End of Season Reviews – Arsenal, Aston Villa, Blackburn, Bolton

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Arsenal

arsenal

Where they finished: 4th

Season in five words: Reliance on youth = no trophies

Successful season? In Wenger’s eyes yes; 4th in the league and semi final appearances in Europe and the FA Cup. In the fans’ eyes no; there was never a league challenge after losing 5 of the first 14, Arshavin wasn’t started in the FA Cup semi and Man Utd dominated over two legs in Europe. They’re not far off, but far enough this season to warrant it as one in transition (again).

Defining moment: The two semi final games against Man Utd in the Champions League. They showed just how far from challenging the best Arsenal are. Completely dominated for most of the tie.

Player of the year: Song improved immensely, Van Persie scored 20 but without Andrey Arshavin the Gunners would not have come fourth. His impact since signing cannot be underestimated.

Goal of the season: Vela’s chip(s) and Ade’s volley get honourable mentions but for my money Eduardo wins it with this.

Flop of the season: In terms of a drop-off from last season, Adebayor was most frustrating but Mikael Silvestre gave Arsenal fans the chills every time he set foot on the pitch.

Highlight: Arshavin’s four goals at Anfield, a league double over Chelsea.

Summer homework: Sign an experienced central defender and central midfielder, plus a striker if Adebayor leaves. Oh, and stop playing Fabregas in the hole.

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Aston Villa

aston-villa

Where they finished: 5th

Season in five words: Second half slump costs fourth.

Successful season? Yes and no. For much of the season they were riding high but then injury (and eventual retirement) to Laursen and a slump in form meant a small squad couldn’t keep up the pace. Ended up being overtaken by Everton too. Did finish with more points than last year but an opportunity lost.

Defining moment: The last five minutes vs Stoke at home. Two goals up and heading for eight point lead over Arsenal. Stoke then scored twice, momentum was lost and two games later Arsenal would take over fourth spot for the rest of the season.

Player of the year: Stilian Petrov has finally reached the level he had while at Celtic. Ashley Young had another good season.

Goal of the season: John Carew vs Stoke. On second thoughts (from a reader’s recommendation) Ashley Young’s last minute winner against Everton was a great strike.

Flop of the season: Emile Heskey caused a change in formation and didn’t do much to arrest Villa’s slide in the spring.

Highlight: The 2-0 win over Arsenal at the Emirates.

Summer homework: Replace Gareth Barry and ensure he’s the only big name departure. Buy more squad players, specifically cover in the full back positions.

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Blackburn

blackburn

Where they finished: 15th

Season in five words: Ince terrible, Fat Sam steady.

Successful season? It’s hard to say what constitutes success at Ewood Park, as Blackburn are one of the least ambitious clubs in the top flight. It was brave to give Ince a try but he’s not ready. Sam Allardyce then lead them to safety without too much fuss. Where next?

Defining moment: Hiring Allardyce. Kept them up when Ince would probably have taken them down.

Player of the year: Hmm, Stephen Warnock has done pretty well since converting to midfield.

Goal of the season: Aaron Mokoena against Sunderland. That video doesn’t work so here’s a pic instead. Look how happy he is… It was a great strike.

Flop of the season: In what seems to be a recurring theme, Roque Santa Cruz becomes the latest striker to have a poor second year after a great first.

Highlight: A couple of 3-0 home wins against Stoke and Newcastle.

Summer homework: Cash in on Roque, sign strong physical players to push for mid-table. Replace Tugay and his luscious locks.

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Bolton

bolton

Where they finished: 13th

Season in five words: Anything interesting happen at all?

Successful season? Yes. Comfortably safe, never in any real threat of going down. If only Megson could make things a bit more entertaining. Another club somewhat lacking in ambition perhaps.

Defining moment: Was there one? Nothing stands out, honestly.

Player of the year: Called up by England and linked with moves to bigger clubs, Gary Cahill has had a great season in central defence.

Goal of the season: Even Bolton fans are struggling. Let’s go for this screamer by Gretar Steinsson on the opening day.

Flop of the season: Has Elmander justified the £8-10m fee? Not quite, but he could improve next year.  Muamba hasn’t been great either.

Highlight: Almost coming from 4-0 down against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. Couldn’t quite get the fourth goal however.

Summer homework: Sign another striker who can score ten goals, keep Cahill, Taylor and Jussi. Become interesting (this applies more to Megson).

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T.

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2 Responses to “End of Season Reviews – Arsenal, Aston Villa, Blackburn, Bolton”

  1. James Says:

    Think we’ve got this largely spot on, although personally I still think Arsenal are a long way off mounting a serious title challenge.

    Oh, and Ashley Young’s 94th minute goal against Everton should have won Villa’s goal of the season award…

    • thesportboys Says:

      You’re right. Young’s goal was my second option and perhaps given the last minute circumstances, it was better than Carew’s. Consider it changed!

      As for Arsenal, I’m inclined to be optimistic (if only due to being a fan). We won’t it next year but I do expect to be closer, rather than being marooned all on our own nine points away from any other team.

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