It is time for Arsenal to start fighting … for a top 4 finish

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


  1. Suman says:

    Looking forward to another season already. .nothing to watch for now.

  2. Wayne Barker says:

    Had we been playing well and been in this position, I would be still confident that arsenal can still compete for the title and are sure shot to finish in top 3/4. But sadly this season our performance’s have been just dire. Take out Sanchez and this team will crumble.

    We actually have been lucky to still be in top 4. The games against soton at home and burnley away we stole 3 points because refs were kinder to us. We were piss poor against United and spurs but somehow managed a draw. I like grinding out results as I always felt arsenal never do that and I was happy to see us doing that but I expected our performance to improve but sadly it has not.

    We gave to start winning games , otherwise United will catch us soon. The way zlatan is scoring looks scary and they are slowly playing better confident and arrogant football which they never did under moyes or lvg. Manchester United can afford to stay outside top 4 and yet attract big names , we cannot and we have to CL football.

  3. josh37 says:

    far out…… I really can’t stand this place if we lose a game or two.

    1. bran99 says:

      so you are still optimistic.. remember it’s not the first season that this has happened !! and we know what has been happening. Chelsea are flying, Liver are getting good and Man U are catching up, Man city getting stronger.. with our players walking around the pitch when we need goals, keep dreaming.. we are same, just different season

    2. Ozzy AFC says:

      Its not just loosing a game or two though is it Josh 37 ?
      its consistently under peforming and not at least making a fight of it. don’t you want to see the team you love walk all over the opposition ? or do you feel that continuing the way we are is acceptable?

      1. josh37 says:

        we haven’t consistently underperformed this season… until the last few losses we were 3pts from top and undefeated since first game of the season.
        No, we need a stronger second half. But the people and this article claiming that our season’s hopes are over because of two losses on the trot is absolutely ridiculous

        1. josh37 says:

          Our next six PL games are against opposition under 10th in the table before Chelsea. Chelsea, on the other hand, have Spurs, Liverpool and Leicester all away before us. Massive, Massive game at the bridge but a big opportunity to make up the ground we lost in the next month

        2. Jansen says:

          Josh, I read this article differently. I think this article doesn’t say the season is over because we lost the last two games, but more that this team and the fans should start focusing on reality which is that perhaps this team has not played very consistently (like many previous seasons) and that this team’s problems might just be bigger this season since the competition has gotten better whilst we fail to fight for 90 minutes every game consistently and have not really gotten better ourselves.

          It has not been so easy for Wenger to fix our lack of fight, the furthest he has gone is admitting we have looked tired in the second half, like he conceded after the Spurs and Man U games despite Spurs playing on the Wednesday whilst we played on the Tuesday and despite have a deeper squad than Spurs.

          Results are on thing, and we have been lucky with our results, improving and gaining momentum during the season is quite another. It doesn’t feel we are improving or gaining momentum. On the contrary, at the moment we are being consistently out played and out fought and that should be alarming.

          We all hope you are right in suggesting we should win our next 6 games but it would be the first time this season we win 6 games. I think if patterns hold up we will drop some points over the next 6 games and start speaking about injuries, fatigue as a result of too many games without rest, poor referees and physical opponents etc.

          To me, the chance we finish 1st, based on our play thus far this season, is much smaller than the chance we finish outside the top 4.

