There has been so much talk about the reason for Arsenal dropping off from that pinnacle point of the Premier League, when Arsene Wenger steered our team of stars to lift the trophy in 2004 without a single mark in the games lost column.
To have failed to win the title since that amazing achievement has certainly been frustrating for us fans and is an issue that merits looking into. There have been various theories and the most common has been the financial aspect of the modern game, with Wenger having his spending restricted at the same time as Chelsea and Man City were pushing the boundaries of spending to breaking point.
But the former Man United and England defender Gary Neville has a different theory. As reported by the Daily Mail, the TV pundit feels that our problems since those heady days have not been caused by the quality of our players as much as by the type of players in our squad.
He said, “I remember when Martin Keown, Tony Adams or Steve Bould would give our forwards a real whack. In a game between Arsenal and Manchester United, you’d expect both sets of defenders to be aggressive.
“Between 1996 and 2001 they were the best encounters because there were no holds barred – everyone was battling and nobody was whinging.
“Then Arsenal changed. In 2003 they became a little more precious – they thought nobody could touch them. They didn’t have players who could stand up for them as much and that’s what we still see today.”
Is this a fair assessment Gooners? I for one do not think so as there are teams like Stoke that are all about the physical aspect of the game and how close have they been to the title? I do believe that we have lacked a bit of steel over the last few years but players that can battle as well as having great ability are hard to come by and therefore the most expensive, so we are back to money.
Also I think Neville is wrong to say that we are still lightweight as the team showed last season that we can mix it as well as play exciting and entertaining football. I guess we will just have to prove him wrong by winni9ng the title this time won’t we?