Why Arsenal’s problems run much deeper than we think

Arsenal and its fans are experiencing a problem of the most frustrating nature and a strange atmosphere has consequently ensued around the Emirates which seems to have seeped into the players. It seems inexplicable that a team full of quality players capable of beating Manchester United, Chelsea and even Barcelona can stoop to the lows seen throughout the current season.

With a real chance of the Premiership and as Manchester United’s only challengers at the time Arsenal proceeded to throw FOUR goals away at Newcastle which sort of sums up The Gunners’ season. Tottenham twice, failing to score against Blackburn and Sunderland at home, not to mention the Carling Cup Final. But why has the same mistakes been allowed to happen time and time again?

Yes, there have been injury problems but less than previous seasons and no more than their title challengers. You could say that they lack leadership but Arshavin is Russia’s captain, Vermaelen is Belgium (and former Ajax) captain, Aaron Ramsey, despite his tender age is Wales captain and Tomas Rosický is captain of the Czech Republic. Along with the captains that Arsenal already have; Fàbregas, Van Persie, and Nasri that makes a team of players who know what it means to be a leader. Although these players aren’t veterans it still goes some way to dispelling the lazy ‘lack of leadership’ argument which they are often accused of.

It seems apparent that it is a mentality problem rather than a cliental problem. Wenger said after the defeat to Stoke City that “something has gone.” The players do not look like they are playing for the manager any more; the self-belief in the total football cause seems to have slipped away. Even taunts from the Stoke crowd of “boring, boring Arsenal” and “3-1 to the rugby team” couldn’t even spur them on.

Once again Arsenal have one last chance to win their fans back at home with a win over Aston Villa this weekend much like they did against Manchester United two weeks ago. Many questions remain about the manager’s stubbornness and many fans are at odds with one another in the Emirates stadium with some backing the manager fully and others suggesting it might be time for a change. Arsenal’s 4-3-3, the same formation that was so prolific at the start of the season has now been sussed out and Arsenal don’t seem to have a response. Teams are finding it all too easy to defend in two banks of four, forcing the Gunners’ out wide to put wayward crosses and failing to get enough players in the box.

The manager has failed to make the necessary changes on the pitch when it has been needed, he has failed to manage the game all too many times and the fans are frustrated. It is not a case of simply buying players in summer, the players need a mentality change; there is no doubt that they have the talent but they do not seem to share a collective mentality. A win next week will paper over some cracks in the immediate future but there is no doubt that there are some big questions hanging over the club.

Article written by Melanie at This is Futbol