Arsenal, you cannot paper over the cracks, now fix it.
Being an Arsenal fan has not been easy. For the past few seasons, my passion for the team has slowly started to fade. I am an Arsenal fan forever, but the relationship between the fans and the club has been worn down by poor performances, disappointing seasons and greedy, unmoved owners. However, we always have an FA cup or a top four finish that papers over the cracks. We make light of the horrendous state of the team because of silverware.
This season we truly see the team for what it is, MID-TABLE. No FA Cup, No European football and one of the worst league finishes in our history. It is sad to see how this season has turned out, but we saw this coming for a long time. Not addressing the true issues of the team for a long period has put us in this position. This is an unpopular opinion but, this is the break that Arsenal needed to better themselves.
This season has been disappointing, from one of our worst starts in almost 40 years to our terrible run from October to mid-December, we saw the club plummeting down the table towards relegation. We were able to correct, and, became the third highest in-form team since Boxing Day. That means nothing if the team are sitting at 9th. Arsenal’s poor start and our underperforming Aubameyang are the reason we are where we are.
It is not fair to blame Aubameyang for all of this, the rest of the team should have been able to carry the load while the talisman was in a rut but, the team is too dependent on him scoring all of the goals. The other players were finally able to start scoring, resulting in Lacazette being a key player for us this season. The team has performed of late but they are a team of two halves, in games and for the season.
Let’s not focus on the past, the season is almost done and now we can look at the new season as a fresh start. With the upcoming season we need to carry the form we have now into the next season. With the off time before the season starts, the team needs to sort out the starting 11, quality and depth, and consistency throughout the season. The Kroenke’s have no intention for selling the team, and Arteta does not seem to be leaving the team this season so there is no point in arguing about them, so let’s focus on how we can improve the team.
After 18 months, Arteta does not know his starting XI. There are players that he favours, but if it is impossible to predict the line-up for a match day. Some positions have been solidified but positions such as right back, right centre back and central midfield are still up in the air. Right back, Héctor Bellerín has been a great servant to the club but he is not what the club needs. Arsenal need an improvement on him, a defender that is physically imposing, good at crossing the ball into the box and defensively sound. Right centre back, with David Luiz leaving, Arsenal need a player that can lead and that does not need time to adjust to the league. The player has to be mobile, comfortable in a back four and experienced. Central midfield, Arsenal need to find the perfect partner for Thomas Partey. Granit Xhaka is a good partner, but he slows down the play too much and is inconsistent. Arsenal need a player that brings energy to the team, has the passing ability and does the defensive duties that allows Partey to be more offensive.
With the starting 11 sorted, the bench of the team needs attention. Certain positions have no depth, Left back, while other positions have depth but the players that are there are not at the standard of the players that are starting. Arsenal need to bring in quality players that help Arsenal compete for the league and Champions League. One of the areas that needs depth the most is the left back position. Arsenal need an experienced player to come into the team if Kieran Tierney and a young, promising player that can grow and, in the near future, compete with Tierney. Centre back has the most promise. Saliba is shining in Nice, proving that he is a future starter, Holding and Mari are solid squad players. Right back has adequate depth, with Chambers and Cedric Soares both being good players that offer different qualities.
Midfield is the position that needs real reinforcement. Dani Ceballos looks set to return to Real Madrid, Xhaka set to leave and the future of Guendouzi and Torreira look uncertain. Arsenal need to make shrewd business, looking for young players that are already Premier league proven. Attacking midfield, Arsenal need a player that can compete with Smith Rowe, Odegaard is an option, if not there are a number of players that Arsenal can try to buy, from Michael Olise to Houssem Aouar. The winger and striker position could use reinforcement only after the midfield and defence have been attended to.
After all of the transfers, Arsenal need to work on their mentality. The players are slow and lethargic when the game starts and, only switch on when they have conceded. The players need to develop a killer instinct, taking the game to the opponent and kill the game off early. One way the club can improve as a whole is if we follow the club’s motto, Victory through harmony.
It is difficult to support the club when the owners do not care as much as the fans do. The fans must push the owners to show their support for the club, otherwise, the owners should just sell. Protests throughout the season will not solve our problems. We need to push the owners to support the manager.
Once the season starts we need to support the players that are on the pitch. Fans need to be behind the players no matter what. Constructive criticism is fair but abuse is not something anyone should deal with, the players have their own problems to deal with. Certain YouTube channels should be cautious with the content they post, the opinions they share have an effect on the fanbase as a whole.
With the coming seasons, the club needs our full support. This is a long term plan that needs everyone, from the owners to the fans, to play their part. It will take time for Arsenal to be the success we all want it to be, and when the club is able to achieve our goals through harmony, it will truly make our success all the more worthwhile.