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Old Problems Threatening The New Arsenal?

19 years ago, back in 1996, Arsène Wenger was appointed manager of Arsenal. His anniversary with Arsenal was a day of reflection for many fans so I thought I'd write a piece about what I think of our season so far. I've managed to keep my patience so far… well at least I had until Olympiakos. We are a fabulous bunch of losers, aren't we? Perhaps what everybody thinks is actually the truth. Or maybe not, maybe we're just unlucky.


West Ham, Liverpool, Zagreb, Chelsea and now Olympiakos, we've a few bad results already this season. The most common reasons with Arsenal are: 1/ bad luck 2/ a lack of efficiency. But why always us? Why are we always discussing the same damn points?

Maybe we should try to solve the issues we've been encountering for ages now. Against Chelsea, despite Costa's traditional behavior, we were naïve. Gabriel lost his cool and got sent off. Arsenal lost control of the game. Then we lost Cazorla. It was utterly disgraceful but it's not the first time it has happened to us.

Then, there's a lot of fuss about “arrogance” from Arsenal players and the manager. Were we really arrogant? Of course we were. We faced Monaco last season thinking we were going to batter them 3 or 4 nil. Now, wait, this season, we played against Zagreb and Olympiakos with an 'A' team. Yes, that team should've beaten those two teams. Yet, we were utterly ridiculous, open at the back and erratic at the front. So my question is: why bother playing the Champions League – basically the most prestigious competition in Europe – if we are not going to give our best? Okay, we are probably not going to win it but is it only to get the money from the qualification? In addition to our naivety, we're too kind. Just play your best team. Sure, there's all the “physical” business of the Premier League, and the fact that – apparently – you can't play two games in three days. We've always done haven't we? Arsenal fans are rarely happy. One day we're yelling at Wenger because he doesn't rotate, the next day he does and we still get mad at him. Perhaps there's a way to strike a balance? The physical impact of the Premier League is probably true but it's also a matter of performing. The players on the pitch were shown by the Greeks and Croatians what it takes to provide a comprehensive performance.

What I can't understand above all is the fact that we have a promising team (we do), we improved heaps last season and yet, we seem to be going backwards this season. We added a world class goalkeeper to our team. I'd argue that our team is perhaps not good enough for what we, as fans, are waiting for. We've needed a DM for years; Coquelin's miraculous return “saved” us for a couple of months. Whether you think he is good enough or not is not the main point I believe. The thing is, we have no genuine back-up. We have the same problem with our striker(s). Unlike what Wenger seems to think, we do not have “a great squad depth”. Our subs are ten million times under the level of our starters. At least a player should've been added to the team in addition to Cech. And when in the last days of the transfer window our priority was presumably a striker I was like: “What the fuck?”. Ok, I know, I just said that we didn't have a proper “world class” striker up front though I believe the goals can come from (almost) anywhere else: Cazorla, Alexis, Ramsey, Özil… On the other hand if you can't control a game and given Arsenal's injury issues, you're done.

If you give an unbiased thought at our squad, we have good players, but the squad depth thing is a myth. And now's the part where I'm taking a massive risk. I believe various players are overrated in our squad and they're still regarded as potential saviors. Take Wilshere, he's supposed to be club captain and play for us for 20 years or so, yet he's always injured. The lad played 50 games aged 18 back in 2010/11. His body's damaged and getting more and more fragile. Sure he's talented but let's not count too much on him. Chamberlain is a mystery and Walcott is… Walcott. He has been asking to play up front for years and now we've discovered the UNEXPECTED… he's not good! Imagine the stick Giroud would get for all the chances he gets had he been missing them.

Now, my next point concerns our mental sufficiency. I think it's quite blatant now, I hate people who say we haven't got a legitimate and designed “leader” but hey, it is TRUE! And in games like in the Champions League where we suffer from about everything, benching the only lad – Cech - who actually won I do not know how many trophies is beyond me. Arteta is our captain, he's nowhere near a natural leader, Mertesacker could be but his level is a real issue, then Cazorla is definitely not. I dislike the so-called “bad-boys” kind of players but who knows how we'd play should we have one or two in the squad?

Why are we always suffering from the same issues? Why are we not addressing them once and for all? I'm completely against panic buy stuff and spending millions and millions on any player but wait a second. Arsenal's got more in the bank than the entire 60000 of the Emirates will have in a lifetime. Surely Arsenal CAN find some decent players to add to the squad, right? Özil, Alexis and Cech showed it. But if we continue like this, we'll struggle even more and turn into Liverpool.

I'm not sure who exactly is at fault here, the manager? The players? The board? Everyone must question its implication and decisions must be taken. I'll leave you with that. Let's find the seeds of a new dynamic Arsenal Football Club.

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Tags: Walcott, Wenger

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