Where Arsenal got it right
However bleak the circumstances, manager Arsene Wenger always talks about how mentally strong his side are: this season they genuinely were. Seven points behind Tottenham Hotspur with 10 games remaining, they took 26 points from their last 10 games to surge past them and pinch fourth place and the final Uefa Champions League qualifying spot.
After an uncertain start, Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker formed a fine defensive partnership, while Santi Cazorla was at times a delight, particularly early in the season.
Where Arsenal got it wrong
The usual problems were all too obvious before the usual end-of-season charge. Why are Arsenal so slack early in the season? Why do they make so many individual errors? Why do so many of their players spend so much time injured?
Star man - Santi Cazorla
He was the one spark of hope in the glum, early part of the season, a classy creator who weighed in with 12 goals.
Flop - Andrey Arshavin
It takes an effort to remember the Russian is still at the club. He did not start a league game.
There could be a few: after a new kit and shirt-sponsorship deal, Wenger has the biggest budget he has ever had and it seems prepared to use it.
A centre-forward of real class, a ball-winning midfielder and a goalkeeper are the first priorities, and there is need for greater depth at full-back and in the creative line, where Lukas Podolski has not convinced.
Prospects for 2013/14
Arsenal keep following the same script, finishing strongly to inspire optimism for the year to come. With three or four top-class additions and with a good start, a title challenge is not impossible; a more realistic aspiration is Champions League qualification and perhaps - at last - a cup.