Arsenal Debate: If we finish in second place – How you you grade our season?

At the start of the season our target was to qualify for the Champions League. currently 21 points ahead of 5th place we have more than achieved that objective.

The irony being that if we had just squeezed into 4th this campaign it would be deemed a success. I know Gooners who defended 5th and even 8th place finishes yet who now see 2nd as failure. How does that make sense?

Our defeat at Man City means our title destiny is no longer in our own hands leading some to say we ‘bottled it’. Some in our fan base have started to turn on certain players and even once again question Mikel Arteta’s suitably for the role. In particular the Spaniard’s ability to manage his squad when the pressure is high.

Like most things in football the truth is probably somewhere in the middle.

Runners up can’t be celebrated, given what for so long we seemed on course for, but our progress equally can’t be ignored.

When we get to the summer and the emotion wears off and you analyse the last year with a clear head, it’s undeniable the improvements the Gunners have made on the pitch, both collectively and as individuals.

Certain talent has showed their best ever form in an Arsenal shirt, some due to their manager’s tactical insight. Asking Ben White for right back to be his position every week, employing Xhaka further forward, all were masterstrokes.

As was Zinchenko’s timing of when to step into midfield from left back.

Arsenal has able to win matches in a manner they lacked for years, being able to go away from home and fight to grind out narrow victories.

Mentally though, the title race was just too big for our players with individuals going missing in April, the time of year which separates the good from the great.

Some fans are precious about any criticism, but it’s only a fair reflection where one of the youngest squads in the division stand.

Time will tell if this experience helps them to mount a challenge next season or if we fall away. It’s worth stressing that Chelsea and Liverpool surely won’t be as bad next year?

That’s the disappointment. It feels like a chance missed, with it not clear when that next opportunity will arise.

There’s nothing worse than regret. When you think we were 2-0 up at Afield and the London Stadium, Saka’s missed penalty at West Ham, Ramsdale passing the ball for Saints to score …. There are the ‘what if’ moments that will haunt us forever.

I can’t be a hypocrite. I don’t commend the Man United side who surrendered the title to Man City on goal difference, I don’t salute the Liverpool teams who finished runners up even though they recorded points in high nineties. History only remembers the winners.

In years to come we won’t look back at this as a success, but a glorious opportunity wasted.

That doesn’t mean the campaign has been a failure though.

All I ever wanted was Arsenal to be the best version of themselves and for the first time in years we have been this season. There’s nothing wrong with holding your hands up and saying you lost to a better side. Man City are simply superior to us at this moment in time, and that’s okay.

Just like a tennis player reaches a Grand Slam Final but accepts they will lose to Federer and Nadal at their best.

This season I have been proud to call myself a Gooner, proud of the football we have played, proud of the spirt by players who are very likeable.

If we finish runners up, how would you grade our season.

I’ll go for a B+

Let me know your grade in the comments.



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  1. If, as is likely, we finish runners-up to a team of cheats, then we can feel hard done by. This will be resolved in due course, but we, and by default other worthy non cheat teams will continue to be dishonestly deprived of the big prize and the money and glory associated with it.

    1. Yeah but them cheating didn’t prevent the West Ham and Saints performance
      Cheating or not , it was in our hands

        1. That’s victim mentality, jax. If we’re going to think like that, why bother at all? They didn’t cheat on the pitch that I saw, they were just better.

          1. Davi, you are aware of how they became so much better?
            The team is terrific, Pep is great, they play world class football, but the funding is dishonest. There’s currently 115 charges against them. This is the club that virtually rules the English Premier League.
            If you’re happy enough to ignore that, well, fair enough.
            I’ll stick with the “victim” option.

            1. Does that make Saka miss his pen against West Ham ?
              Does it make Party give the ball away on edge of area to Rice
              Does it make Ramsdale pass the ball for Saints to score ?

              1. Of course it doesn’t! I know we could’ve won the PL if not for ridiculous errors by our key players, and poor VAR judgements. What happened on the field is where the points were won and lost, but does not alter my contention that we are still most likely going to be second to a team that has some of the best players and manager/coach in the world due to money from illegal sources, which must contribute enormously to their overall success and in beating us twice.
                I’m now going to watch them hopefully lose to Fulham.

                1. They are not likely to lose to Fulham. But I agree, people really need to address the elephant in the room.
                  What MC have built is extremely difficult to counter and they are operating on a completely difficult level to everyone else. Most of that is related to the amount they have been able to invest in the team over several years.

              2. Yeah victim mentality which won’t solve anything.

                Poor way of thinking tbh.

                Rather focus on our own flaws that we can improve than lay blame.

