The subject of Arsenal Football Club’s demise towards the end of last season left every football fan eager to voice their opinion. Arsené Wenger’s ‘beautiful game’ does, without doubt leave neutral supporter’s drooling at the mouth, however, the questions fly in when the final whistle blows, and Arsenal have lost 2-1 in the Carling Cup final to an ultimately inferior Birmingham team.
Answer? There is none. Wenger appears to be stuck in the trend of his 49 games unbeaten streak of 2004 where the team were seemingly unstoppable. However this team, led by the prolific Thierry Henry, must now be a fond memory in the Gunners past, as new blood attempts to rise to those heights once more. Unfortunately, this task has been made far trickier than simply filling the boots of the greats, as the present day Arsenal must now face the brute and muscle of the modern game. A game that now leaves the likes of Stoke and Bolton, profiting gluttonously from direct and simple football, leaving Arsenal starved of seemingly easy wins and potential glory.
Yet, still, a glimmer of hope for any tired and troubled Arsenal fan. Jack Wilshere is without doubt one of the best young English players we have seen in a long, long time, and, it would be hard to claim that Arsenal did not have a lot of quality within their ranks as they would not have been a top 4 team so consistently without it. Wenger consistently forms teams that play this beautiful game, something that I would much rather see and encourage than ‘which team has the best dead ball specialist’ or ‘which team can tackle the hardest’. The question is where do they go from here?
Well, every team needs balance, and with emulating the success of Barcelona in the Spanish League becoming a priority in the near future for Arsenal, compromise is needed. Barcelona’s success has been based on the formula that for every Messi and Iniesta, there is a Mascherano and a Puyol to tidy things up, allowing the flair players to impress. So, I come to the subject that leaves every Arsenal supporter with a dry mouth and sweating palms. Transfers. Now, the likes of Henry, Campbell and Vieira have aged and moved on; leaving a void that Arsené has never seemed to comprehensively fill. Familiar faces of Samir Nasri and Cesc Fabregas are losing their patience at the club, creating new pressure on the team to end the 6 year trophy drought, in order to keep the fans, and the dressing room atmosphere, as positive as possible.
Unfortunately, for me, the likes of Gervinho and Carl Jenkinson, a youngster formerly of Charlton Athletic, are, although of a reasonable quality, still either unproven in the Premier League or too young to make a real difference this season. With newspapers linking Arsenal with the likes of Juan Mata and not a lot else, it is becoming increasingly likely that Nasri does in fact have a point, and Arsenal are going to be a Top 6 team and nothing more for a good few more years.
Ultimately, for me there is one conclusion, as a team to watch in the Premier League, Arsenal are by far the most exciting, however as a team to support I have to side with the likes of Manchester United, Manchester City and Liverpool, who are showing more and more ambition with the money they are investing and the grit and determination on the pitch. This leaves two directions in how Arsenal progress, Arsené Wenger must change his stubborn ways and sign players that balance and boost his team, or is sent on his way for a new era at Arsenal Football Club.
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