It may have been a disappointing season for Arsenal fans, with our 8th place finish and the prospect of not having any European football to look forward to for the first time in 25 years. But nothing was more disappointing than the way we played against Villarreal in the Europa League semis, which was the last chance for Mikel Arteta in a lot of Arsenal fans’ eyes.
But thankfully the season finally ended and other than a few good memories, we were at least given hope that Arsenal’s form since Boxing Day would have seen the Gunners finish in second place, and if we can carry on that level of form we will definitely be challenging next season.
At least now we have since had the pleasure of watching a feast of football at the Euros, albeit without too many Arsenal players involved, but with most of our transfer targets off with their international sides we haven’t seen hardly any action in the transfer market either, but we have been treated to sme brilliant matches in the last couple of weeks.
There were four Arsenal players at the Euros and the first we will look at is Kieran Tierney, who was one of the stars of the outsiders Scotland. Despite being one of the Gunners best players he would surely be picked along with the best players in the tournament if you use this handy Euro 2020 squad builder from bestbettingsites.com. Sure enough, home advantage did not help the Scots at all. The Czech Republic easily beat them 2-0 in the opening game, to the dismay of the home fans.
Then Tierney joined his team at Wembley for the big game against The Auld Enemy, and they fought out a magnificent 0-0 draw against England, to give them a chance of still going to the knockouts if they beat Croatia in the last game, but again they succumbed 3-1 at home, and Tierney was the first Arsenal player to be eliminated.
But the good news was that he took some time out of the Euros to sign a new long term contract with Arsenal to tie him down for the forseeable future. He gave Arsenal fans positive vibes for the future when he said: “I think the vision of the club, where it wants to go, and the expectations of the club [are why I signed[. Where I want to be in football is at the top. There’s no doubt about it, we’re not where we want to be just now, but we’re going in the right direction.”
Next we have our German keeper Bernd Leno, who, as expected, spent the whole of the tournament on the bench. And he could only look on as England knocked his country out in the last 16.
Our third Arsenal player in the competition was our young winger Bukayo Saka. He has been an unlikely hero and was not even expected to survive the training camp, but after scoring in the friendly warm up game against Austria (and MOTM) we were hoping to see him in action once the competition proper began.
But the youngster started on the bench for the first two games until Southgate decided to change things around against the Czech Republic in the last Group game. Saka not only started the game, but gave another Man Of The Match performance as the Three Lions easily topped the group, to set up yet another crucial game against Germans…
Although Saka was taken off after 70 minutes he was highly praised for yet another performance for his country, and the England legend Alan Shearer said after the game: “England need more players like that. He’s been so brave, when someone’s marking him tightly he still wants the ball,”
“I think he’s been our best player.”
Which is high praise indeed in such a star-studded squad, and if he carries on progressing like this he is surely a superstar of the future. In fact, only two other teenagers have played for England in the knockout stages before. One was Wayne Rooney and the other was Michael Owen. If he can emulate their careers we gave a gem on our hands..
So our last Arsenal player at the games has also been a sensation, with Granit Xhaka captaining his Switzerland side to a sensational win on penalties to knock out the World Champions France, after coming back from 3-1 down with just 15 minutes to go. He has earned plaudits from every pundit that watched the game, and maybe Arsenal fans should stop being so keen to sell our midfielder to Roma for peanuts….