Nine matches left in the Prmier League to dethrone Leicester City and leap ahead of Tottenham Hotspur, a probable exit in the UEFA Champions League at the hands of Barcelona impending, and an FA Cup quarter final against Watford at the weekend is what Arsenal have to think about for the rest of the season. Like most, this season has had its ups and downs, but this years seem more amplified. It was the 2-1 win over the Foxes which had everyone saying that the team would kick on and win the league, or the poor performances against what was essentially a Manchester United youth side, that had everyone calling Wenger out. The ship was steadied after the 4-0 thrashing of Championship side Hull City. As Theo Walcott, who had a brace against Hull, revealed, this comes on the back of a players only meeting. Nevertheless, even with the club in great position to win its unprecedented third straight FA cup, a likely Champions League exit to the defending European champions is in the near future and the team is still 8 points behind in the title race.
This brings us to the topic of much debate in recent years, especially this one, what will define success this season. Is it a third straight FA Cup? Or top two in the league?
Two years ago, with the club and its supporters yearning for a trophy, the dramatic FA cup win against Steve Bruce’s side came as a nice relief. It gave the fans something to celebrate and the players a sense of accomplishment. Many tipped it as the stepping stone to winning the league and maybe even the Champions League. The season after, the club once again fell flat in Europe with a very poor display against a Monaco team that should have been beaten (but that’s another topic for another time). In the league, the Gunners had their typical slow start and Chelsea ran away with it. That left the FA Cup and of course, the team did well and this time, in much less dramatic fashion, they won the cup. All was good and happy, but celebrations were definitely not the same. Still, the team finds itself on an incredible run of form in the competition, 1,116 days unbeaten and primed to win the competition once again. But this year, it simply won’t be enough.
Those two FA Cups were nice, and of course it would be wonderful to win yet another and make modern day history, but that is not enough. This club has an amazing history, a history that includes double winning teams and, of course, the Invincibles. This season, the fans have held Wenger and his team to higher standards are rightly so. Midway through the season, it was clear to everyone, this was Arsenal’s time. Chelsea somewhere mid table, both Manchester clubs struggling, this was the year Wenger and the team would capitalise. Enough with celebrating a secondary domestic trophy, the Arsenal were going to win the league. January 12th, Arsenal sat two points clear of Leicester City at the top. Fans were buzzing and so was the team. Then the House of Cards fell.
This year, there are no excuses. Winning the league is a must. That is what success is, and if that is not the standard the supporters of this club or even the manager hold this club to, they are wrong. Arsenal are a powerhouse of English football, and it’s time the club and everyone involved started believing it.
United, City or Chelsea would not accept simply a third consecutive FA Cup. Even more so this year, considering the open nature of the league. Leicester and Spurs are ahead of Arsenal, not City, not United, not Chelsea. This was and still is the perfect time of Arsenal to reclaim their throne at the top of English Football. There is still a lot of football to play, nine in the league and possibly three more in the FA Cup, but if the team only manage to win the FA Cup again and finish in the all to regular fourth, this season should be regarded a failure.
Success this year only comes in one form, lifting the Premier League trophy.