The final stop on my ‘One Year On’ journey sees me go back to Arsenal – last season’s FA Cup winners.
The Gunners won last years competition by defeating Aston Villa 4-0 in the Final; the same score-line, ironically, as the last game of this campaign – albeit this time in the Premier League.
Of course, Villa will be plying their trade in the Championship from the 2016/17 season – Gunners fan Kieran Daly told me that it was ‘no surprise’ to see the troubled club relegated and that last years cup final was remarkably easy.
Daly said: “I’ve been to seven FA Cup finals during my years of following Arsenal. I can honestly say, hand on heart, that that was by far the easiest cup final I’ve ever been to. I’m not surprised at all that Aston Villa have been relegated this season.”
At the time of asking, the Gunners sat third in the Premier League table, behind champions Leicester City and close rivals Tottenham Hotspur. Of course, Spurs’ 5-1 final day defeat at Newcastle, coupled with Arsenal’s 4-0 win at home to Villa meant that the north London clubs swapped places in the table. Despite finishing as runners-up, Kieran believes that the club should have done better in the league this season.
“I personally don’t [believe that it is a good finish]. At times this season we showed so much promise and potential to go and win the league. I feel we have failed by virtue of the fact Leicester have finished above us.”
In spite of that, Kieran has been impressed with two of Arsene Wenger’s signings this season. As well as Mohamed Elneny, the Arsenal supporter believes that goalkeeper Petr Cech has been a good buy: “Cech for me is world class. He has been a fantastic addition to the squad. It’s a privilege to watch him play.”
Speaking of Wenger, the Arsenal manager has come under fire once again from fans this season, with many calling for his head after more than a decade of service. However, on the flip side, there are those who believe that the Frenchman is the best possible option to lead the Gunners forward – like Kieran.
“If someone can name a manager that can consecutively get a top four finish for 20 seasons, I’d be intrigued to know his name; the man has transformed Arsenal Football Club. I just ask people to be careful what they wish for. Other football clubs would chop off their right hand to finish in the top four of the best league in the world season after season.”
Whilst he may not resign or be sacked, next season could be the Frenchman’s last in charge of the club that he has been a huge part of for many years. When asked for his hopes and aspirations for next season, Kieran stated that he would love the club to come together and ensure that Wenger goes out on a high.
“Next season is potentially Arsene Wenger’s last season, unless he signs a contract extension to remain at the club. I feel the players really need to repay his faith in them by trying to win the title. The board must back him and give him the resources over this coming summer to allow him to go out with a bang. I think it would be testament to the man if he signed off with another winners medal.”