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Is the battle to be an ‘Emirates Idol’ the cause of Arsenal’s woes?


Football FanCast columnist ‘The New Voice of Football’ wonders if the battle to be top dog in the
Arsenal dressing room is the real cause of Arsenal’s problems.

Without a
trophy since Patrick Vieira left North London, Arsenal are a team that look
capable of winning everything at times, but have come up short on all fronts
since that dire FA Cup penalty shoot-out win over Man United in 2005. So what
has stopped Arsenal from winning anything in the past four seasons?

The sale
of Vieira after the Cup Final to Juventus, could point to the Gunners
shortcomings the following season. Although they did make the Champions League
final, with the loss of Thierry Henry to Barca, probably not helping matters
the following one.

Throughout
this four-year period with no silverware however, Arsenal have continued to
play the same brand of attacking football. Threatening at times to emulate ‘The
Invicibles’ that won the title in 2004 remaining unbeaten. So if Arsene Wenger
is still producing a team capable of beating anyone on their day? Why do the
Gunners keep on falling short?

Vieira
kept order within the ranks at Highbury, while when Henry took the skipper’s
armband from his compatriot it appeared that Arsenal were still a tight knit
unit, with a pecking order in place. So has the departure of the two older
statesmen from North London led the remaining players to scramble for ‘top dog’
billing at the Emirates?

Perhaps
the first signs were there last season, when William Gallas gave such a public
display of toy throwing, while captain. As skipper and the new senior member of
the side, shouldn’t the former Chelsea player have been setting an example to a
young side that had looked every inch Premiership champions in the first half
of the season, but choked terribly in the latter part of the campaign, winning
nothing.

Then if
we fast forward to this season and Gallas’ public outburst to the press, where
he criticised his team-mates. Singling out Van Persie as someone, who showed a
lack of respect towards him as captain, without actually naming the Dutch
striker. This led to Gallas being stripped of the captaincy amidst much
criticism of the defender, with many believing that he was lucky to hold on to
the armband after the, toy throwing incident the previous season.

However,
following new ‘Emirates Idol’ Andrey Arshavin’s agents claims of jealousy
towards the Russian’s new found, popularity in England. Could Gallas’ outburst
been the last pleas of a man that was witnessing a young team start to
disintegrate from within, with a number of young egos too eager to be the man
at Arsenal?

“To tell the truth – the players of
Arsenal are not easy to deal with. The squad consists almost entirely of
foreigners. The French diaspora rules there,”
said Lachter this week.

“Also there are guys – like van Persie and
Fabregas – who are rather jealous about Andrey’s fast growing popularity in
England.” 

Now there
must be more huge egos per square-foot in a Premier League changing room than
most places and Lachter is one of those agents, who must be on a rate-per-word
such is the man’s liking for his own voice. But could there really be a battle
within the dressing room to be top dog at Arsenal?

Wenger
has always put the emphasis on the team at the Gunners as a collective. The
Frenchman commanding total respect from everyone within the Arsenal squad, but
with so many talented individuals at the club are some players more equal than
others?

Lachter
labels Fabregas and Van Persie as jealous, could they be? Well the pair have
waited to step out of the shadows of Vieira and Henry and then along comes
Arshavin and starts grabbing all the headlines. Fabregas is undoubtedly a
leader on the pitch, but is the young Spaniard bringing them together in the
right way off it? The alleged spitting malarkey with Hull assistant manager
Brian Horton possibly suggesting that Fabregas is yet to mature as an adult as
he has as a footballer.

Then with
Van Persie also cited by Lachter as someone, whose nose is out of joint at the
popularity of Arshavin, with it rumoured that the striker is not the easiest
player to get on with at Arsenal, something that Gallas eluded to. Could there
be some form of clique starting to form within the walls of the Emirates?
Something, like a bad tackle from one of his players, Wenger has failed to see?

We
will never know exactly what goes on within the Emirates changing room, but
Lachter would seem to suggest as Gallas before him that all is not right.
Wenger will never be in danger of losing the dressing room, but is the dressing
room starting to lose each other? For while there will always be rivalries and
banter between players at clubs, has it got a little out of hand recently with
Fabregas as captain, backed by Van Persie, who are now the senior players at
the club?

Article title: Is the battle to be an ‘Emirates Idol’ the cause of Arsenal’s woes?

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