Nearly all the pieces are in place, only Arsenal decide what their future holds:


TIF Article 8 - ArsenalAs with most things in football, it took a significant event to make clear what was already glaringly obvious. In this case, that event was Arsenal’s 3-1 home Champions League defeat to Bayern Munich and what became truly clear was what most of us already knew; this Arsenal team isn’t good enough.

The signs have been there for most of the season, an example being the 2-0 defeat to Man Utd at Old Trafford in which the scoreline didn’t reflect just how dominant Utd were on the day, but also in the Champions League. They were well beaten 2-1 away to Greek champions Olympiakos during the group stages, the same Olympiakos side that were battered 4-0 on aggregate to Spanish mid-table side Levante in the Europa League Round of 32 recently. Olympiakos had of course, ahem, changed coaches between those two ties but it doesn’t hide the fact that Arsenal struggled against what is a mediocre team, something that has been happening all season.

After what was admittedly a bright start to the season, one that went some way to banishing memories of last season’s shambolic start, it’s all gone downhill. Knocked out of the Capital One Cup by Bradford, the FA Cup by Blackburn and all but out of the Champions League at the hands of  the superb Bayern, the players look exhausted and bereft of confidence. The players that have carried the team throughout the season, such as Cazorla and Arteta are now feeling the effects of being overused (by necessity) and while one of the club’s true superstars, Jack Wilshere, is playing some of the best football he ever has, he’s simply not surrounded by enough similar quality to steer this team, as it is, to success.

In recent times the tide has turned against Arsene Wenger. Fans are running out of patience, to the point that the legendary banner which states “In Wenger We Trust” was absent during the FA Cup defeat against Blackburn. While Wenger has taken a lot of flak, the blame too has to be levelled at Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis. For years, the American has boasted about the club’s swelling coffers, with regular profits and a balance sheet most clubs would kill for. However, the simple fact is, and most football fans will testify to this, that without trophies and success on the pitch, without sustained consistent challenges at the the top level, especially for a club the size of Arsenal, all the quarter end profits in the world are meaningless. For fans, all that really matter are results and Arsenal currently, aren’t getting the results a club of their size should be. Pardon me for being so simplistic but the root of the problem is as clear as day; Arsenal don’t have good enough players.

While their rivals have strengthened their ranks with top class players, (Aguero, Oscar, Hazard, Van Persie etc.) Arsenal have sold their best players and replaced them with cheaper players of a much-lower standard. Whether it’s a lack of ambition or a tentativeness in the market, Wenger has brought in a much lower calibre of player than his rivals, and it’s showing on the pitch. With finances as strong as they are at the club (they announced a profit over €20M for the six months up to last November only last week) now is the time to delve into the transfer market and really show they mean business. While the responsibility is on Wenger to find the players, the onus is on Gazidis to front up the cash. This summer is Arsenal’s chance to make a statement of intent, and Gazidis holds the key.

While it’s wonderful to watch a team recruit unknowns and mould them into world-beaters, that takes time, time that Arsenal don’t truly have. What Arsenal need is players who are world class now, not players who will be in a few years. Wenger may consider the likes of Edinson Cavani, Radamel Falcao or Victor Valdes as unrealistic targets, but for what reason did the club move to the Emirates? No doubt, finance played a part and Arsenal are taking advantage of this with their extortionate ticket prices but surely having the ability to attract world-class players to a world-class arena also played a part in the move.

Arsenal realise that most of the pieces are in place; the finance, the fans, the stadium, the history, now they need to find the stones to go out and buy the world-class players a club of their magnitude need and deserve. Otherwise, Arsenal fans may have to get used to the likes of Metalist Kharkiv and Victoria Plzen, rather than Bayern or Barca, visiting the Emirates for the foreseeable future.

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  • Thomas says:

    Agree, been saying it the whole season players not good enough. Only thing i dont agree with is – Arsenal fans may have to get used to the likes of Metalist Kharkiv and Victoria Plzen, rather than Bayern or Barca, visiting the Emirates for the foreseeable future. – id say well be lucky to see those teams…i think were heading for 6th and may stay around there unless material change

  • Leon says:

    What the hell does history have to do with anything? There is one thing that determines success and that is MONEY – that and the fact that our manager is a complete and utter moron who play central midfielders at right back and wonder why we lose. Does anyone actually support Wenger now ?

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