Finally the jokes can stop. Arsenal are back to winning ways. Aaron Ramsey’s extra-time winner lifted, to steal Arsène Wenger’s words, a burden upon the club that even the Frenchman was beginning to consider a curse, and now that we’ve got one trophy under our belt the rest will follow like buses, right?
Yes, the FA Cup final win on Saturday was a day to remember for Gunners’ fans who have suffered nine years of heartache, but let’s not get carried away too soon. The trophy, while a very nice conclusion to a season that had promised so much yet threatened to deliver so little, is not one of the big ones we crave. A Premier League success, or the fulfilment of Wenger’s long-held ambition to win the Champions League, would really show we’re back to our best.
While Manchester City built on their 2011 FA Cup success by winning the Premier League the following year, realistically Arsenal can’t expect to go on and win anything next year – the past nine years have shown that.
Even though City’s spending will be restricted by Uefa owing to their recent failure to meet Financial Fair Play regulations, their current squad, along with their support from Abu Dhabi, should mean that sustained success is much easier to maintain at the Etihad than at the Emirates.
Liverpool showed this season that it is possible to give the financially bigger clubs a run for their money in the league, although we’ll see where they are next season once they return to the gruelling schedule of playing in the Champions League. And yet the Reds ended up trophyless. Does that mean their campaign was a failure? Far from it.
A look at the Gunners now and you do feel a sense of optimism. Had Ramsey not suffered his four-month injury lay-off in the heart of the season we could have been celebrating a historic Double at Wembley on Saturday. So too had Wenger signed a second striker in January to share the workload with Olivier Giroud. But it’s not worth dwelling on that any more. The season is over now, and all eyes are on Brazil.
So we can revel in landing our 11th FA Cup to draw level with Manchester United in the list of final victories, but we must be wary not to take the trophy as a new dawn and expect too much next season. Silverware would be a tremendous achievement, like this season, but as long as the side and Wenger keep improving, we’ll remain on the right course for now.