2021:The Beginning of the End of Arsenal’s Decline? by Goonerboy
Happy New Year Gunners far and wide! What a rollercoaster year 2020 was, we can only hope 2021 is nice and we begin to experience more positive vibes as humans and as fans of Arsenal football club.
Last year, because of our struggles under Arteta, some of us have been able to realise that much of our struggles are due to the fact that Arsenal as a club has been declining over the years – some will tell you our decline started the day David Dein left our beloved club and that wouldn’t be wrong in my opinion, but in order not to bore you with a lengthy article, I would like to begin from the most recent years.
Firstly, what is a decline? “something regarded as good becomes smaller, fewer or less”- “politely refuse an offer or invitation” and “a gradual continuous loss of STRENGTH, numbers, QUALITY or VALUE”
You would see that the third definition is screaming Arsenal! Arsenal! Arsenal! like the Emirates crowd in such a way that you would think the word supports Arsenal.
You must have noticed how we have gradually been declining even when we constantly made the top four. Arsenal as a club never looks to build on success or achievement, (especially in the Emirates era) we are always content with doing the bare minimum and expect Wenger to work his magic. Well, that worked for 20 years as he made the top 4 working that way, but if you want to tell yourself the truth, you will agree that if Wenger were to try that in this era, he will fail woefully, why? Because the bar has been lofty raised, the competitiveness is crazy and unrelenting, Wenger could not even manage that in his last two years-this is not to undermine what the legend has done, it is just stating the facts.
Because Wenger always made the top 4, the club as a whole never deemed it fit to take that next leap to actually invest to challenge for the title or the champions league. We go into every season short in one position or the other but as long as we are challenging for TOP FOUR, all is well.
This quickly became a staunch mentality, a culture and the ambition of the club, promises after promises were made to the fans but the investments are saying otherwise, while we were at it, other clubs were gradually catching up and even leaving us behind.
When Wenger left, Emery came in, new structure, but despite the change, we were still declining because there is no alignment between the coach and the executives in the area of player acquisition – leading to poor recruitments, bloated squad and followed by unfavourable results.
Despite the investments, we were declining in quality and value as a club, when we try to show ambition, we sabotage ourselves because of desperation borne out of being reactionary.
You know you are declining when you start clamouring for your old players who were deemed not good enough during their time at the club. I have seen people wish we had Walcott or Gervinho instead of Pepe, and Giroud instead of Lacazette to mention a few – there is a serious problem here.
How Do We Stop the Decline?
Stability At All levels:
Ivan and Wenger left, Mislintat and Emery came in, Mislintat resigned, Raul, Edu, Arteta, Raul now gone and all…… There is so much instability for a club in transition post Wenger.
My reason for wanting Arteta given time, apart from my belief that he is a smart coach, is because if a new coach comes in now, he will demand his own players and if things don’t change, we will keep changing managers. Stability and unity in key decision making is really important across all levels if we want to move forward as a club.
One of Wenger’s most admirable qualities was the ability to get gems on the cheap. Yes, he made some errors just as all managers and all clubs have done and will continue to do, but overall, he was very good in this department. We need to focus on this. Leicester and Liverpool are really good at this- Robertson- 8m, Matip -free, Arnold-free, Wijnaldum-8m Coutinho-7m to mention a few.
One of the many things I hate about the modern game is the belief that signing players for huge sums guarantees quality. Taking Arsenal as an example, we signed Holding for just 2m and Chambers for 16m but Holding has proven to be a better investment than Chambers in my opinion, he was a vital part of 3 FA cup triumphs. Saka, Martinelli despite being younger are far better than 72m Pepe. I could go on and on, but the point has been made.
We are where we are now because of some terrible recruitments over the years, we have a champions league wage bill, but we struggle to get Europa league. We need to stop signing old, washed up players who are no longer motivated, while also being very meticulous in extending the contracts of our older players.
We have lost and will still lose a lot of players for free which is not acceptable for a club like Arsenal, we need money from sales to improve the squad but if we keep losing players for free, how can we manage that? To be fair to the Kroenkes, they have tried in recent years, but those put in charge have mis-managed a lot of funds, let’s hope we can do better.
Change In Mentality and Culture:
Arsenal fans understand this better than anyone. It is no secret that we have to improve drastically in this department, even though it is not going to be easy, because how do you change a culture or behaviour of over 20 years in a year or two?
This mediocre mentality and laziness culture has eaten deep into the club and for us to compete with the best, we need to be ruthless and more demanding of ourselves as a club. We will start seeing changes from the summer as some of the players that represent this lazy and mediocre mentality and culture will be gone. We need to have a strong belief and progressive, positive mentality to stop this decline.
I believe Arsenal will be a force again, but we have to start getting things right as early as this new year, so we don’t slow down our progress.
You think I have missed something? Let’s know in the comments. Happy new year once again!