The more Arsenal will look back on the season, the more they’ll be left mulling as to how did they manage not to win the league despite having finished above Manchester City, Chelsea, Manchester United, Liverpool and of course, Tottenham Hotspur too.
At the end of the season, it was all a familiar story: The Emirates Stadium basking in the schadenfreude derived from Tottenham Hotspurs’ 5-1 hammering at the hands of Newcastle United, who are now a Championship team.
The celebrations were supposed to be for a different reason, or crudely put, it was the day when Arsenal were expected to be bathing in the joy of a fourth Premier League title, giving their legends, Messrs Tomas Rosicky, Mikel Arteta and Mathieu Flamini – their loyal trio that stood by the club in times of austerities – a deserved farewell with a Premier League medal in the process.
Instead, it was an altogether different story as the Arsenal faithful tried to satisfy themselves with a second-place finish that offered little compensation for another failure to win the Premiership.
Yet more overwhelming is the fact that they lost the title to teams they should have stomped their way to a win against: Swansea City, Manchester United, Southampton, Chelsea and West Bromwich Albion to name a few. Apart from the fact that Arsenal wilted under pressure in these games since they were all played at crucial times, the age-old lack of a cutting edge in the final third and silly defending errors played right into their opponents’ hands even though Arsenal dominated.
Arsenal’s Worst Season for Years in Front of Goal
Arsenal were totally boring to watch for the best part of the season managing just 67 goals in the Premier League, which, in itself is a damning indictment of how poor they were up-front.
All of Arsenal’s forwards either kept getting injured or hit form in patches, which is exactly why even Mesut Ozil – the most consistent player in the BPL this term – was rendered useless at times.
Olivier Giroud may have ended the season with 24 goals across all competitions but the Frenchman’s simply not the answer if are to win big trophies next year: mental and physical fatigue does catch up with Giroud.
There’s not one reason, hence, why Arsene Wenger shouldn’t go for one or two top forwards, especially with Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain looking like their time at Arsenal is up, plus, of course Danny Welbeck’s long-term injury.
Alexis Sanchez can’t be expected to share the larger part of the goal-scoring burden every time.
Mohamed Elneny and Alex Iwobi the Findings of the Season
Nearly everyone is guilty of snivelling when Mohamed Elneny was signed in the January transfer window. He was a relative unknown whom not many, including Arsene Wenger, thought would adapt to the Premier League as quickly as he did.
Once he made his debut, the Egyptian never looked back. He improved game by game, becoming an integral part of the Arsenal side at the back end of the season while he also scored in the Camp Nou against Barcelona in the round of 16 return leg.
Alex Iwobi’s talent was something of a revelation too.
His introduction to the side was welcomed by all but no one banked upon the Nigerian nailing down his spot in the side so quickly or putting up the performance of his life against FC Barcelona.
Alongside Elneny, he was the other new-found star of the season and would undoubtedly have his role to play in 2016/17.
Player of the Year: Mesut Ozil
A skilled skald would fail to do justice to Mesut Ozil if he were to be honoured for his performances, more importantly the consistency of those performances of the highest level.
19 assists and 6 goals in the Premier League (20 assists and 8 goals overall) is a staggering return, even better when considered that the German was destitute of the required support from other players.
But for Mesut Ozil, Arsenal could have been in deep-deep trouble. Petr Cech, Hector Bellerin and Nacho Monreal were the other players who were excellent at all times.