Arsene Wenger’s men haven’t won the PL since the 2003-04 historic triumph.
Try being a Gooner, it hurts. They always remain in the reckoning for the title for most part of the season, but somehow end up being second best. Despite possessing one of the most talented squads not only in the Premier league but in the whole European continent, they always fail to turn up at the most crucial points of the season. The probable reasons can be: – self-inflicted damage, self-inflicted damage, self-inflicted damage.
With the Premier League at its weakest in its history, where a team at this exact point last season were fighting for their survival are topping the standings, this should have been a cake walk for them. Add to it their traditional rivals’ frailties, the title should have definitely landed in the red and white of North London. But all-too-familiar failings in Arsene Wenger’s team in terms of strategy and all-round approach have once again proved their undoing and a disappointing third-place position in the league ladder looks the most likely outcome.
Last Weekend’s trip to East London produced a 3-3 draw, which to many observers, was Arsenal’s Season in microcosm. Glimpses of attacking promise, overshadowed by glaring defensive collapses, and then a solitary point at the end pretty much summed up another disappointing season for the North London faithful.
As another PL season winds down, we take a look at things “The Professor” has gotten wrong in another underwhelming campaign.
Overreliance on Cech, suspect defense as vindicated by Carroll’s 5 star performance has typified the Gunner’s shortcomings at the back. The former Toon favorite duly made a mockery out of Bellerin and Gabriel in the air, earning himself a hat-trick in the process and turning the game on its head. This is not a one game problem that they have. Diego Costa bullied them in the defeat to Chelsea, they were torn apart by a teenager in the defeat to Manchester United and contributed to their own damage in the defeat to Swansea.
Despite possessing the second best defensive rearguard in the premier league this season, the inability to defend a lead and the temperament to combat setbacks have been familiar problems. The squad lacks depth in defense and the back four is being held together with makeshift evanescense. Regardless, Wenger withstands his footballing theories.
Upgrades are definitely required in the summer.
Struggles in front of goal
Arsene Wenger’s decision to not buy any outfield player during last summer’s transfer window raised many people’s eyebrows but his insistence that his side didn’t need any signings typified his confidence in his current attacking options. Fast forward seven months and that mistake now seems like an opportunity too good to be missed.
Olivier Giroud has 20 strikes to his name this season, so he can hardly be faulted. Danny Welbeck has just returned from a long term injury layoff. If they had signed another Centre Forward to share the burden, the story would have been very different.
Led by Mesut Ozil’s brilliant season with 18 assists, they have created the third most chances (388) in the division, tied with Liverpool, behind only an ever impressive Tottenham (432) and Man City (425). A return of 55 goals (fourth in the league) just shows how Wenger’s men have missed easy chances. In fact, no team has missed more big chances this season than Arsenal with their total of 61 bettered only by relegation candidates Newcastle and Norwich.
Recent attacking displays from Nigerian teenager Alex Iwobi have somehow shifted the limelight off of some of the club’s biggest stars’ mediocre campaigns. It seems a summer of change is required to up the ante in the Gunners’ armoury.
Reluctance to Spend
Despite being the seventh richest club in the world having a transfer kitty in the upwards of £200m, Arsenal seem so hesitant to spend, much to the frustration of their fans. While their rivals are spending millions and millions of pounds in the transfer market, they have adopted the shrewd market strategy of late – and effectively so, but at what cost?
They are clearly not moving forwards in the premier league and as exposed in the 5-1 aggregate defeat to Barcelona in the Champions League, they are way off Europe’s elite too. It doesn’t take rocket science to realise that an investment has to be made in order to turn themselves from contenders to champions.
Lack of Leaders
The foundation of Wenger’s title winning teams contained leaders in their dressing room who, when the occasion demanded, stood up and lifted their team over the finishing line. The likes Tony Adams, Patrick Vieira, or Thierry Henry had the character required to the pull the team over, often dragging them out of tight spots.
There seems to be nobody in this Arsenal team who can take command of the situation when the going gets tough. As evidenced by many instances in this campaign when they start conceding or fall behind in a match, there is nobody taking control of the proceedings. The mentality required to win titles is simply not there in this crop of players. A leader is urgently required to stop this team from failing.
There cannot be a season in which Arsenal do not struggle with injuries to their most important players. The likes of Danny Welbeck, Santi Cazorla, Jack Wilshere among others have missed most part of the campaign with a knee injury, broken fibula and Achilles injury respectively.
Gone are the days when Liverpool won the league with a squad of 15 players. To have a successful campaign, you need to have each and every player as fit as possible. But this seems to be a distant dream for the gunners faithful now-a-days.
A club of Arsenal’s stature should not be allowed to go so many years without a league title. Every Gooner deserves their fair share of happiness, the likes of Ozil, Sanchez and Cazorla deserve to be on that podium, Wenger deserves to be there once again after such a long, distinguished service. It would take a complete re-structuring of their system for that to be made a reality though.
If that doesn’t happen, they will be left with references to failures only as singled out recently by British tennis player Andy Murray.