Arsene and Arsenal
Have Arsenal become a joke?
Every week, fans from across the globe pray that Chelsea and Manchester United lose, simply because they despise them, but it is even more entertaining when Arsenal fall to pieces, because of the comical fan melt downs that we witness on Arsenal Fan TV.
Nobody really knows what to think of Arsenal anymore, are they still a great side or have they fallen?
Are Arsenal fans ungrateful?
Should Arsene Wenger go?
Why do Arsenal always bottle it?
“I’d 8-2 be an Arsenal fan”
Each season, as you know, 20 teams compete for the Premier League title but only one can win it.
Each season, 32 teams (from the start of the group stage) battle it out for the Champions League.
And each season, there are two domestic cups to be won, with all 92 clubs involved.
That’s FOUR cups (how ironic?)
At most, four English teams can end the season with prestigious silverware.
4th place. Every season!
Arsenal have not won the Premier League since 2004 but have managed to finish in the top four of the Premier League every year since then, and indeed for almost every year of the decade before their title win.
Meaning that The Gunners have qualified for the Champions League every year since the 1998/99 season.
Since Wenger took charge of Arsenal in 1996, Arsenal have won the FA Cup six times and won three titles, including the Invincible season of 2003/04 where as you most probably know, Arsenal didn’t lose a single match.
After winning the FA Cup in 2005, Arsenal changed as a football club.
Arsenal moved from their beloved home, Highbury, to the modern footballing heaven, The Emirates Stadium.
The construction of the new stadium was of course costly, and Arsenal were therefore unable to splash out on big name players for almost a decade.
Arsenal famously went on a nine year trophy drought from 2005 to 2014 but still maintained their status as one of the world’s best teams.
From 2005 to 2014, the excuse for not signing players was perhaps more valid, but it didn’t completely explain why Arsenal failed to win trophies.
Arsenal reached the 2006 Champions League final but the game ended in heartbreak as Barcelona triumphed to a 2-1 victory with two late goals after Sol Campbell gave Arsenal the lead.
Arsenal lost the 2007 League Cup Final to Chelsea by the same scoreline and were thrashed by North London rivals Spurs, in the semi-final of the same competition a year later.
Arsenal infamously lost the 2011 League Cup final to Birmingham, a team who were later relegated from the Premier League in the same season.
Wenger opts to play youngsters in the League Cup and very rarely uses any of his first team stars in the competition and that would signal why he has never won the competition.
Considering Arsenal have been in the Champions League for almost 20 years, it does seem strange that they have never actually won it.
Arsenal just haven’t been good enough to win it, or even get past the last 16 in the last few years and it raises the question of why Arsenal have failed to improve for so many years.
So what is the problem at Arsenal?
I decided to ask some of Arsenal’s most die-hard fans what they believe is the problem with Arsenal.
If I mix together the responses that I received from Arsenal fans calling for Wenger to go, the sentence would look something like this:
“He is clueless, he is past it! It has been over a decade since we last won the league, it is becoming ridiculous! Not only have we suffered embarrassing defeats and thrashings to the other big clubs like United and Chelsea, we even mess up against the small clubs. It isn’t just this season, it is every season, the same cycle and I have had enough of it!”
If I join together a few more responses, I end up with this to continue the rant:
“Aside from the lack of trophies and horrible losses, look at our players! Wenger has lost his eye for a quality transfer! Kante and Wanyama were far cheaper than Xhaka and have already done a better job than him. We don’t just waste money and sell our star players, Wenger doesn’t have a clue what to do with the players that we already have, just look at Sanchez’s reaction when he is subbed!”
Again, here I will mix together the responses I received to form a quote that summarises the fans’ opinions.
“Regardless of Wenger, the board has lost the plot. They are all money grabbing *&%£’s! They don’t know anything about football. We continuously fail to sign star players and we have become an embarrassment. It was a disgrace to bid an extra pound for Suarez (back in 2013) and it is pathetic that we sell our best players, Ozil and Sanchez are never going to stay if we carry on like this.”
A lot of fans complained about the corporate aspects of Arsenal in recent years.
“The stadium holds 60 thousand seats and there is no noise. Why? Because there are no fans in the stadium! It’s all businessmen, not fans! Most fans can’t afford to go to games with the ridiculous prices nowadays, especially at Arsenal!”
Many Arsenal fans continued to say that Wenger and the board as a mixture was the problem.
“Wenger is not un-sackable. If a manger continuously fails, it is up to the board to let him go. The Board has the money but they don’t use it. The transfer policy is a joke too. Wenger doesn’t know who to sign and always sells our best players. What is Aaron Ramsey still doing at our club!”
