It’s time for yet another trip down memory lane, and it’s a mixed one for Arsenal fans to digest. Twelve months ago today, the Gunners ensured that the race for a spot in the top four would come down to the final game of the season after they defeated Sunderland 2-0. While that, in itself, sounds like a good thing, all Arsenal fans will remember is their eventual feeling of dread when they realised they wouldn’t be competing in the UEFA Champions League after the aforementioned final game had been and gone.
The victory meant that Arsenal were one point behind Liverpool and three behind Manchester City with one game remaining, although, in terms of the Sunderland clash itself, the writing was somewhat on the wall after what can only be described as a desperate performance from Arsene Wenger’s side.
The already relegated Black Cats had nothing to lose, and as the minutes ticked away, that became more and more evident. Arsenal forced 36 shots on goal, which was a Premier League record, but it took them until the 72nd minute for Alexis Sanchez to tap in Mesut Ozil’s pass which gave them the lead.
It was clear to see that wasn’t enough, though, as Arsenal tried to push forward and score more goals as they knew goal difference could’ve wound up playing an integral factor on the final day. The Chilean magician Sanchez once again bundled the ball home after some nice build-up play from Olivier Giroud, and while a victory is hardly ever something to complain about, it still felt odd for many fans as they realised there was a very good chance they wouldn’t be playing in the Champions League for the first time in a long time.
Plus, the attendance at the Emirates spoke volumes regarding how fans felt things were going. Arsene Wenger’s future was still up in the air, and many empty seats were on display in what was a clear message from the Gunners’ faithful – get rid of the Frenchman, or we’ll stay away for good.
It took another twelve months but the board finally listened, and although they haven’t been able to re-establish their Champions League status, Arsenal fans will rest easy knowing that the dawning of a new era is upon us.
What was your favourite league memory from last season?