It is time for Arsenal to start fighting … for a top 4 finish. by WV
Believe it or not, there are still conversations and speculations going on about how Arsenal could still win the PL IF they did this and that. It is probably this tendency of fans not to want to face reality, which has contributed to the ever repeating cycle at Arsenal.
Disappointment in the pre-season transfer window, followed by rationalizations of why we should give the team and Wenger a chance and not write them off before a ball is kicked in anger, followed by analyzing each set back as “too early to panic” followed by excuses about injuries and referees, followed by anger and disappointment after the inevitable reality sets in and Arsenal are effectively eliminated from the PL race before the year is even finished and the PL has reached its half way point.
The fact of the matter is, that this year Arsenal are closer than ever to breaking the cycle. Not because they are close to winning the PL, no, because they are closer than ever to finish outside the top 4. This is not a popular topic or view and only a few realistic fans dare to mention this reality in answer to speculation about how Arsenal can still win the PL this season.
Arsenal were playing poorly for most of this season and the five or six games we played like champions were mostly against lesser teams, yet the wisdom was that we were drawing games we used to lose, that we have more depth in the squad than ever etc.
Well, let’s look at it another way, perhaps we were lucky in our draws and our luck ran out. Mourinho had a worse start to his Man U career than Moyes and Van Gaal, infact he had the worst start in a gazillion years for Man U, yet Man U are only 4 points behind us and are threatening to pick up some pace. Pep was being savaged in the press and had only won one game in a gazillion and was missing many key players yet we end up losing without much of a fight. Koeman, after a bright start at Everton was reeling and couldn’t buy a win, yet we lost to Everton without much of a fight. Spurs are one point behind us. Other than Chelsea when they were struggling to get used to Conte, we have not beaten a serious team this season. In fact, one could argue we were lucky not to lose to Spurs and Man U in November.
I respect Wenger in an enormous way. What he has done for the club the first many years of his tenure, until 12-13 years ago really, was tremendous. Today I have to admit I believe of the top 6 teams fighting for a top 4 finish, all have better managers and I would take all at Arsenal (except Mouinho because I loath him and his lack of class).
Last year we had no serious competition from Liverpool, Chelsea or Man U. This year Liverpool have gotten used to Klopp’s way of playing and Conte only needed a few games to figure out how to make his team function after we beat them convincingly. Pep is fiercely ambitious and is not going to drop out the fight for 4th without a lot of noise and IF Mourinho beats Wenger again when we play Man U later in the season we could well drop out of the top 4.
Of the 6 contenders for a top 4 place we look the weakest mentally and our problems seem the hardest to fix. If they were easy to fix they would have been fixed in the last 10 years, yet they remain the same. Can any Arsenal fan really predict which Arsenal team is going to show up? I guess statistically probably the one that can’t play for 90 minute, or keep a certain level for more than 3 or 4 games.
It is about time this squad start playing with the fear of God in them or finishing outside the top 4 instead of winning the PL title will be a reality. Finishing outside the top 4 will almost surely bring 10 years of doom. Sanchez and Ozil will be gone, Wenger might be gone, and we would have the double challenge of working-in a new manager whilst not being able to attract the best players as a result of not being able to offer CL football.
When these 10 years of doom are on their merry way many might be tempted to point at how good we had it under Wenger, not realizing that had he stepped aside when Klopp or Pep were ready to come to the PL we might have been at the dawn of 10 years of success not tasted for a long long time.
These extra two years Wenger held onto his job will have destroyed the club’s future he thought he was building and was working so hard for.
I can only dream about what Pep could have done with this squad and last summer’s budget (or Klopp or Conte for that matter).
For me, now the only reasonable thing that remains is to dream and pray for a top 4 finish followed by Simeone being appointed as out next manager this summer.
It really is time to break the cycle.
Willem van de Vorm