Mentality and style of play
Personally, I would place these two points in the same category as the manager but here is what was said.
“The mentality is a joke. We have no urgency until the last few minutes of a game, especially when we are losing. The tactics are awful, teams have sussed us out and we have become useless. I can’t bare the amount of backwards passes. We have squad depth and quality and everyone knows it but we continue to crumble, it has to be psychological.”
Not going to lie, as an Arsenal fan myself, I have agreed with a fair number of the points that I have heard so far and some of these answers perhaps aren’t too far from the truth.
To be fair, Arsenal do suffer from an enormous amount of injuries but knocks and lay-offs are part of the game and a team must be prepared for them.
“Why do we get so many injuries, every season it happens and every season it ruins us. I don’t know if it is the medical staff or the way we play, but its a nightmare.”
It does seem quite likely that Arsenal have a problem with their medical staff or are exposed to more injuries in the way they play, but dare I say it, is that Wenger’s fault?
Some fans actually disagreed that there are problems with Arsenal and stated:
“I don’t know why everybody is complaining, look at what Wenger has achieved, we are always competing at the very top and no other team has this level of consistency. We also have to remember that other teams are improving and spend more than us!”
There may be some level of truth in this.
No matter how stressed Arsenal fans may be, Wenger completely transformed the club and it is fair to say that it would be disrespectful to sack him, it would be a lot better if he were to step down on his own.
But on the other hand, if all other teams are improving then Arsenal should be improving too.
So what is the real answer?
There are many arguments saying that Arsenal are no longer the club that they once were and many reasons for Wenger and the board to go and a couple of fans who disagree with this completely.
So who is right?
There is only one person to ask that question to, and that person is… Me.
I am an Arsenal fan myself, and if you follow the 101 Great Goals Instagram account, you will often see my life as a Gooner travelling across England to see Arsenal play (and often, unfortunately, lose!)
So here is my take on the Arsenal situation:
It is almost impossible to disagree that there are some serious problems at Arsenal.
Just over a decade ago, Henry and Bergkamp were firing Arsenal to league titles and countless silverware and to see all of that change so abruptly proves that there is something wrong.
Some of the players that have put on an Arsenal shirt over the past few years have been disgraceful.
We have seen a total lack of quality in some of our players (not mentioning any names except Sanogo, Bendtner, Chamakh, Bischoff, Frimpong, Squillaci, Andre Santos, Sylvestre, Denilson and Gervinho – notable mentions include Cygan and Jeffers but they played for Arsenal in the pre-Emirates era).
Oh and I forgot Kim Kallstrom! (if he counts?!)
Disrespectful to Wenger
Wenger has showed a ridiculous amount of loyalty to our club and it is definitely disrespectful to call for his head when he has put Arsenal back on the map.
Wenger could have left to manage some of the biggest clubs or countries in the world but stayed loyal to Arsenal through thick and thin and unfortunately wasn’t shown the same level of loyalty back from his players (not mentioning any names except van Persie, Nasri, Adebayor, Clichy and Cole).
Players have actually admitted their mistakes in leaving Arsenal and wished to return such as Fabregas and Hleb.
The fact of the matter is, Arsenal are no longer one of Europe’s best sides and need to improve if they want to keep their status as a top side in England.
The Arsenal board are ridiculous and there is no denying it, the money in football is ridiculous and it must be made clear to people such as Stan Kroenke that football is not a business and fans are not customers.
Most top clubs would sack a manager who failed to win silverware for nine consecutive years and perhaps Arsenal were wrong not to and perhaps Wenger was wrong not to step down years ago. Or even after winning the FA Cup in 2015 so that he could leave the club on a positive note.
Wenger is beginning to ruin his reputation and Arsenal need to change before too much damage is done.
But whilst Wenger is the man in charge, Arsenal fans should get behind the team and stop calling for him to leave.
Some Arsenal fans held up a banner that read “Arsenal FC not Arsene FC”.
These fans used this banner to show that they wanted Wenger to leave but maybe they may also raise a valid point.
Fans should stop supporting the manager or fighting against the manager and start supporting the team instead of an individual.
All Arsenal fans want the same result at the end of the day, and that is to win titles and trophies, no matter who is in charge.
So whether you are Wenger in or Wenger out, get behind the team and hope for the best, instead of hoping for success in the future with a different manager, no matter who is in charge, you should always support the team.
Well done if you reached the end of this pretty lengthy piece and thank you to all the Arsenal fans who gave me their views on the club.