Every top 4 finish by Arsene Wenger since 2005

2004/05 – The team was still largely comprised of the Invincibles but the core of the future was being secured; Wenger started Fabregas in the Charity shield and bought in Almunia, Flamini, and Eboue. Vieira won the FA Cup with the last kick of the season. Thierry Henry scored 30 goals.  Arsenal finished 2nd that season, behind the rampant Chelsea, with new manager Jose Mourinho at the helm. Chelsea lost only one time that season, the closest that Jose would ever come to going an entire season unbeaten.

2005/06 – Arsenal’s last season at Highbury. Wenger sold Vieira that summer and the dismantling of the Invincibles began in earnest. Wenger added Bendtner, Hleb, Mannone, and Traore in the summer and dipped into the transfer market again in January, picking up Diaby, Adebayor, and Theo Walcott. As you can see with the flurry of transfer activity, this was a crazy season for Arsenal. Marking their last season at Highbury, Arsenal played in a maroon strip which was supposed to be the same colors they had worn in 1916. Thierry Henry was still the leading scorer with 33 goals but times had changed in midfield where Wenger handed the responsibility over from Vieira to 18 year old Cesc Fabregas. Arsenal finished fourth on the final day of the season, thanks to a Thierry Henry hat-trick against Wigan and thanks to some food poisoning of Tottenham Hotspurs. This was the infamous “lasagna” season. Arsenal also reached the final of the Champions League, beating Real Madrid along the way, only to lose to Barcelona thanks in large part to a red card for Lehmann and a flubbed goal by Thierry Henry.

2006/07 – Arsenal finished 4th again, though this time there was an 8 point cushion between Arsenal and Tottenham. In attack, the Gunners lost Pires (sold) and Bergkamp (retired) that summer and also lost Reyes in a player swap deal for Julio Baptista. Wenger’s defense also took massive hits, losing Ashley Cole, who was tapped up by Mourinho, and Sol Campbell, who claimed he wanted to play on the continent and then signed for Pompey. Arsenal still had Thierry Henry but the Frenchman cut an ugly figure when he featured for the club; often criticizing his teammates on the pitch, waving his arms around, and showing disappointment at nearly every turn. Henry was also injured for much of the season and Robin van Persie was Arsenal’s leading scorer that year with a whopping 13 goals. Arsenal’s fourth place finish here was a testament to how weak the League was, Arsenal lost four key players, plus Henry to injury, and still managed a 4th place finish. Along with Baptista, Wenger brought in William Gallas, Alex Song, and the Dread Pirate Denilson.

2007/08 – In the previous season, Arsenal finished 21 points behind Man U. In 2007/08 the gap was just four points marking the first time since 2004 that Arsenal had a serious title run. Wenger sold Thierry Henry that summer and brought in a little known Croatian striker named Eduardo. Freed from the oppressive glare of Henry, Adebayor scored 30 goals for Arsenal though at the crucial moment when Arsenal needed him most, the goals dried up and the Gunners went on a run of five draws, two losses, and one win which knocked them out of the title race. That poor run followed on the heels of Taylor’s horrific tackle on Eduardo, which left the Croatian striker with his leg dangling by sinew. If Adebayor had stepped up his game, Eduardo’s broken leg wouldn’t have been so costly. Arsenal finished 3rd in a bitterly disappointing season. Tottenham beat Arsenal 5-1 in a League Cup match and made a DVD of the game to sell to their supporters.

2008/09 – Back into the turmoil. Wenger lost Flamini and Gilberto this summer. Instead of a seasoned professional replacing them was Song and Denilson in midfield. Wenger did buy Aaron Ramsey and Samir Nasri that summer but neither player would provide the type of firepower that was needed for Arsenal to challenge for the title. Meanwhile, Adebayor did his disappearing act and threw a tantrum about his contract after having been tapped up by Moneybags Man City. As January rolled around, Wenger realized that through injury (van Persie) and profligacy (Adebayor) he would need to buy an attacking player. That purchase was Andrei Arshavin. Arshavin was enough to hold off an assault on 4th place by the pundit’s favorite, Aston Villa, who finished 10 points behind Arsenal.

