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Tuesday cannon fodder: looking back

Chelsea v Arsenal - UEFA Europa League Final Photo by Etsuo Hara/Getty Images

To say 2019 was a underwhelming year at Arsenal would be an understatement — it was arguably the most disappointing year for the club in the Premier League era. The 1994-95 season that saw the Gunners finish 12th comes close, but I’m giving this year the edge because of the total collapse in the league last spring, the pantsing by Chelsea in the Europa League Final, and the dismal start to this season.

To be fair, I didn’t experience the 94-95 season as a supporter because I was 7, but the sting of what could have been this year really hurts. A top four finish was firmly in the club’s grasp before it was frittered away. The Gunners had a match to win a European trophy and might as well have not shown up to the stadium for how poorly they played. With how inconsistent to flat out poor every club not named Liverpool or Leicester has been so far this season, Arsenal could have been firmly entrenched in the top four.

No, but really. Last season’s collapse cannot be overstated. Arsenal lost to 12th-place finisher Crystal Palace and drew 17th-place finisher Brighton & Hove Albion at the Emirates in the last three weeks of the 2018-19 season. A win in either of those matches and Arsenal are back in the Champions League.

Alas, what could have been.

When Unai Emery was fired at the end of November, the Gunners were in the midst of their worst run of form in 27 years. Freddie Ljungberg, who took over as interim manager, didn’t fare much better than Emery. The 14-11-12 Premier League record amassed this past calendar year (37 matches) equates to 54-point season-pace, which is somewhere between a 7th and 9th place finish in the modern PL.

But hope springs eternal. Hiring Mikel Arteta looks to be a step in the right direction. The team seems to be playing better, more cohesive football, even if the results haven’t been there. The Gunners may salvage something from this season yet.

But enough about Arsenal. How was your 2019? Did you have a good year? Achieve your goals? Do something really cool? Or was it a tough one? (In which case, kudos for making it through, you’re still standing, which is awesome!) Whatever 2019 held for you, I sincerely hope you fared better than our beloved club. Thanks for gutting it out with us here at TSF, we would literally not exist if it wasn’t for you, reader.

As for pearls of wisdom and insight for 2020, you’ll just have to wait for tomorrow. For now, have a fun and safe New Year’s Eve!