Arsenal has a very tough relationship with mental strength it seems, with the club having failed to address pressing issues of leadership and desire over the past few seasons. The first few years after the Emirates was built were challenging for Arsenal, but the club then re-built a side that should be doing much better than it currently does.
Mentality issues such as leadership, consistency and a knowledge of what it takes to win are all lacking in this Arsenal squad and we just cannot get the formula right when it comes to trying to challenge for an entire campaign. It’s so frustrating for Arsenal fans to see trophies slip from our grasp as a result of one of these factors or even when the players just look like they don’t want it. Lacklustre performances are what costs Arsenal every year and for players like Alexis Sanchez, a real winner, there’s nothing quite so frustrating.
Alexis has made his frustration with the club’s lack of achievement known on a number of occasions. He’s made it very clear that Arsenal’s ambition is detrimental to his future. All he really desires is to see Arsenal grow with passion, commitment and a real ambition to be successful and then the chances of him signing a new deal will increase. On the matter of mental strength, Alexis said in a Sky Sports report:
“I’ve always said we have great players here, it’s just about having the mentality of being a great player and going out on to the pitch already thinking about winning. That’s what we’ve done in the last three games. We had the mentality to win at all costs and we won and we won well.”
Arsenal have won their last four games as they chase down the very last chance of obtaining a top four spot this season. It’ll be the first time Arsenal have underachieved such a feat during the Arsene Wenger era and it’s quite possible it will be the Frenchman’s last actions with the club. The recent results have been a turnaround from quite a barren run the club was on for the second half of the season. Post christmas we have seen a real fall in achievement in the squad, with several of our most relied upon players not having the impact we expect from them.
I would disagree with Alexis’ statement that we have great players in this squad, because I feel that besides the few true quality players, a lot of the squad is made up with average figures who are unlikely to offer the success that we all crave. Perhaps Alexis is just being realistic in his statement to call the squad ‘great’ rather than world class, but I truly believe that from besides 3 members of the current starting eleven, the rest of them could be easily replaced.
Arsenal have lacked a lot of desire and mental strength under Arsene Wenger’s last decade because although there is an obvious wish to be successful, I don’t think a lot of the squad knows what it takes and feels like to be winners. The majority of the squad has only ever won the FA Cup and whilst we have a few true champions like Alexis, Cech and Ozil, we still don’t have the core strength and winners in the team. Arsenal’s disappointments in the league each season always comes down to the fact we don’t have the consistency nor the mental strength to carry us throughout a whole season, playing like we desire the trophy. Until we show a campaign such as that, with improved desire and mental strength to see us move forward both domestically and in Europe, then I really can’t see much improvement towards being crowned champions of any trophy.