2009/10 – Arsenal sort of found some feet this season, though once again they sold key players: Kolo Toure was shipped off to Man City. Arsenal also lost Adebayor that season, though that turned out to be just shifting the burden. Fabregas was at his imperious best, scoring 19 goals and getting 16 assists and yet again injury to van Persie would hamper their title challenge.  Arsenal finished third, staying at or near third from October until May. Wenger bought Vermaelen this season. Arsenal finished 10 points off Chelsea (winners) and 5 points above Tottenham (5th). Arsenal could have challenged for the title but in the final 7 matches of the season, they won 2, lost 3, and drew 2 for a total of 8 points out of a possible 21. And the teams Arsenal played were: Birmingham, Wolves, Spurs, Wigan, Man City, Blackburn, and Fulham. Arsenal lacked attacking power largely because van Persie was out having had his leg broken by Chiellini in November. Instead of an attacking player, Wenger brought in Sol Campbell in January.

2010/11 –  Arsenal finish 4th again. This time six points above Tottenham but three behind City who crack into the top four for the first time. Arsenal tried like hell to finish out of the top four this season. In the final 11 games they won 2 and lost 3 (to Stoke, Bolton, and Aston Villa) while drawing 6, gathering just 12 points in their last 11 matches. You could see some good in this team, they beat Barcelona 2-1 in an impressive performance at the Emirates stadium. But in equal measure, this team struggled and was wracked with injuries to Cesc Fabregas and Robin van Persie. This was also the season that Arsenal lost the League Cup final to Birmingham City.

2011/12 – “Imagine the worst situation – we lose Fabregas and Nasri – you cannot convince people you are ambitious after that. And even if you lose Nasri, to find the same quality player, you have to spend again the same amount of money. Because you cannot say, you lose the player and you do not replace him. I believe for us it is important the message we give out. For example, you talk about Fabregas leaving, Nasri leaving. If you give that message out, you cannot pretend you are a big club, because a big club first of all holds onto its big players and gives a message out to all the other big clubs that they just cannot come in and take away from you. We worked very hard with these players for years to develop them, and now it’s a time for us to keep them together.” Both Nasri and Fabregas were sold, Arsenal lost 8-2 to Man U prompting one of the announcers to stutter “this is ARSENAL we are watching here”, and Arsenal finished 3rd on the final day of the season because of a 3-2 win over West Brom, which saw Wenger literally clutching Pat Rice as West Brom blew a wide open chance to tie the match.

Arsenal had to finish third this season in order to retain their Champions League place because Chelsea finished outside of the top four but won the Champions League, meaning that the fourth place team would be relegated to playing football in Azerbaijan. Once again that was Tottenham who finished just 1 point behind Arsenal. Robin van Persie was Arsenal’s hands-down player of the year, golden boot winner, etc. Guess what happens to him? Alex Song leads Arsenal in assists this season, chipping the ball to van Persie a lot.

2012/13 – Van Persie demands a trade, guys. Writing a letter on Independence Day, van Persie says, guys, that, guys, he don’t like the direction the club is going. Read: he was tapped up by Man U in January with promises of huge sponsorship deals if he signed for them. He likes to tell people he “took a pay cut” to join Man U, but in reality while his weekly salary went down, his earnings skyrocketed because of the increased media profile. These are NOT bitter tears.

Wenger buys Giroud, Podolski, and Cazorla in the summer and Nacho Monreal in January. Wenger also manages to sell Alex Song to Barcelona. Where is Alex Song now? He’s a benchwarmer for Rubin Kazan.

Pat Rice retired, meaning that Wenger’s hug was his parting gift. Theo Walcott was Arsenal’s leading scorer this season and Arsenal finished 4th, 1 point above Tottenham again. This was the infamous “negative spiral” season, where Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas predicted his team would topple Arsenal for the first time. The comment came after Arsenal lost 2-1 to Spurs but that loss proved to be a turning point for the Gunners, who won 8 of their last 10 matches.

2013/14 – End of the Deadwood. Wenger shipped out 25 players this season, including long term contract wasters Arshavin, Denilson, Santos, Gervinho, Chamakh, and DENCH. Wenger bought Yaya Sanogo. Giroud led Arsenal in scoring with 22 goals and Ramsey had his one good season with Arsenal, having fully recovered from the Shawcross breaking his leg. Arsenal once again finished 4th. This time 10 points above Spurs in 6th. This summer was notable for Arsenal trying their best to spend £40m, even going so far as to tap up Luis Suarez but failing because he did or did not have a release clause in his contract. On the last day of the summer transfer window, Arsenal bought Mesut Özil. Özil played almost every match for Arsenal until he was injured in the 1-1 loss to Bayern Munich in March. He would feature in the run-in as Arsenal secured fourth with 5 wins in 5 matches.

