isn’t going to happen. So, you can expect more slow growth and pain from here on in..

      1. Yes. I think we’ll see many youngsters get promoted next season, instead of buying a lot of senior players

  3. For me, it was quite clear we would crumble when it mattered.

    Just as it is now clear to me that we will be further from 4th place next season.

    Had Partey and Tierney and Tomiyasu not gotten injured during the run-in, I’m pretty sure we would have gotten 4th. But because we have such a thin squad Europe league will drop us down the table next season as a result of players being overloaded and injured. Spurs will get stronger, Liverpool and City are out of our reach and quite likely Chelsea, Man U, and a few others (West Ham, Newcastle) will outdo us as well.

    Arteta has to deliver progress in the first part of the season he can not be given a whole season.

    5th is not a bad result but the way in which we reached it should give cause for concern IMO. We closed the season extremely poorly.

    I think we should sell Partey and get a more reliable replacement. When fit he is an asset to this squad but like so many Arsenal players you can rely on him being availble.

    1. We had our chance this season and blew it. BIG TIME!. When other clubs were faltering around us we should have cemented our place.

      So, when MA and Edu decided to “streamline” the squad in January without additions coming in we were always relying on players staying fit. Well, if MA and the club didn’t see our fitness being an issue, they must have had their heads in the sand for the last decade!

      1. For me, the biggest failure was not bringing in a striker or some goals from another position in December/January.

        Our biggest weakness was our inability to score goals.

        1. I agree that not having an effective striker was a major problem. This was compounded by the general lack of squad depth.
          It is possible to compete effectively with a relatively lean squad but in my view that only works if you have top quality in most positions.
          Several of the players we have been relying on would not be guaranteed starters at any of several mid and lower table teams.
          The aggressive trimming of the squad was the biggest error of judgement. This has meant that players have been rushed back and some have, at times, played in less preferred roles. The thin squad also limits your options when trying to make tactical adjustments.

      2. I agree,even if we finish 5th ,I don’t care what others say,this season will be seen as missing on top 4,we were even closing on 3rd not so long ago.i believe that we are no longer in a position to call the spuds “bottlers”,we are worse than them now, it’s official!

    2. Arteta must finish top 4 or get sacked. The money, the control, and the patience has been there for him.

      If he can’t deliver top 4 next season, they why did we sack Wenger or Emery? Time he is held accountable, time to deliver or go.

  4. If by a fluke we finish 4th, then we deserve it. If we finish 5th then that’s what we deserve. Hopefully the club can get all the players in the Summer that they want and we can then move on and hopefully improve, along with some of our fans.

  5. its the arrogance in this squad, and ultimately the arrogance of the manager. He said with a straight face he was fine with no additions. Second Jan window shut I said top 4 was lost. Every Jan window when Arsenal SHOULD be doing something, we do nothing. Same story when we had the chance to win the league 15/16 season but Giroud became a ghost and Ozil was robbed owning the assist record. This is the banter era of this club. After yesterday I’m really just drained. See you all in August. I’m not interested in a single transfer rumor because everything we do will just not be good enough. I’ll only be making one more post until next season starts and it will be about our dear manager, who I said I will make my final judgement on when the season is over. And that’s merely to keep my word. Not because I think Spurs are going to drop points. Or I should rather be saying that I think we are even good enough to get three points this weekend, because we aren’t.

  6. The truth is nobody has been consistent this season, teams seem to have been trying to avoid the champions league. United have been a total disaster, Spurs and Arsenal not much better. In the end the difference may have come down to Spurs signing Kulusevski and Bentacur mid season. They both hit the ground running. The competition for top four is only going to increase next season, especially as Newcastle’s oil money begins to kick in.

    1. I agree that our January business was poor, and that has been part of the problem, but it’s key injuries, at a key point of the season that has really cost us.

      Losing the odd player here or there is to be expected for all teams, but to lose so many key players, at the same time to long-term injuries, and losing our only world class player (Partey), has killed us.

