Is this season Wenger's greatest ever achievement?

By Avenell Dave

I think all Arsenal fans want to say 'good riddance' to this season, and it has certainly shown who are supporters and who are simply glory hunters with unrealistic expectations about what we are capable of achieving.

Of course we all want Arsenal to win trophies and we want to be winning the BIG trophies.

But things have changed since Arsene Wenger took over in the mid-1990s.

While M*nure were the dominant force with money to spend, even they did so relatively responsibly.

Now we have the Ch*vs and this season's victors Citeh to contend with, both of whom have spent unlimited funds to try to achieve their goals.

Yes, the summer could have been dealt with more efficiently, but that ignores the fact that Na$ri and Cesc both played contributory roles in compromising our ability to get a fair price for them. With the Champions League uncertainty as well, it's no wonder we struggled early on with players unwilling to commit until they knew the shape of our season.

When you look at how much Liverpool spent as well, it's a miracle that we can even compete for the top four.

Tradition and past success means nothing when it comes to remaining competitive.

Had Gervinho and Song not been suckered in at Newcastle, had Frimpong had the experience not to get sent off against Liverpool, things could have worked out very differently in terms of our season's start and in particular the need to field such a patched up side at Old Trafford, which will always be the outstanding negative of the season.

Add to that the loss of all four full-backs and the obvious impact that had on us and to even contemplate finishing in the top four is remarkable.

No one is happy with another trophyless season.

No one is happy about some of the lacklustre displays both individually or as a team.

But somehow, by the skin of our teeth, we managed to finish in the top three, Champions League football secured and a rebuilding and strengthening job can be done.

Of course that means moving on some players who have not contributed (Chamakh and Park) as well as some of those who have been on loan and whose futures certainly lie elsewhere.

The big challenge now will be that we cannot have players at the club on big money who are not part of the squad - Almunia may be leaving but we simply can't sustain that level of wastage with other players.

I suspect we'll sign two or three new players - hopefully 'super class' to use Wenger's language, but getting them done is going to be a challenge, especially with EURO 2012 on the horizon.

Looking back to that time in the season when Arsenal were lying 17th in the league, I reckon there aren't too many Addict who thought we'd finish third. The fact that it's only a few short years since we won the league by going through the season unbeaten means that fans have huge expectations of Arsenal, but after the most dismal start to a season I can recall, finishing in the top three, albeit 19 points behind the leaders, was no mean feat and the manager and the players should be commended for their fight back.

For now, without the need to crow about that small club down the road, let's admire the fact that Wenger has pulled it out of the bag - just - and that we can now regroup and build for next season without some of the uncertainties that hampered us last summer.

Thanks Arsene - you've done us proud. Now let's sign up Robin van Persie and kick on for a real title challenge next season.