2014/15 – Arsenal bought Alexis Sanchez from Barcelona which prompted known ass Tancredi Palmeri to tweet:

Arsenal gonna pay 38m € for Alexis Sanchez??? Barcelona won the lottery

— Tancredi Palmeri (@tancredipalmeri) July 9, 2014

LOL.

Arsenal also managed to snag Danny Welbeck from Man U. Alexis and Özil weren’t enough to get Arsenal into a title challenge, Alexis was getting used to the League and Özil spent October to January out with an injury.

Arsenal finished 3rd, five points above 4th pace Man U.

2015/16 – Coulda been a contender. Remember that night you came down into my dressing room and said, kid, this aint your night. Remember that?  This aint my night? We coulda taken Leicester City apart. Instead they got a title shot outside in the park and what did we get? A one-way ticket to palookaville.

Arsenal rocketed into first place by December thanks to Özil’s 15 assists from the start of the season to January. The Gunners held on to first almost all the way to February, losing on the last day of January 1-0 to Chelsea and dropping from first to third. Third and even possibly fourth was closer to where Arsenal belonged as Özil ran out of gas and Alexis proved incapable of carrying the team alone.

As if to provide Arsenal supporters with at least one bit of humor, Arsenal finished 2nd, 1 point above Tottenham, once again thanks to some last minute miracles. Spurs lost the final game of the season to relegation bound Newcastle and Arsenal once again finished a point above their North London rivals.

Qq

24 Comments on Every top 4 finish by Arsene Wenger since 2005

  1. Clearly there is no need for another contract
    The truth must be spoken
    It has always been try and error

  2. Dreading watching my first Arsenal game after the international (spring) break; will St. Totteringham day come in 2017?

  3. Finishing below Spurs this season galls me more than finishing outside the top four. Weird, I know, but there it is.

    • I feel a complete collapse coming. Alexis is clearly distraught (he got a speeding ticket yesterday) about something and Özil has decided to take some time off, since… January 2016. I’d be surprised if Ox in midfield, who looked like warmed over shit against Lithuania, can carry this team forward. This is going to get ugly.

      • In January, I said that if Wenger doesn’t sort out his midfield, we will finish 6th or 7th. He hasn’t. We won’t finish top 4 and it wont even be close.

  4. Ozil ran out of gas
    Sanchez incapable of carrying the team alone
    Implies overhaul of the whole team by a manager that believes such

    • That espn article quoting Wenger was in September. His “we have the best attack since the Invincibles” quotes came at the end of January.

      Blows my mind that we’re facing two more years of this.

      • Yes I think the actual quote was from right after the season started if my memory serves me correctly and in fairness to him, a lot of us fans expected good things from this squad. Who would have guessed we were one Cazorla injury away from being so spineless?

  5. Apathy will be the biggest problem for at least the rest if the season.

    For the first time since I gained my season ticket 3 years ago, I contemplated selling my ticket on exchange when I had nothing specific to do instead but just whether I could be bothered.

    Decided to go in the end, but a slippery slope. Sad times.

  6. I said sometime ago that Arsenal have been a mid-table team with Champions League money.

    Next season we’ll just be mid-table. But if this going to happen I’d like to see us above relegation obviously but below the Europa League places.