                We had it in our hands and we blew it

              3. Now you picked our brightest star Saka! OMG!!It doesn’t get more worse than this.
                Kindly remember that Salah missed a penalty against us or that could have been a possible loss.
                8852 is progress (keeping in mind we were 13th with rotten apples. Don’t blame Unai he was sabotaged by those vile creatures, he has done worked miracles at Villa after Steve got the boot) rather than 124434343443256 when it was just a two horse race! Plus losing the prestigious :Top 4 trophee hehehe” twice Today we have 6 teams vying for the crown and all 20 teams having international players too. That’s how tough the modern day EPL is. This season has ben full positives and positive energy. Thank you Mikel and the lads.

                1. Loose Cannon, yes I heard there were players in the dressing room making fun of Unai Emery’s accent when he was with us. I can imagine who the main culprits were. The guy speaks numerous languages and apparently is a real scholar. He got badly treated when he was with us. I’m not even saying this in hindsight, I was always a fan of his. Again he is showing us how good he is. I imagine the Savilla fans adore him as will the Villa fans.

        2. Simples. Which other Premiership club would take Holding? Even as a squad player? Then why is he still an Arsenal player? Its more than just depth.

          1. Thank you very much l love what Arsenal have done this season.Mistakes were made that cost us the title.Arteta must learn to apply plan B when things are not going well.For example another coach will take maximum points from the Liverpool game , the Southampton game and the West Ham game.Pleasel do not mean to offend anybody.Premier League is going to be tougher next season,mark my words, Teams are going to reinforce.

          2. Because the other EPL managers are not as arrogant or stupid than our man who signed him in the first place. Well, Mikel has to trim the fat of egoism and bad attitude first. Holding is a good lad with limited skill which is much better than having a dude with a poor skill and bad attitude.
            Mikel will address the skill sets next having got rid of all the rotten apples.

          3. Holding is at best a low position Prem CB

            . Why he is STILLat our club , after all this time and after the many opportunities of the chance to replace him with better- and don’t even get me started on the seemingly outlawed(by MA) Kiwior- is one of lifes unfathomable mysteries.

            This assumes Holding is not MA or Edu’s son-in -law, which seems to me the only POSSIBLE proper explanation for his selection and for keeping him at at our club at all!

            1. Despite the cheating,,, arsenal had to go his role,,,, numbers don’t lie,, there are points that had been already counted,,, but then recklessly thrown away,,, so no blame to the cheaters,,, we better organise our side,,,
              Big congs for the achievements,, no one really thought arsenal would be here this season

      1. I agree with the post a chance wasted, chalsea, man u, Liverpool and possibly Spurs will be better next season we will be?
        Big up for 2nd place though B (it would of been higher but current fo dictates).

      2. Simples. Which other Premiership club would take Holding? Even as a squad player? Then why is he still an Arsenal player? Its more than just depth.

    2. @Jax
      They are not cheats. Superior tactics, player acquisition and man management wins out every time. Jus sayin.
      We made a dang good go at it. So, now we take stock, adjust and regroup for next seasons endeavour.

        1. A bloke wanted to kill me yesterday just because I slagged off Pep Guardiola. Just sayin’.

  2. If someone offered us this position at start of season would have bitten there hands off to take it but the position we were in and threw it all away will prob never get another opportunity as good as this to win the Premier league so there will always be big regrets over the games we should never have drawn or lost it was ours for the taking but when it came to the crunch the players bottled it and handed City the tittle on a plate!

  3. I would say9/10
    We would snap your hand of at the beginning of the season

    But the disappointment of the last few games is relevant

  4. Thing is we have been taken on a ride where our hopes have been deflated from a sky high position to getting a consolidation prize. If anything we are more primed for the beginning of the 23- 24 season than where we were at eight months ago.

  5. Arteta does not have a clear and fluid plan and the players that he purchases are not great footballers.His team selection is not great. the matches we lost or drew with lower clubs should have been wins. The team plays the way he played .Hot and cold. Arsenal needs a new manager with a bit of more driven vision and desire to win

  6. B+ sounds right. I wish we performed better in EL

    Haaland will only become more experienced next season, but De Bruyne will be 32 years old. Hopefully Man City won’t sign Maddison to succeed him

    1. Don’t you think the scar of this missed opportunity will remain for years to come especially the way we threw it away when it was in our hands..
      It was painful even though we didn’t expect this..

      1. That’s the question – will this disappointment be a driver for success in the coming years, or will it be a scar?

        1. That absolutely depend on Arteta but as far as his past record concerns then it might remain as scar because same kind of scar we had last year and this year we repeated the same thing..

