Arsenal 2021/22 Season Review: So Near and Yet So Far
What a season for Arsenal - a pitiful end to a promising campaign.
The Gunners looked set to secure a return to the Champions League but they were ultimately beaten to fourth place by bitter rivals Tottenham
The 2021/22 season was a roller coaster of emotions for Arsenal fans. It was one of the most exciting, and heartbreaking, in Arsenal history. A promising campaign gave way to an end-of-season collapse that left many fans disappointed. By the time the final whistle blew on the campaign, we were all left wondering what could have been?
Arsenal finished fifth in the Premier League table, which meant that they qualified for the Europa League instead of the Champions League next season.
But what makes this situation even more frustrating is that there were signs that things were turning around for Arsenal this season. They were the favorite to secure the 4th spot to qualify for UEFA Champions League and they were playing some of their best football in years. But then it all fell apart, and now fans will be wondering how long it will be before we see our beloved Gunners back at the top where they belong.
From the beginning, there were warning signs that this could be a bad year for Arsenal. In August they lost their first three. But they recovered well enough to an 8 unbeaten streak (won 6, drew 2) before a 4-0 away loss to Liverpool.
Towards the end of the season, it looked like they will secure a place in UCL. But with three games to go, a 3-0 defeat by rivals, Tottenham which was followed by a 2-0 loss to Newcastle left the club hoping for a miracle on the last matchday. They ended in season in the 5th spot meaning that they missed out on Champions League football. Again!
On the bright side, they qualified for the Europa league, so there will be European competition matches for the Gunners next season.
Player of the Season
There are certainly a few contenders for this.
Aaron Ramsdale was exceptional after arriving from Sheffield United, producing several stellar performances.
Centre-backs Ben White and Gabriel Maghales formed an excellent partnership at the heart of the defense.
But the stand-out players were Martin Odegaard and Bukayo Saka.
In the end, the 2020-21 player of the season scored 12 goals and provided seven assists in all competitions and deserves the award for the second year in a row, even if he did run out of steam a bit in the final weeks of the campaign.
According to the official website of Arsenal FC:
Our overwhelming winner is Bukayo Saka, who put in an array of eye-catching individual performances throughout the season, and claimed 58 percent of the vote.
Bukayo Saka has finished first whereas Martin Odegaard has finished second in the club's official 2021/22 Player of the Season poll.
The Goal of the Season
The vote for the goal of the season is still active, which goal gets your vote?
My pick is the Alexandre Lacazette’s home goal against Southampton in December - a beautifully worked team goal.
Watch the season's top 10-goal shortlist by clicking the 'Play' button on the video above and click here to vote.
Performance of the Season
For me, this has to be the North London Derby win with a 3-1 victory over Tottenham in September, at the Emirates Stadium.
Arteta’s side destroyed their neighbours with three goals in 22 scintillating first-half minutes and served notice to the Premier League that they needed to be taken seriously
Disappointment of the Season
Aside from ending the campaign in 5th place, among a few disappointment is:
The 3-0 Defeat at White Hart Lane. Knowing a victory against Tottenham would have guaranteed a top-four finish, the Gunners ended the match in defeat.
And there was the early FA Cup exit. To Nottingham Forest, though? Again? It’s never nice to watch your favorite club leave the FA Cup (knocked out by a lower division team) without a fight.
Lastly, is the failure to strengthen the squad after Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang left for Barcelona in the January transfer window. No replacement was brought in and it left the squad short for the rest of the campaign.
The Gunners have had a season defined by their lack of consistency, poor management and decision-making, and lack of focus on important games. A small squad and a lack of experience caught up with them just at the wrong time and a poor finish.
There is no denying that this season has been a disappointment for Arsenal. This team has shown flashes of brilliance, but they have not been able to put it all together over the course of an entire campaign. It's hard not to feel like this season was a missed opportunity for Arsenal.