Europa League (cont.)
The knockout stages wound up being much more difficult than anyone could’ve anticipated, and when we say difficult, we mean BATE Borisov and Rennes just wouldn’t lie down. They did it a really great job of holding firm and pushing Arsenal all the way, and they deserve to be applauded for that. Then, in the big games against Napoli and Valencia, the Gunners proved once again that they can mix it up with the best of them when called upon. Now, one final showdown with Chelsea awaits – and there’s no reason to believe they can’t get the job done.
Kicking off the season against Chelsea and Manchester City is always going to serve as a bit of a challenge, and back to back losses didn’t exactly inspire the masses for the season ahead. From that point on, however, Emery seemed to inject this team with a new lease of life as they kept rattling off wins and draws in the top flight. The core of their unbeaten run was indeed in the Prem, and they had fans believing that they could ease towards the top four.
That didn’t wind up being the case, of course, as they suffered something of a mid-season stumble. They managed to stay in the race but only as a result of other teams’ failures, which isn’t how you want to remember a season. In the end they missed out on the Champions League (via league position) due to an end of season collapse, as they continue to try and shake that losing mentality.
The win over Blackpool in the third round was quick and efficient, aka, exactly what it needed to be. In the next round against Manchester United, however, it really did feel like there was just no desire to progress in the competition. It was a gritty affair to say the least and they were eventually knocked out. Next season, we’d like to see them put a bit more into the FA Cup.
Wins over Brentford and Blackpool gave Gunners fans hope that a potential spot at Wembley could be on the cards. Then, however, they came face to face with bitter rivals Tottenham Hotspur in the quarter finals. Spurs were out for revenge and they got it, easing to a 2-0 win.
Which competition did you enjoying seeing Arsenal in the most and why?