As we draw closer to the end of another Premier League campaign it’s fair to say that Arsenal have been on a journey this season but the big difference to the last one is that we managed to be top of the league for the first time since December 2010 and remained there consistently for a while. We have also reached the FA semi-final for the first time in years and providing we can placate Wigan we will hopefully be lifting the FA cup in May so all in all it’s not been the worst season we’ve endured so why are fans more aggrieved than ever and what can we expect come May?
I know that the last few weeks have been hard to endure as fans, it’s never nice to see your team fall apart during games and suffer huge losses especially when they highlight all the flaws within the way we play and leave Wenger under fire to answer to why things are going so wrong. We had the chance to have a different season, it was all there for the taking and still is but it’s looking less likely now everyone around us has stepped it up a notch and we are running out of steam. We have been ‘unlucky’ with injuries but that’s no excuse, we have these injuries every year and still no-one at the club thinks to back up the squad with some players-even our youth team would suffice as there are some strong players coming through or question why the injury team have gone downhill since the departure of Gary Lewin.
Wenger’s 1000th game at Chelsea was one of the biggest indicators this season that something just isn’t right within the squad. You can blame Wenger’s tactics and mental block with Maureen all day long but the truth is there were eleven players on that pitch that day that all failed to show up for their manager, not one of them put the effort in and after we were 3 nil down there was no fight. They all owe him, no matter what we think, those players are on that pitch because he picked them and he deserved more than that on the day.
It was a red flag for most fans, if there’s a special game or one that means a lot, we seem to manage to muster some power from somewhere and achieve it, it’s how we win North London Derby’s so many times and how we beat Bayern at their own ground but we failed against Chelsea and there was no real reason for it, they don’t play particularly spectacular football, Mourinho has just sussed our weaknesses every time and takes advantage.
What we are all seeing here is the same mistakes being made day in and day out and it’s frustrating as fans to watch everything players and managers from the past and present have worked so hard to build just disintegrate right before our eyes. We have had such an amazing history and what we have achieved is second to none and Wenger is responsible for some of that history but what happens when you go from being top of the league for most of the season to fighting it out for 4th spot after conceding 17 goals in just 3 games?
Something has to change, we’ve been trying this method for 8 years now and it has become stale. The great football we once played seems to show up a few times a season but we’ve lost our consistency and our ability to fight back-especially against the big team who have all worked out how to play us and score lots of goals. Whose fault is it? Honestly who knows, we can only blame the person/people we individually attribute blame to, some blame the board, some blame the players and it seems this season that the majority seem to blame Wenger as it’s team and his tactics.
As someone who was devoutly “Wenger out” last season I decided to keep my mouth shut this year and observe from both angles and save my judgement until May, it saved me from all the stress and abuse I endured last season and I’ve really enjoyed debating and I also enjoyed the season more. However I’ve noticed that it seems to be worse this season, being top and conceding a lead has really got to everyone. The fact is that there is such a huge divide between us all at the moment and it’s not getting better, people are bandying insults around instead or respecting the different in opinion and that isn’t good.
We’re divided in our opinion of the board, management and each other but I think what we are all united in is thinking that something has to change in this situation because we are not progressing forward as we should be compared to other clubs around us. Despite all the animosity and difference in opinion the bottom line is we all want the same thing- we all want our club to play good football and win trophies, it’s as simple as that.
This summer is going to be an interesting one to say the least, we already know that a new Head of Youth will be appointed as Liam Brady retires, we have our new kit sponsor Puma revealing their new designs to the world and we know there will be new arrivals but the one thing on everyone’s mind is will Wenger stay or go?
Should we win the FA Cup and come first or second then Wenger would’ve proved a lot a lot of people wrong and I daresay he’ll stay and there’s not much anyone could argue with that decision BUT if we don’t get as high as that or we fail to win the FA cup then I can’t honestly see fans backing him to stay next season and I can’t see that Wenger himself will want to. He will never let anyone dictate to him how to run his team so therefore he will never change and he genuinely believes his way is right even though millions of people can see that there are weaknesses that are never fixed. Wenger will always hold a special place in Arsenal’s history but his stubbornness is diminishing his fans by the week and they seem to be getting quieter and changing their opinion as the last of his defence falls away-(no pun intended).
It’s going to be a sad day when Arsene eventually leaves whether it will be in the summer or future, he has given us many a fond memory and despite the last 8 years you can’t deny that for almost a decade we had the very best we could get from him, that’s why it’s so disappointing that he can’t reach that achievement again.