What should Arsenal expect to achieve next season? by FD
Like any Arsenal fan, I’m all too aware of how many seasons we’ve gone without adding to our silverware collection. That minor detail hasn’t prevented me from approaching each new campaign with a feeling of optimism – well, OK, perhaps last year’s RVP defection dampened those sunny spirits a little.
But I believe the success we’ve enjoyed, especially in the first flush of the Wenger Era, has instilled an expectation in the minds of most Arsenal fans. It’s not arrogance that leads us to associate our club with the giants of Europe – we’ve consistently held a place in the Top 6 EUFA rankings – it’s the belief that a standard has been set. Arsenal belong in that category.
I admit it’s becoming increasingly difficult to square the apparent dichotomy between that statement and the team’s actual achievements as each trophy-less season passes, but I was still taken aback by an article I read recently in which the author laid out what he believed were the “realistic” goals Arsenal could aim for next season. These included the League Cup, and, get this – home and away victories over the Spuds! No mention of the Premiership title or Champions League – or even the FA Cup, among this list of targets.
But maybe it’s me who’s being unrealistic. Certainly, there are few neutral observers these days who would count Arsenal among the favourites for a major trophy, or even a top three finish, come to that. Yet I cling to my optimism. The greatness of a team is measured, in part, by its ambition, and I can’t accept that success in a domestic derby fixture is now the most we can realistically hope for. As a club, we’ve moved on from those days, and there can be no going back. Can there?
The absurdity of that article’s notion and the small-mindedness it betrays did at least force me into reassessing my own expectations. Not for me some third tier cup or local bragging rights. This is Arsenal. I expect Arsene to bring in players during the summer to strengthen the team. I expect the players who remain to be better for this year’s experience. I expect Jack W to recapture his best form. I expect to face next season believing we can challenge for the title. Nothing less.
Is that unrealistic? If so, what is a realistic expectation for Arsenal FC in the coming season, and beyond?