Saturday 31 January 2015

Arsenal's season of woe


VAN PERSIE SOLD TO UNITED: Despite Wenger's best efforts, the club could not convince captain Robin van Persie to extend his contract and so decided to cash in on their talisman striker, whose goals helped Arsenal finish third last season. The Dutchman chose Manchester United and struck up an instant partnership with Wayne Rooney - scoring against Arsenal when they met in November.
SHAREHOLDERS REVOLT AT AGM: Wenger defended the achievements of his team following a stormy AGM at the Emirates Stadium in October, where chief executive Ivan Gazidis, chairman Peter Hill-Wood (both pictured) and majority shareholder Stan Kroenke were all heckled over the club's financial strategy and failure to win a trophy since 2005. Wenger said: "For me, there are five 'trophies' - the first is to win the Premier League, the second is to win the Champions League, the third is to qualify for the Champions League, the fourth is to win the FA Cup and the fifth is to win the League Cup. I say that because if you want to attract the best players, they do not ask 'Did you win the League Cup?', they ask you 'Do you play in the Champions League?'."
PENALTY HEARTACHE AT VALLEY PARADE: Wenger fielded a near full-strength side for the Capital One Cup quarter-final against League Two Bradford, but Arsenal were still on the end of a giant-killing. Garry Thompson's first-half volley set the tone and although Thomas Vermaelen equalised late on to force extra-time, the Bantams progressed 3-2 after a penalty shoot-out.
CUP WOE CONTINUES: Home side Arsenal crashed out of the FA Cup against Championship side Blackburn. The hosts were sunk by former Gunners trainee Colin Kazim-Richards' scrappy goal. Wenger said: "We made a massive mistake on the goal and we were not good enough to win the game, it is as simple as that."
WENGER GETS ANGRY: On the eve of the home leg against Bayern, and with reports claiming he would sign a new two-year contract, an animated Wenger condemned what he claimed were "lies" in the media aimed at unsettling his team. When pressed on the Champions League now being Arsenal's only hope of ending their long trophy drought, he sarcastically replied: "No, no. I want to lose it, to lose the game tomorrow so you can all be happy."
BAYERN SHOW THEIR CLASS: Bayern produced a masterclass to take a commanding 3-1 lead after the first leg of their Champions League last-16 clash at the Emirates Stadium. Goals from Toni Kroos, Thomas Muller and Mario Mandzukic did the damage, with Lukas Podolski replying. Looking to the second leg, Wenger said: "Let's not hide the truth: it will be extremely difficult against a team of that quality, they didn't play two finals in the last three years for nothing."

A look back at a turbulent campaign for manager Arsene Wenger and his team.

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