There are many factors that affect a clubs performance in the English Premier League. Fitness, fortune, referees, management and chemistry are a few. Regardless, almost every season, the true class of the league rise to the top and those that can’t get it together are “hammered” into their rightful location. Sorry for the unnecessary pun, but generally speaking, a club’s position at the end of the league is indicative of the level of football your club played through the year. But is this the case with Arsenal?
With the growing popularity of Twitter and in general the online community, Arsenal supporters are often blanketed with details on the club…some they want…and some they don’t. Though the Arsenal are likely to finish 4th and be subject to a qualifier for entry into the Champion’s League, many Arsenal supporters believe a string of bad-luck has left them in this situation. The recent draw with Liverpool is at the top of many fans minds, dropping two points on a questionable penalty called on Eboue. Supporters no doubt have been unable to wipe their minds clean of the disaster at St. James’s Park where after a straight red was issued to Abou Diaby and the flood walls came tumbling down. That is just 2 examples of the many injustices supporters could be pointing to. The players see it, the fans see it, and the coach sees it.
To be clear, however, that is not the reason we aren’t going to be win the Premier League this season. However many and whichever excuses we want to use to justify another trophy-less season for the Gunners, the reason we’re not celebrating glory is a lack of mental strength. Gunners on both sides argue whether Fabregas “really” wanted to be here this season or if his head is already in Barcelona. Fans have discuss our goalkeeping woes, inability to score goals, a weak back-line, injury problems across the board, match tactics, etc. All of these things have played a role in this season’s frustration, but some choose to look at the team and point to the man in charge.
There is no bigger supporter of what Arsene Wenger has done for the Arsenal…not just as a squad…but as an organization. There is a positive financial future on the Red & White side of North London; that cannot be said for many if not most clubs in world football. I believe in Arsene Wenger and I believe in Arsenal Football Club.
That being said, sometimes you need a shakeup in style to find out how the individuals on your team prefer to be managed. This 2011/2012 season will be the indicator of if that shake up is necessary.
There’s a large group within the online community calling for Wenger’s head. They cite his unwillingness to purchase quality players and a general inability to motivate the team that, to be fair, collapsed after the loss in the final to Birmingham. Is that on the player or the coach? Scoreless draws on the road can be acceptable in some instances, but never at home in front of the fans who pay more to see their team than anywhere else in the world…(+6%). Are fans entitled to see trophies won? Probably not. Are they entitled to see quality performances AND quality effort? Very much so. But do all those trips to the Champions League mean nothing?
I found it interesting that Pat Rice has decided to stay “one more” season at the Emirates after the majority thought he would make his exit this summer. I also found it interesting that Arsene Wenger was quoted as saying he was “very excited Pat would be staying for one more year.” Since 1996 these two have worked closely to put a product on the field that would win the Premier League. They have done this while also adding an array of trophies to the case along the way. They have managed some of England’s best players of all-time and built the “Invincibles,” who everyone in Europe remembers. But is the decision for Pat Rice to stay “one more year” an indication of Arsene’s mindset? Is it possible that these two men have decided “it’s either now or never”?
Though many fans believe he would never believe Wenger would leave the Emirates, he has noticeably changed personas on the sideline. He looks like a man who doesn’t enjoy football anymore. Weekly, we see him slamming water bottles to the ground with a scowl on his face. The players have to have the guts to stand up for themselves if we want something other than dust in the trophy case. Yesterday’s performance at home to the Villains was far from that. Argue bad luck all you please, but at some point, excuses become irrelevant and Arsenal have reached that moment. Ideally, Arsenal wins the quadruple next season and this article will be moot. But for most Arsenal supporters, we are ready to see what/who the summer brings to the Emirates and personally, I hope it doesn’t bring the final episode of Arsene Wenger.
Read more of Jason’s articles at Arsenal Insider