So it appears the gentlemen down the road are going to finish another season without a trophy, then?
Come this summer, I make that eight years now that the Arse will have gone without lifting a trophy. And given the torrent of laughs that adorned our Twitter timelines and the reemergence of the now infamous “since Arsenal last won a trophy” clock, don’t we all know it aswell.
For our dear old selves however, this Sunday’s League Cup final between Bradford and Swansea will mark the five-year mark since Jonathan Woodgate’s schnoz ended our very own nine-year trophy drought. It wasn’t quite the league title, as neither the 1999 triumph in the same cup was before it. But for however people may now knock the competition, it marks something no amount of successive fourth –placed finishes can ever bring. Silverware.
And with the club now in an infinitely better position to how we were in either 1999 or 2008, the onus is now on dining upon the finest table of all in next season’s Champions League. Making a fourth round exit this term in the competition that brought us all such joy on those two occasions, left few shedding any tears. There are now bigger fish to fry than going for the League Cup.
Should the club go trophyless this season, but qualify for another outing with Europe’s big boy, there aren’t many in White Hart Lane who would be too disappointed without a trophy this year. After all, for as good as a day out at Wembley or the Amsterdam Arena for a Europa League final would be, it’s not going to bring a tenth of the glamour or indeed the cold, hard cash that a Champions League showing would do, would it?
But for as difficult as it may be to fault the glitz and the financial arguments, why should we be willing to shelve a pop at silverware? Especially when we have a real shot at lifting a trophy this season.
Before this blog goes on the charm offensive towards the Europa League, let’s not blow too much smoke up its backside. It’s not the same competition it was when we last won it in 1984 and it’s always going to be Champions League’s less fashionable little brother.
But it remains a European trophy and what’s more, it’s a shot at glory that this club has a real chance at attaining.
Given the amount of heart-break, false dawns and self-destructions the club has endured over recent times, to say we shouldn’t want to settle ‘just’ for a top-four finish, is verging on the absurd. But with the squad just one carefully plotted win away from a Europa League quarterfinal and a great placing in the Premier League with 12 games left, why not?
Some of the most poignant moments in this club’s history have come in success within the cup competitions. Those indulging in Europa League snobbery would do well to remember that, before both crucifying Andre Villas-Boas for fielding such strong sides and rubbing in the trophyless run of those down the road.
Villas-Boas has done all he can to win this competition this season and that won’t stop tomorrow night against Lyon. And that’s exactly what this club should be doing.