      2. This season is indeed a huge miss. We could’ve won EPL, if we did double-wins against the likes of Brentford, Everton and Southampton

        However, if we did that and still lost two times against Man City, we didn’t deserve to be EPL champion. We needed to at least win once against our closest rival

  7. A Minus
    The 7 points dropped against Southampton & Everton will be the ones we regret more than against City, as we have some kind of mental barrier against them to overcome……

  8. You can’t do the same thing and expect different results’… I might be mistaken but we have been top of the league for almost the whole season. Those are results that I can be happy with. Have we fallen short at the finish line? Almost certainly, yes. Could we have tweaked our system against city to try and improve recent results? Yes! However,I put it to you all that Arteta and co are still very much involved in the process of trusting the process. In my view he’s building a team with an identity, a clear style of positive football. I believe he’s sticking to his long term plan despite the fact that we’ve massively overachiever this season. Arteta strikes me as a man who wants to teach you to fish rather than buy you a fish supper after the pub. This rigidity is frustrating as a fan, very much so…. I’ve no hair left to pull out. But this year strikes me as different. Usual end of season collapse it might be but I for one am positive. I can see this team dominating over the next few years and a part of that is Artetas absolute belief in his process. I still trust the process too, I’ve had the most enjoyable league experience I’ve had in years this year and there’s no shame coming in second to city. We’ll have them next year….

    1. Yeah your mistaken
      April/ may time is different
      Evidence was there that certain players were struggling and needed taking out of the team

    2. Finally…someone who sees it how I see it! Arsenal are almost there and will be a dominant team in next few seasons

  9. On one hand we have over achieved on the other we failed to grab an opportunity. Bitter sweet and mixed feelings.

  10. The initial objective is to qualify for champion league but with this achievement, I will give the team B+ too. The main issue here is that the team is lacking in quality and depth.

  11. I give it an eight out of ten. Collectively we have been very strong this season and individually speaking every one of our first-team players has played very well and better for the most part, so it’s a strong season for all the first-team boys. The last bit of our form accounts for the two missing from the ten, at the crunch time we could not sustain our levels, onwards and upwards hopefully, COYG!!!!!

  12. Great performances, clear and obvious growth throughout the team, solid foundation now for several years, but unfortunately overshadowed by the crumbling this month.

    Fair or not to judge a season by the last 4 games is what it is. Had it in our hands and watched it slip through like sand. Manager too little to late, leaders not leading when it was needed, and players unable to dig themselves out of a crisis.

    No way it’s graded an A, I would say a very solid B; close but not quite like horseshoes and hand grenades.

  13. This is best session ever ,we have enjoyed the moments ❤️ the boys have done their best 👌 let us appreciate where is due. North London forever 💙 Thank you Gunners for the sweet memories ❤️ ♥️ and my star boy Bukayo Saka ur the next Goat 🐐 in Line 💯🙏💙💙

  14. IMO we have never had more than a 50/50 chance of winning the league this year, so I don’t really see it as a wasted chance.
    Man C look like they will finish the season at an unbelieveable level, and we have been the only team giving them any sort of challenge.
    Our young team have come a lot closer to being potential winners, and it is proof the plan conceived and implemented by Arteta, Edu and the Kroenkes is the right way to go, if we have ambitions to win the league.

      1. Andrew that certainly isn’t rubbish. I too am worried about Newcastle. It is imperative that our lads snap out of their malaise, otherwise we will be caught. We have a tough run-in to come and the way it’s been going lately doesn’t fill me with any confidence. If Trossard doesn’t start tomorrow I’ll be well pissed off.

    1. I agree completely grandad (and this from a great grandad).

      We really need to beat Chelsea and get back to winning ways!!!

  15. A+ for me.

    Why a perfect grade if we don’t win the league? Very simple – finishing 2nd whilst putting in a genuine title challenge is an achievement NO ONE thought possible.

    On top of that, we’ve played some of the most entertaining football of any team this season with fantastic results against the big 6. So many memorable matches and epic comebacks as well.

    We did all this with the youngest team and youngest manager in the league let’s not forget.

    Even though we probably won’t win anything this season, it’s definitely been the most fun I’ve had as an Arsenal fan since the Invincibles season.

    Huge respect to Arteta and the players.

    1. I think you forgot Gary O’Neil and Rubén Sellés when you said, Arteta is the youngest manager in the EPL?

      But agreed with Arsenal been youngest squad even though we have the same avg age (24.4) with Southampton.

      I also give Arsenal B++ even though they hurt me with our tail end collapse.

  16. Says who? I don’t care if we lose twice to anyone…as long as arsenal win the league I couldn’t care less

  17. I should be wary of throwing stones. All of the major teams are in glass houses. For example, a team by the name of Arsenal owe their current top flight tenure to some dubious back stairs lobbying by our Chairman Henry Norris. The same clubs manager, one George Graham, was found guilty of taking bungs over transfers. None of the charges against City have yet been upheld. If they are, we might even become champions by default. If not…

  18. Well I will say a B+ but truth be told time came when it wasn’t about man city, it was about Gunner’s and top 4 qualification seemed not the deal but just maintaining our belief the boys kept saying no pressure was on their heads only to collapse like a storey building at once! Let God just create a miracle for us to win the league otherwise a section of fan base won’t accept it wasn’t ourselves that kissed the trophy good bye.

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