Former Arsenal player believes 4th place and FA Cup win will show progress

Martin Keown thinks if Arsenal manage to finish in the top 4 and win the FA Cup then the season can be classed as a successful one.

The very first game of the season brought doom and gloom to Arsenal. A poor lacklustre display against Aston Villa led to a 3-1 home defeat and the daggers were out for Arsene Wenger.

Having failed to buy any significant players in the summer the fans were far from happy and it looked set to be a miserable season for The Gunners. A title challenge certainly looked as if it would be way beyond them, and their Champions League group looked a hard obstacle to overcome.

They eventually did splash the cash when they signed Mesut Özil for £42.5 million. He took to the Premier League well at first before his performances started to decline. Arsenal's results quickly started to pick up though after their dreadful opening day defeat. After that match nobody thought they would be competing for the title.

What has let them down is their matches against the fellow top teams. They lost 6-3 to Manchester City, 5-1 to Liverpool and 6-0 to Chelsea and it is these results which have ultimately cost them their chances of securing the Premier League title.

Instead they face a battle on their hands to secure fourth place once again. Martin Keown believes that a top four finish would be deemed a success if they can also manage to win the FA Cup as well. They are heavy favourites for the FA Cup with the only other team left in the competition being Hull City, Wigan Athletic and Sheffield United. Maybe they can finally end their trophy drought, but they found themselves in a similar situation three years ago. They were heavy favourites to beat Birmingham City in the Carling Cup final in 2011 but a defensive mix-up allowed Obafemi Martins to clinch the cup for The Blues.

Answering questions put to him on The Daily Mail website Keown said "I think it would be a successful season (if they finish in the top four and win the cup), of course. They have given the fans something to cheer in the Premier League because they have not been far away. There have been big improvements this year."

It certainly has been an improvement on recent years, because it has been sometime since Arsenal fans genuinely believed they had a chance of winning the league, and this season has allowed them to dream once again.

"Winning the FA Cup would be so important to the manager and the fans. With the teams left in it, Arsenal should win it but that provides a psychological issue with that pressure. It will not be easy against Wigan, who have played with a lot of emotion as the holders this season."

Wigan have shown great desire all season and their display was superb against Manchester City so there's no reason why they can't beat Arsenal too. The pressure will be all on The Gunners who are expected to lift the trophy.

Keown particularly believes the season can be classed as a successful one due to the improvement in certain players. "Aaron Ramsey has come to the fore and his development has been outstanding, as was Theo Walcott. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is showing good signs and the two central defenders and goalkeeper have all matured."

"There have been lots of positives all over the pitch and there have been good things. It’s important to hang on to those good things and look at where you could improve."

Arsenal face a crucial game against Everton this weekend before taking on Roberto Martinez's former side Wigan a week on Saturday.

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