By Scott C. Mossman
Ever since Danny Welbeck scored the winner at Old Trafford, this season has become all about the FA Cup. That’s not a bad thing, by the way. Winning two consecutive FA Cups is no disappointment. Disagree? Consider how many seasons Arsenal Football Club has ever seen that were more successful than a season where the only achievement was an FA Cup triumph. First, you’ve got all the league title winning seasons. There have been 13 of those and that includes the doubles in ’71, ’98, and ’02. Then there’s the cup double in ’93 when we won both the FA Cup and the League Cup. Finally, there’s the Cup Winners Cup in ’94 (apologies to those of you with fond memories of the Fairs Cup, but this blogger isn’t having that). That’s 15 seasons I think we can say the club has achieved more than a single FA Cup title. That’s 15 in more than 125 years of existence. Do you like apples?
I know a lot of supporters are upset about going out of the Champions League before the quarters once again, but we were never going to win the CL this season even if Wenger had made the defensive signings we desperately needed in the summer. Consider the 2006 team that went to the CL Final. We had won trophies in ’02, ’03, ’04, and ’05 leading up to that run. There were also the experienced players from the great ‘90s teams such as Tony Adams, Lee Dixon, Ray Parlour, and David Seaman in the team at the beginning of that run. Winning a single FA Cup in 10 years isn’t the foundation for rebuilding a European power which is precisely why it is so important to get back to winning trophies, any trophies (not the charity shield), consistently. If the club regains what so many pundits call a ‘habit of winning’ and builds on the fantastic team we already have this summer, then that can only bode well for next season and beyond.
What if we don’t win the cup this season? Is this a failure? I think it is, but I don’t think it means time on Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal career. Despite the fact he let us down in the summer transfer window, the team is better than it has been in a good few years. You have to give him credit for signing Alexis, Welbeck, Ozil, and Gabriel in the last couple of years, tying down a number of our top players to long term contracts, and even recalling Coquelin. Coquelin was brought back from loan due to injury crisis, but it was Wenger and his scouts and coaches who brought him into the club in the first place so many years ago.
It’s easy to talk about what Arsenal haven’t gotten right this season, but what we still have to play for is so much better than what we won between 2006-2013 combined. The future looks brighter than it has in years and I think next season is probably the correct season to judge Wenger’s future as I do think we should expect to win the league. Let’s just wait until June before we start talking about that.
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