It’s Now or Never For Arsenal’s Mission to End Its Almost 9-Year Trophyless Streak
During Arsenal’s now almost nine-years since the club has won a trophy, the squad has lost in an UEFA Champions League final, two League Cup finals, and hasn’t come close to winning the Premier League. Thankfully for Gunners fans, though, Arsenal now faces its best opportunity to win some silverware in three years by knowing that if the club beats Wigan in the FA Cup semi-final, the Premier League side just has to beat either Hull City or Sheffield United to end its trophy jinx.
Like many recent Arsenal seasons, the 2013-14 campaign has been an epic roller-coaster of ups, downs, twists, and turns. From opening the season with a 3-1 loss at home to Aston Villa to purchasing Mesut Ozil to losing 6-3 against Manchester City to beating Everton 4-1 to make it to Wembley Stadium in the FA Cup, the Gunners have remained a talking point for media around the world. All pundits are now putting pressure on Arsene Wenger’s men to defeat Wigan Athletic F.C. in the semifinal and either Hull City or Sheffield United in the final. The remaining fixtures in the tournament are surely impossible for even Arsenal to screw up. Many figured the same thing when the Gunners faced Birmingham City in the 2011 League Cup final and we know how that ended.
A trademark of the North London club along with the emphasis of passing and playing pretty football is injuries. Throughout the year, plenty of the critical players on the team have become injured. Many blame it on the training tactics the club does and the lack of rest the footballers get due to lacking a deep, talented squad. When they face Wigan on April 12, they will continue to be without English internationals and normal starters Theo Walcott (due to his season-ending ACL injury) and Jack Wilshire (recovering from a foot injury). Ozil remains a question mark because he was recently injured on Wednesday due to staying in and playing 43 minutes after injuring his hamstring during the first two minutes of the game in Munich. On a positive note, the early season contender for the Footballer of the Year Award Aaron Ramsey will be back very soon as well as full backs Kieran Gibbs and Nacho Monreal. Kim Kallstrom, the only signing the Gunners made in the January transfer window, is finally in shape and able to contribute to the side.
Following the FA Cup victory against the Toffees last week, Wenger said “People have questioned our desire to do well in the FA Cup many times but we are in the semi-final now and from our performance on Saturday, you can see we really want it. Since the start of this competition it is true we had a good draw in the fact that we played all the games at home, which is the first time [that this has happened] since I played in the FA Cup. But, on the other hand, we played difficult opponents – Tottenham, Liverpool, Everton – and that shows you we have taken this competition seriously.”
The Gunners have no choice but to take the competition seriously as they have been knocked out of the Champions League by Bayern Munich and do not seem able to catch Chelsea and Manchester City for the title race. If Arsenal fail to win the FA Cup then Wenger deserves to be on the chopping block, and the Internet jokes and memes will continue.