  7. I think Arsenal’s doing great. We have a stable financial platform, a good squad of players and are solidly ensconced in the upper echelon of European clubs, more so than ever before. If we lose Ozil, we’ll probably buy Arda. If we lose Sanchez, we’ll probably buy someone else who is really good. That’s what upper tier clubs do. They’re both under contract until next year, so either we sell them on now or they stay on and play it out. Win-win, I say. All this stuff about the manager is just noise. He’ll leave. Maybe this year, maybe next, but he will leave. After that, we’ll have someone else. We’ll still be a top 10 team in Europe with a great product on the pitch, with or without him. I’m not going to be drawn into an existential crisis or a negative spiral, and neither should you. We are the Arsenal. We’ll be fine. We stink right now but that won’t last. The natural order of things is that class rises to the top, and this squad is much better than it’s shown in the past month. If you can’t bear to watch, then don’t! Find something that makes you happy and spend more time on that. It’s perfectly normal to tune out to the second half of a bad season when everyone’s just going through motions. Players do it too. You know who doesn’t do that? Arsene Wenger doesn’t do that. Thank the lord for him because if he did, we wouldn’t have been in the now popularly derided Top 4 for too many of the years listed above. I’ve written a lot recently about how it’s time to part ways with him, and I still think that’s the case. I don’t know what would’ve happened these past 10 years without him. Maybe we’d be better, or may be we’d be worse. Pointless debate. What’s important is that we are the Arsenal, and we’ll be fine, thanks in large part to Arsene Wenger.

    • Doc’s comment makes me think about just how cerebral we’ve become during Wenger’s time at Arsenal. It’s a reflection of his personality, but it was always part of the club’s character. Our old stadium had it’s stately entrance and marble halls. Fans nicknamed it the “Highbury Library”, and younger Arsenal fans are still surprised to learn that the lack of atmosphere at the Emirates was even more chronic at Highbury. That issue was amplified by the special acoustics at Highbury (some of the older stadiums like Everton’s still have it). Think Thierry talked about it just after we moved to the Emirates; he said that part of adapting to the new stadium was getting used to the sounds – at Highbury he could tell how much space there was between him and the touchlines without looking. Just by the sounds.

      Anyway, it’s natural that we’re all “a little bit institutionalised” after 2 decades under one coach. The loudest and most obnoxious get the press and social media hits. But they don’t represent all of us. On the whole, we’re a patient and reasonable fanbase that understands our place in the game.

      It’s been 10 days since the West Brom defeat. The raw anger dies down and perspective comes naturally. That being said, it’s crucial for us as a club to hold onto our passion for the game. The refusal to accept second best. It’s what drives an injured player to turn up for hours of grueling rehab every day. It’s what pushes our brave disabled fans in wheelchairs to get themselves to the stadium on matchdays. Playing at under 18 level at a school just outside London when I was younger, the greatest days were away trips to battle teams “up North” in near frozen conditions. You knew opponents were gonna call you soft southern ponces and rake their studs down your ankles but it was a battle of wills as well as technique. Theo committed *the* mortal sin of British football when he jumped out of that tackle against Sunderland. And he knew it. The next season he was posting training videos before everyone came back for pre-season showing off his improved physique. He changed his ways, but the real problem was that his approach to the game was indulged for too long. He needed that wake-up call.

      The whole club’s going a Theo moment right now. Yes, we should be cerebral about it. We don’t need to panic. Our position as a top 10 club in Europe is secure – in financial terms. But in terms of our sporting reputation in the game we need to do as Theo did, rethink our approach to the game, change, and build ourselves up again to compete in a league that’s only going to get tougher next season.

  8. This blog post sent me back. Thank you.
    Aah. I’m going to say it. The only other player like Cazorla, to retool us post fabregas, would have been Fabregas. Not Wilshere (don’t even know why people say that). Fabregas.
    I know he played in an advanced role before leaving, and he played a false 9 a few times for Barcelona, but once he was done with them, he would have been a good fit- not as a replacement for Ozil (the reason given for not signing him again), but as our midfield pair with whoever: coquelin or better.
    And he had that winning streak. Kills me to watch some of those passes and moves again, and see the absolute wank some of his teammates from Project Youth made of them.

  9. if everybody can forgive and forget, we can have Fabregas back. I welcome him back. he’s wasted elsewhere.

    • Have you been watching Chelsea? Fabregas is not the player you remember. He’s an “impact substitute” without the legs to last 90 minutes and without the stamina or strength to compete physically in midfield. He’s a poor man’s Andrea Pirlo but playing in a league where the standard du rigeour is to run run run. He would make our midfield woes worse, especially in the “big games” that we are already struggling to win. If we brought him back, not only would he come with all the emotional baggage that’s sure to divide the fanbase (between haters and not haters) but it would also be paying for past performance instead of future expectations. I can promise you, if Fabregas was an Arsenal player right now, he’d be getting the brunt of everyone’s vitriol.

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