A lot of fans are disillusioned with the state of Arsenal at the moment.
From last season, where we capitulated in spectacular fashion after the Carling Cup defeat, and since then we have lost Cesc Fabregas, Carlos Vela, Denilson, Gael Clichy and Emmanuel Eboue to a combination of transfers and loans. Added to that, it is suspected that Nicklas Bendtner and Samir Nasri have played their last games for the club.
You almost feel as if the players mentioned have had enough with Arsenal and want to move on.
And if Arsene couldn’t think that things could get any worse, we also have Gervinho, Alex Song, Emmanuel Frimpong, Jack Wilshere, Laurent Koscielny, Sebastien Squillaci, Johan Djourou, Tomas Rosicky, Kieran Gibbs and Armand Traore all unavailable through suspension and injury.
So if you take into account that essentially 17 players are missing or not focused on playing for Arsenal, then that would cripple any football team.
And the fact of the matter is, in the first leg of the Champions League qualifier with Udinese, we scored a goal and kept a clean sheet, which is what we would have taken before the game.
So while things might seem bad, they could be worse. And if anything, this current Arsenal squad have exceeded expectations considering the major setbacks they have experienced already this season.
Strangely enough it was not the young players such as Miquel, Jenkinson and Frimpong that disappointed against Liverpool yesterday (in fact I thought they were all exceptional), it was the senior players such as Theo Walcott, Andrei Arshavin and Aaron Ramsey that let the side down. So you can’t fault the performances of the young players Arsene has recruited.
The fact of the matter is Arsene doesn’t have money to spend. There’s a reason why he’s reluctant to spend the money, and it’s because he doesn’t have it. Surely it would make his life easier if he did spend big money on experienced Premier League players – it would get the fans off his back, it would give him a far greater chance of success in terms of trophies and create a better feeling around the club overall. Arsene knows better than most about the animosity some Arsenal fans are displaying at football matches and surely he would like nothing more than to bring in players that would make a difference.
You have to ask yourself why isn’t Arsene spending the money? The only other explanation to not having any money to spend is that he wants to tarnish the legacy he has left our football club and get the sack. Does that sound likely?
The Emirates Stadium project was designed to give Arsenal a solid future and compete with the big teams financially and on the pitch. We are one of the few major football clubs that can balance the books and have also competed consistently at the top of the Premier League. We’ve come close most of the time over the last few seasons, particularly in the 2007-2008 season, and if it wasn’t for Martin Taylor I’m certain we would have lifted the title that year. And how about the Champions League Final in 2006? If we had a bit of luck there as well things could have been so, so different. With those two successes we could have really built on that and had even more success. But as so much in football you need that bit of luck which has deserted us over the last few years.
The model Arsenal are currently embarking on is designed to ensure that we are still a top club in 50 years time. Far too much in the Premier League era we’ve seen “big” teams like Leeds United, Sheffield Wednesday, Nottingham Forest, Derby County and Coventry City reach the heights of success now to be condemned to the lower leagues.
Gary Neville, of all people, wrote this excellent article last week on Arsene Wenger and it makes so much sense. I’m sure you’ve probably already read it but if you haven’t I highly recommend you take a look.
In Arsene we trust.