THE HALF DECENT FOOTBALL MAGAZINE

2011-12 season review ~ Arsenal fans are still trying to work out whether last season was a success or a failure. The team finished 19 points below the champions, conceded the most goals of any Arsène Wenger team, were thrashed in the Champions League and only nabbed third place due to a comedy collapse by our nearest and dearest – and a comedy performance by West Brom's Marton Fulop. And we'll probably see our only remaining world-class player leave as a result. Then again, to finish third, with two more points than last year, after that summer and that start to the season, is arguably Wenger's greatest achievement at the club.

We beat Manchester City, thrashed AC Milan, stuck five past the new European champions and put five past Tottenham. It was a bipolar season.

The supporters were fairly polarised about Wenger when the season began but January marked his nadir with Arsenal fans, when the substitution of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain for Andrei Arshavin against Manchester United was booed. Yet, paradoxically, the way he turned the campaign around means he possibly has more goodwill now than at this time last year. Rather the underachievement Wenger's era may be remembered for, last season he made a squad of players overachieve. Perhaps panic buying is the way to go.

While most of us were keen for the season to end, the summer fills us with dread. As ever, we need to hold onto our star player, clear out the deadwood that is clogging up the wage bill and strengthen every department on the pitch, especially midfield and attack. Failing that, we would like to avoid another tedious summer-long transfer saga. Some fans would prefer to sell our injury-prone Player of the Year now, just to avoid the torture by tabloid gossip. But not to Manchester City.

Fans remain divided on the issue of whether the board are doing a good job. There is growing frustrating at their perceived frugality. But then again, the lessons of Leeds and even Liverpool are conveniently ignored when petrodollars are winning titles elsewhere. Arsenal cannot keep up financially at the moment, but they are in safe hands for the long term. Are the hands too safe? The alternative may be the unnerving Alisher Usmanov.

Wholesale changes to the squad over the summer are not expected. That's not our style. Even with the welcome addition of Lukas Podolski – and if Robin van Persie stays – more creativity and firepower are needed. It would be nice to have a defensive midfielder or two at the club, too. Damian Hall

Damian is the co-author of Best XI: Arsenal

Comments (2)
Comment by Lincoln 2012-05-28 13:16:43

Here was me worrying Lincoln would go bust in the next few months when poor old Arsenal have powers that be which are too safe.

Comment by Flynnie 2012-05-28 16:56:17

I wouldn't regard Stan Kroenke as safe hands at all. This isn't a club living within its means as much as a club being run on the cheap with little ambition. Usmanov is a false dichotomy, the club could be doing much more with its current resources without resorting to bringing in a dodgy billionaire.

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