It is time all of us wake up and smell the coffee. Arsenal Football Club is on a slow but sure decline. The sad decline continued on Saturday when they were knocked out of the FA Cup by the one of the jokes of English Football. I do not care that we had 70% of the ball or that Blackburn had only one shot on target, those statistics are all irrelevant. Once the final whistle had blown no one cares what hair gel David Bentley used to comb his hair, all that matters is that Blackburn scored a goal more than the team in red. On paper the team put out was very good but the problem not for the first time, Arsene is unable to motivate them to turn over average team, in this case Blackburn, who were crushed 7-1 last season.
Arsenal have no God given right to win a trophy every year and its not even about winning and losing because even Barcelona lost a game this season!, but its about how they lose and why they lose. Wenger is under no pressure for the board to win any trophies, as long as he achieves Champions League Football each year it is considered such an achievement that it has been classified as a trophy. This sort of comfort zone attitude has infected the club since 2008 when Arsenal were humiliated by Hull City at home. Take for example what happened in the weekend. The starting eleven may have all been International players but their demeanor on the pitch was of total arrogance, its as if they expected Blackburn to literally allow them to walk the ball into their net. Take for example the goal they scored. A long ball hit upto Rhodes who beat Coquelin in the air which resulted in Olsson getting in behind the defense on the left, this stemmed by Olsson not being tracked by Walcott. Walcott ‘s statements about him almost demanding the centre forward position reflects what the club has become. He like the rest of the squad have had everything handed to them on a plate; have been mollycoddled into thinking they are better than they actually are and handed big fat contracts which they do not deserve in the process.
Blackburn are a division below Arsenal, what did Arsene think?, that they were going to come and play with three strikers. They played the way most teams do against Arsenal. Stay compact defensively and nick a goal on the break or on a set piece. Simple tactics but yet effective for most teams when playing the gunners.
The excuses are drying up for the manager. Wenger has money, lots of it. He has a wage of bill of 140m£ and another 70m£ in the transfer kitty but refuses to spend it. Arsenal have the best infrastructure and training facilities in world football and a stadium most clubs would dream of having.
Why are players like Squillaci and Arshavin still in the squad?,they just sit on their bums to earn their hefty wages. Wenger is responsible for every player in the squad, he selects the team tactics,formations etc so the buck stops with him. People may point to instability where there have been high profile departures, but ask yourself this, why did players like Van Persie and Fabregas leave?. Fabregas was the poster boy of Arsene ‘s youth project and Van Persie had just plundered in 37 goals. Both players had been at the club for eight years and had seen how the culture of the club had changed and deep down knew that it wasn’t about to change anytime soon. Arsenal fans are bitter that Robin went to Manchester United, but they are upset because deep down they know the truth. The transfer reflected that United do not consider Arsenal a threat anymore and that a player like Robin who could have lead Arsenal out of the trophyless period will surely win a few at United. If Arsenal were at least competing till the latter periods of the premier league and champions league Fabregas and Van Persie would still be our captain and vice captain rspectively. 16 years in the champions league and 1 final. Inaction on many levels means you fail to compete, failing to compete means your best players leave.
What would we like? watch the same pattern repeated season after season where we hope to succeed rather than expect or do we want a new era, where players play with some passion and take the fight to the opposition. Arsenal should aim to be biggest club in the world, not the 4th best in England and there is no reason why it cannot be achieved; under Wenger it cannot be done. The club needs change and it does not mean Wenger will be forgotten. He will always be a legend. The question is how many more groundhog days do we have to witness before action is taken?
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