Gary Neville has stated that winning the FA Cup would make the season a success for Arsenal, offering a glimpse of redemption for Arsene Wenger.
Last summer, if you had asked a wide range of Arsenal fans what they considered a successful season, you would have received a wide range of answers. Some believe that nothing less than a title is acceptable. Others expected progression in the Champions League. Others pined for a top four finish. Others just wanted a trophy of any description.
What was clear is that, given the intense competition at the top of the Premier League, what constituted a successful year was difficult to define. However, if you were to ask fans now, what they thought of the season, I doubt many would suggest that it has been a success.
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That, though, is what Gary Neville believes is still possible. Speaking as a pundit for Sky Sports, Neville claimed that if Arsenal are able to overcome Chelsea in the FA Cup final on May 27th, then that would constitute a successful season:
"“If they won the FA Cup this year, would that be seen as a successful season? I’d say probably yes. People will argue their league performance has been the worst it’s been for 15-20 years but maybe they are allowed a blip… The board have got an incredible amount of loyalty to him and rightly so. The manager seems to be in a strong position, where he can almost dictate when he finishes. Everyone wants an answer today but I can’t see that happening while the FA Cup and league campaigns are still going on”"
And I tend to agree. Although the North London derby loss on Sunday saw the Gunners’ top four hopes crumble somewhat, there is still a slim chance that they could haul their way back into the Champions League qualification positions by the end of the season and win the FA Cup.
Given the quality of the other five top teams in the Premier League and the unfortunate draw against a far superior Bayern Munich team in the Champions League, if Arsenal were able to finish in the top four and win the FA Cup, then I, like Neville, would consider that a positive year for the team.
Although there are significant issues that must be addressed moving forward, with Arsene Wenger’s future the most prominent of which, if he is able to lead the team to their third FA Cup victory in just four years, it would offer the much-maligned manager a glimpse of redemption after an extremely challenging few months.