The 2017-18 Arsenal Season was one to forget. At the end of the 2016-17 season, they were shocked to find out that they had missed out on the UEFA Champions League for the first time in Arsene Wenger‘s reign. Fortunately, the Gunners clinched silverware by winning the FA Cup.
Embarrassing 2017-18 Arsenal Season
FA Cup Misery
Fast forward a year and Wenger has ended his career as the Arsenal manager without any European silverware, without any trophy in his very last season. His team was surprisingly knocked out by Championship side Nottingham Forest in the third round of the FA Cup. It became one of the most embarrassing defeats Arsenal has ever suffered.
Before the defeat, Wenger had never lost in the third round of the FA Cup. The Gunners were one of the favourites to win the domestic trophy once again. As a surprise for all, the champions of the FA Cup 2017 was thrown out of the competition almost instantly.
Europa League Disappointment
The highlight of Arsenal’s season was the prospect of advancing to the finals of the UEFA Europa League. The Gunners eased through the group stage and eventually advanced to the next round as leaders. Soon, they faced Ostersunds FK, a team which had impressed in Sweden’s domestic league. Despite the harsh weather conditions, Arsenal brushed them aside in the first leg. Ostersund came back by beating the Gunners 0-2 at the Emirates. Luckily for them, though, their aggregate of a 3-2 scoreline saw them move on to the next round.
Arsenal were drawn to face AC Milan, one of the stronger sides left in the second tier European competition. Just when everyone thought the Gunners could struggle to make it through, confidence in the team saw them overcome the Italian team without much trouble. The victory over AC Milan gave the team a glimmer of hope that they could make it into Champions League by winning the Europa League title.
The Gunners made a narrow escape during the quarter-final draw as they were pitted against CSKA Moscow. The old foes still had players on the team which played against Arsenal way back in 2006. Wenger’s side secured a comfortable victory in the first leg played at home. With a scoreline of 4-1, Arsenal was close to progressing to the semi-finals. The dominant performance from the team could have seen the English side extend their lead by many more goals. However, the real drama came in Russia when CSKA Moscow was leading the match 2-0 by the 50th minute. A typical Arsenal performance could have seen the Gunners crash out of the competition even when the odds were on their side. Luckily, Danny Welbeck and Aaron Ramsey came to the rescue to secure a draw away from home.
With Atletico Madrid, Marseille and Salzburg left in the competition, Arsenal were hoping that they will miss out on facing the Spanish side. Things did not go the way they wanted and the Gunners had to face Atletico Madrid at home first. Although the Gunners started the match brightly, an error from Laurent Koscielny saw Antoine Greizmann score a vital equalizer. That away goal gave the Spanish side a superior advantage going into the second leg. The strong La Liga team had conceded just four goals at home before hosting Arsenal. With goalkeeper Jan Oblak in a great form, Arsenal could not find a way past the stubborn defensive line.
Their Europa League campaign came to an abrupt end after the defeat away from home. The team’s dream of giving Wenger a grand farewell could not come true. Beyond that, it also meant that the Gunners will miss out of Champions League for the second consecutive season.
Horrific Premier League Season
No better word can be used to summarise Arsenal’s Premier League season. To face the reality, Arsenal’s performance was absolutely shambolic. The situation was so bad that fans decided not to turn up for some matches, leaving the huge Emirates Stadium filled with pockets of empty seats.
Arsenal started the season by defeating Leicester City in a seven-goal thriller. The Gunners scored four at home to secure their first three points of the season. After that, Stoke City and Liverpool humbled Arsenal whilst the Gunners were playing away. Arsenal finally found some momentum in their season until the turn of the calendar year. The team’s performances away from home were totally embarrassing. Until the final match of the season, the Gunners had failed to secure any points in the away games played in 2018. The massive drop of points saw Arsenal drop out of the Champions League qualification spots. Their season went from bad to worse, with many senior players unable to perform up to standard.
There was no excuse for the team’s awful showings. The higher the expectations for the team, the greater the disappointment. Ending the season in sixth place was Wenger’s worst standing. The team was a let-down and there were hardly any positive takeaways.