  4. Ozzy AFC says:

    We will as ever suffer from the same “groundhog day” scenario as always. Its Christmas and already we the fans can see the squad struggling for top four?
    Jesus on a bike at what point did it all become so bad?
    As I’ve stated many times we can sit and moan about the players, the ones who just are not good enough for the top flight competitions (Gabriel, Mertsaker, Coquellin, Perez, Sanogo et al) and also the players that are but just have failed to turn up and give a sh!t consistently (Ozil, Walcott, Ramsey) or the mediocre players who can do a turn but are not really anything more than squad players (Monreal, Gibbs, Xhaka, Giroud) call day long.
    However, the real problem lays with the manager who fails to inspire, fails to motivate, fails to have tactical awareness, fails to have a plan B, fails to buy in game changing players who can really turn things, fails to chastise players when they fail…..the list can go on and on.
    We are just NOT good enough as a team to win the EPL or the CL we are just NOT cohesive enough, we have no real fighting spirit when the chips are down, no one wants to own the game when things go wrong, The Boss doesn’t change anything until it’s too late (though let’s be fair he doesn’t have a great amount of talent to call upon when he should have) and we only really look like a championship winning team when we play the mid to lower league teams.
    Does this sound Harsh to some of you? well perhaps in some ways it is but imagine if you’d never seen Arsenal play before and knew nothing of them apart from the fact that they are “considered” one of the colossus’s of modern football and you saw them play the last two games against the Toffee’s and Man city? you’d think “what is all this hype about??”
    of our squad it’s still current that only players like Kos, Sanchez, Mustafi, Cazorla, Cech Bellerin, Ozil, Walcott, (when they turn up) are worthy of being called “World Class” the rest are mediocre or in some cases diabolical and this is the real reason we cannot seem to achieve anything like decent silverware in either the EPL or CL.
    again there are those out there that will say this is rubbish but go compare our squad to Bayern Munich’s or Real Madrid? both of these sides have at least twice as many proven world class players in their side, as do our main competitors in the UK, Man city may well have been underperforming but they still have at least twice as many world class players as we do.
    No club is going to win anything when they field the likes of Gabriel or Coquellin on a regular basis and allow their world class players to go on the missing list, nor will we win anything until we have an inspirational and world class captain in the team to lead and inspire and bully to some degree the players who are not performing and unfortunately we won’t get any of these things we need until the board pulls its head from its Ar$e and Wenger is either gone or has taken a back seat.

  5. Twig says:

    Gibbs to replace Monreal
    Holding to replace Gabriel
    Ospina to replace Cech
    Lucas to replace Iwobi

    1. Arsenal_Girl says:

      Ospina to replace Cech? Why?

      1. ThirdManJW says:

        Because Sterling should never have scored at the near post. I like Cech, but I don’t think he’s done enough to justify benching a top quality keeper in Ospina for so long. What’s frustrating is that we’ll probably lose Ospina at the end of the season, because he’ll not want to continue sitting on the bench, and be left with ageing Cech. Ospina has so many good years left in him!

  6. Ozzy AFC says:

    why would you replace Monreal with Gibbs ? Gibbs is at the very least more mediocre than Monreal
    Ospina is OK but again is a squad player
    Iwobi is more proven than Perez but still not world class
    we need a squad of world class players or at the least more of them to motivate and inspire the youngsters we have. Without these players we run the very real risk of plummeting out of top four and suffering a long spell of mediocrity

    1. Twig says:

      In what way is Iwobi more proven than Perez?!! Are you really serious or what???

  7. Big Gun says:

    The problem comes in when certain fans only look at the current state and not the last couple of years as whole. When we begun building the new stadium and our best players jumped ship, to expect Wenger to win the league (especially with the emergence of Chelsea and City), was asking a heck of a lot. I don’t think any manager would have been able to win the league with the budget constraints our club was under.

    But the last 3 to 4 years Arsenal have had enough money to build a squad good enough to cwin the league and at least get further in the CL. To an extent, Wenger did strengthen the squad, but as someone mentioned in another comment a few days ago, it doesn’t matter who Wenger signs. The problem is not the quality of our team, the problem is the weak mindset he has instilled in our players.

    Just look at how clubs like Liverpool and Chelsea have excelled and changed almost overnight because of their new managers. Liverpool were in such a bad place, now they are flying high. Klopp’s passion and hunger to win is infectious and has obviously had an extremely positive effect on his players. Conte was a very smart man when he took over Chelsea. He looked at last years champions and picked out one player that actually made the real difference. It is no coincidence that since Kante left Leicester, they are a mess and Chelsea’s midfield is just so solid.

    Our players need a new manager plain and simple.

    1. Jansen says:

      I think at the moment we might very well have the best squad in the PL and credit to Wenger for assembling it. The fact it is not playing like the best squad in the PL is, sadly, also to be credited to Wenger IMO.

  8. aluz says:

    Top four? Really? To what end brother, to what end? We have been in top four for long now.
    Is that satisfactory? Hardly.

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