Another season brings about another trophyless campaign for Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal. The last time Arsenal lifted silverware was at the end of the 2005 FA Cup Final against Manchester United. In truth, they were fortunate to win that game.
Since then, the likes of Patrick Vieira, Thierry Henry, Kolo Toure, Ashley Cole, Mathieu Flamini, Cesc Fabregas, Robin van Persie, Samir Nasri, and Emmanuel Adebayor have left the club only to be replaced by players of inferior quality. While Arsenal battled bravely against Bayern Munich, it is painfully apparent that the team lacks the necessary quality to compete at the highest level. Does Arsene Wenger have what it takes to rebuild this team and guide Arsenal to a trophy, or is it time for a change of manager?
“In Arsene We Trust” is something that could often be seen or heard at the Emirates, with Arsenal fans showing their appreciation for Wenger’s management. Lately, there has been less appreciation and more apprehension. Arsenal football tickets are at exorbitant prices, yet the team continues to suffer. The best Arsenal can hope for from this season is a fourth place finish, which would get them into the Champions League for next season. But, what good is making the Champions League places, when the team has no chance of winning the competition?
It is easy and convenient to blame finances for Arsenal’s demise, and there is some truth to it. The pre-Emirates stadium spending at Arsenal was close to 2 million pounds a season on transfers. The post-Emirates spending is at -15 million per season. This means that Arsene Wenger is instructed to make an enormous transfer profit each summer, in order to maintain the club’s financial standing. Now that the Emirates debt is paid, and Arsenal’s shareholders make a healthy profit each year, it is time for things to change.
The time has come for Stan Kroenke and Arsene Wenger to take responsibility for this decline. There are many football tickets available for Arsenal games as more fans tend to stay away due to the team’s lack of quality. Arsenal need to buy a few top class players so they can challenge the likes of Manchester United, Manchester City, and Chelsea.
Another problem with Arsenal is a lack of leaders. The team seems to perform the worst when the most is at stake. During the Bayern Munich clash, Arsenal were horrendous at home. They shrank under the spotlight and suffered a 3-1 defeat. However, once the pressure was off, and no one expected anything from the team, Arsenal managed to turn in a terrific performance and win back their pride. A team that only performs when they have nothing to lose is a team that does not win trophies.
During the past eight years, Arsenal have lost a League Cup final to Birmingham City, who were relegated the same season. They have lost League Cup ties to the likes of Bradford City, who are in the third division. Money cannot be blamed for these defeats. It points to a lack of team spirit, identity, and belief.
Arsene Wenger has given everything to Arsenal for the past 15 years. He has achieved considerable success and almost won the Champions League. Now, his job is on the line. He needs to be backed in the next transfer window so that he has one more season to turn it all around. If he cannot, it may be time for Arsene and Arsenal to part ways.