      Some injuries we could have absorbed. E.g. If Xhaka was out, Elneny steps in, if Martinelli is out, ESR steps in, etc, and there isn’t a big difference. But the the gap in quality between Tavares and Tierney, is staggering. Likewise, Tomiyasu and Cedric, and Elneny/Lokonga and Partey.

      Some say injuries are just an excuse, but would Spurs be in 4th right now if either one of Son or Kane missed the last 2/3 months? Imagine if both of them were out?

      1. We might have been able to deal with trimming the squad in January,had MA used squad rotation better,TP and other could have avoided injuries.he could have used Elneny sooner,the guy hadn’t had a game up to a month ago.when we were winning,he had many opportunities to take off some of our best players off and give squad player some playing time,20 minutes here and there may not look much but if you add it up,it does make a difference.

        1. Actually I agree with your statement about bringing on subs, but the fact is that we weren’t winning games easily enough to give others a run out….

          1. My bad, you’re right Pat, we’ve had a fair number of very tense end of games,this season to bring on subs.

            1. But surely, if we’re not winning games, or it’s very tight – wouldn’t one bring on subs to try and change the game?

          2. Agree with Pat
            Also, when you consider the players on the bench from game to game one can see why players are not given “20 minutes” when we are trying on hold on to a lead.
            Also, remember a number of players regularly needed to be replaced in any case. Lacazette, a prime example. Whenever, he plays the manager has to factor in that he will need to be replaced after 60 minutes. This will limit the other substitutions that can be made.

      2. Jonbo a very apt point you make about our key injuries, esp when compared to Spurs lack of key injuries.

        I like that you qualified that by mentioning the lack of incoming players in JAN, which has meant that too few fit players have played too many games. MANY Gooners had amply warned MA of the mistake in reducing our squad numbers without replacing ANY AT ALL.

        IMO, THAT MISTAKE has been the biggest factor in our failure to make top four, which miracles apart, has already happened, effectively speaking.

  7. I’m so disappointed with Arsenal, always floppy when it matters,
    Secondly Arteta needs to buy players with Stamina, we failed because we were too lightweight ,

  8. Here is the nightmarish scenario that would kill me and many Arsenal fans: Norich miraculously beat Spurs, but we also lost to Everton!
    So let’s hope Spurs beat Norwich because the other side of the scenario is likely.

  9. Wouldn’t surprise me if Everton turn up and roll us over on Sunday, with [sulky] Richarlison scoring, or even DCL, as I don’t rate him!
    But as the pressure is now off and our season is over, it would be typical of Arsenal to put in a stupendous performance scoring 4 goals and keeping a clean sheet – something we’ve not done in a while!

    Wouldn’t it be nice to head into a game feeling 100% certain we’ve got this!! Can’t remember when that last happened 😄

  10. Arsenal roller-coaster season might just got one turn left to it. But the one turn and twist which could be left to it are not totally in Arsenal hand. But also are dependent on another team’s hand to fully fail. And for Arsenal to capitalized on the team’s full failing by getting a full result on the final day of the season.

    So therefore, let’s pray and hope to see things go to Arsenal favour on that final day of the season next Sunday.

    But I must say I don’t understand how come that the Gunners failed to turn up in their very very important last away match to Newcastle Utd? This their failing to turn up in the match as they all know how crucial the match is to Arsenal to win it baffled me beyond comprehension.

    Granit Xhaka has talked on how his colleagues failed woefully in the match for Arsenal. This is unprecedented. More importantly as the team failed to play to the agreed match plan and the coach’s instructions. But why? What is the problem in the Gunners team and in the dressing room? Have the Gunners done this their lackluster performances for Arsenal away to Spurs and Newcastle Utd deliberately on purpose to hurt Arteta and consequently hurt Arsenal as well? Or what? Incompetence perhaps? But show of incompetency on the high amount of the wages they are earning at Arsenal? Practically unacceptable I will say a million times.

  11. A decent and broadly accurate summation of this frustrating season Sarah.

    One small grammatical error which jars is when you use ” we wasn’t”, instead of the correct” we weren’t”!

    People who aspire to be writers need to be able to use at least basic English correctly. Hope you don’t mind me pointing out this small niggle.

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