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What is Success for Arsenal?
The new season has begun and yet there has been much talk about the “glory years” of the first half of the decade. Many fans have eagerly waited for four years now for Arsenal to grab another league title but despite coming close last term, titles still elude our young squad. With so much talk about the success of past teams and the apparent lack thereof with the current side, it begs a question worth asking: What is success for a club like Arsenal? Will any trophy do? Must we win the Premier League or the Champions League to consider the season a success?
I think success for Arsenal this term can be defined in broader terms than solely winning a trophy, because as Spurs showed us last season there is more to football then just grabbing any piece of silverware. For Arsenal to be considered successful this term the team must simply show improvement. By that I mean we do not need to necessarily win the league or the Champions League but we need to progress in both competitions. Reaching the Champion’s league Semi Finals and securing second in the league would certainly be an improvement from last season. The FA and Carling Cups are also important competitions, in their own way, in which we need to show improvement as well.
Winning either of the trophies would be a huge step forward insofar as breeding a winning mentality within such a young squad. For such a young side, there are stepping-stones toward success. Small victories must be won and heartbreaking defeats must be felt before the biggest goals can be conquered. Last season was a very big leap forward along that path and if one is to be realistic, patience and progress will and should be the name of the game again this season.
With such a young and relatively inexperienced squad we need to redefine what it means for this team to be considered successful. The current batch of players are not the Invincibles or either of the double-winning sides. They are their own team with their own identity who will, if given time and space, mature into winners of numerous trophies. Until that time comes though the squad needs to be given room to grow. and mature as a unit Could Arsenal win the title this season? Theoretically, yes, but in reality things would have to fall together perfectly because of the minute margin of error that will likely be allowed.
Would not winning the league this season make Arsenal unsuccessful? Not necessarily. Success for Arsenal should not only be defined in terms of two competitions. We must remember the youthfulness of the squad which made great gains in the last campaign and now has added experience and maturity. Progress is the key. Should Arsenal make progress in both major competitions and not win, it would be the last year this would be possible as they would be as close as you could to winning without actually doing it. As Wenger himself said over the summer… winning the Carling Cup and finishing eleventh is hardly what many would consider a successful campaign; even those who hold that “trophies are all that matter.”