A new year brings new challenges. You have expectations and hopes of competing at the top of English football and ultimately winning silverware.
However, it seems to be that Arsenal are further than ever away from being the powerhouse that they once were. For the Gunners to even dream about winning championships and cups, their ethos and ambition need to change. Every season Arsenal fans are left frustrated with poor recruitment and false promises which is having a huge problem on the domestic front.
Initially, the team were struggling to beat any of the big six up until September 2020. This run stretched back to January 2015, when a Santi Cazorla winner defeated Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium.
Since then, however, the team have recorded wins away to Manchester United and Chelsea. Mikel Arteta has given the side a freshness, with players like Emile Smith Rowe and Joe Willock in particular catching the eye. The problem with Arsenal isn’t the lack of potential, it’s more an overdependence on young talent.
More experience needs to be brought in for Arsenal to head back to the summit of English football. Despite players like Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette, Arsenal in November 2020, reached a new club low, with the clubs worst goalscoring return after nine games in 34 years. This is simply not good enough for the magnitude of the club.
The club has other problems that have contributed to their underperformances in recent seasons. The treatment of Mesut Ozil beggars belief. The former German midfielder had been outcast from the first team squad for the guts of two years. He has been recently let go to Turkish side Fenerbahce in the January transfer window. It is such a shame to see such a player being undervalued by the club.
Ozil in his Madrid days was a dynamic player who could create chances for the likes of Karem Benzema and his ability to make the right pass is why Arsenal signed him in the beginning. It shows the poor outlook the club has had over the last couple of seasons. Despite Ozil’s disagreement with the club views, more should have been done to resolve the issue.
This ultimately boils down to the poor skills of club stakeholder Stan Kroenke. His lack of direction is slowly damaging the reputation of one of the wealthiest clubs in the world.
Ozil was left out in the cold at Arsenal and for a guy of his talent its completely wrong
Not only has Kroenke failed to keep hold of players and build a structure, but he has also failed to let Arteta and Wenger before him, the right funds to bring in players with the proper leadership qualities capable of competing at the highest level. Players who were a part of The Invincibles, most noticeably Sol Campbell and Martin Keown, would dictate the tempo of the game so the likes of Thierry Henry, Patrick Vieira and Robert Pires could shine. Watching Arsenal nowadays, you don’t get those qualities from David Luiz and Granit Xhaka.
There is a sense that the team can be got at and they lack a level of cohesion and structure which is hampering performances. They need figures who will organise the team. There is no question an identity crisis at this club. It’s something that needs to be solved if Arsenal are to attract the best players and be competing for silverware sooner, rather than later.
The Gunners current league position of 11th would suggest that major additions need to be added to the squad come the summer. The side’s inconsistency was further demonstrated in their recent 0-0 draw against Crystal Palace. Former club legend Ian Wright has called on drastic improvements from the club. ”Remember who you are. Who you are and who you represent.” These words seem to suggest that Arsenal’s style of play has been lost and that the players don’t seem confident to play in that attacking fashion.
Further evidence of this view can be seen by Sky Sports pundit and former Liverpool Jamie Redknapp, making a controversial claim –
Bad game, bad game what you gonna do, what you gonna do if it’s not 3-2?
Redknapp called the 0-0 draw against Palace one of the most boring games he has ever seen. It’s crazy to think that Arsenal lack direction but Arteta needs to be backed by the board. Stats in the Premier League show that sacking managers aren’t always the best way forward. The club needs to be re-designed from the top first and it can then be filtered down to the first team.
Arsenal may have won the FA Cup last season, but it is getting to a stage where this is simply not good enough, for a club that is surely capable of much more. Arsenal have been absent from the Champions League since the 2016-17 campaign and this absence doesn’t look like ending anytime soon.
The likes of Leicester and Tottenham Hotspur have in the meantime brought in new managers and a structure. Arsenal are struggling to be even considered a top six side and with the Manchester clubs, Chelsea and champions Liverpool to contend with, the rebuilding job at Arsenal seems a long and winding road. Their mid-table position looks gloomy for fans alike, but consistency going forward has to be the main goal for this team.
The problems at Arsenal will not be resolved overnight, but some adjustments to the recruitment policies and work rate on and off the pitch will benefit the side in the season’s to come. It will allow for greater consistency in the team’s performances and by bringing in some leadership the club can return to the top level.
The young players cannot be expected to deliver week in, week out. Experience is needed to bring balance to the team. The owners and stakeholders need to be held accountable. With everyone singing from the same hymn sheet, this club can return to the top of English football once again.